A Blow to EU Enlargement: Serbia Loses Interest in EU Membership

Written by | Thursday, April 6th, 2017

The support for the EU membership among the Serbians has declined from 70 percent to 43 percent since the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of the newly elected President Aleksandar Vucic promised to work towards the EU membership. European leaders have congratulated Mr. Vucic on his victory as they see him as the key to the furthering of the EU membership talks. His Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) gained power in 2012, having promised to work towards the EU membership at the time when the majority of the population was in favor.

The EU is moreover getting increasingly worried over Belgrade’s growing relationship with Moscow, who promised to give Belgrade six MiG-29 warplanes as well as scout vehicles and tanks. The fact that it is not yet clear what the Kremlin will want from Serbia in return is another reason why the European Union is becoming increasingly worried about the Balkan state and its membership.

Serbia officially started EU membership talks in January 2014 following seven years of trying to comply with the regulations surrounding human rights. In 2007, Belgrade initiated a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which was a milestone in Serbia’s accession negotiations. SAA was executed following the advice of Chief War Crimes Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who said the country was adequately complying with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

According to Srdan Cvijic of the Open Society European Policy Institute, European leaders should be wary of the perception of the new Serbian president being a stable leader. Mr. Cvijic explained that during Mr. Vucic’s election campaign, he did not display the most democratic principles and has also stamped down on non-profit organizations, journalists and opposition politicians. Mr. Cvijic recommended that “Brussels should be paying close attention to the dissatisfied. On Monday night, after the election results became clear, thousands of students organized spontaneously on social networks and took to the streets of Belgrade to protest the government.”


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