The European Parliament has adopted a resolution recommending that other EU bodies advance negotiations over Serbian accession to the bloc “only if the country aligns with EU sanctions against Russia and makes significant progress on the EU-related reforms.”
Members of Parliament also called for a reconsideration of “any bilateral and EU funds for Serbia that would benefit the Serbian authorities, in particular, any pertaining to projects financed under the Western Balkan Economic and Investment Plan, in order to ensure that all EU expenditure is fully in line with the EU’s strategic goals and interests.”
The resolution passed on Wednesday, with 502 votes in favor and 75 against. There were 61 abstentions.
Proposing the resolution, Tonino Picula said that “by adopting solid recommendations on how future enlargement policy should be implemented, we can once again set the tone and standards to enable the European Union to grow and prosper.”
“We wish to ensure that the EU remains an evolving community of European states open to like-minded democracies joining it, sharing common values and interests,” he continued.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted a report in June that called for mutual recognition between Serbia and Kosovo, and also called on Serbia to “urgently align with the EU’s decisions against Russia.” Serbia has remained staunchly opposed to imposing sanctions on Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.
According to Picula, conditions must be placed on Serbian accession in order to protect EU credibility.
“The EU’s lack of engagement and credibility over the past few years has created a vacuum, thereby opening up space for Russia, China and other malign third actors,” he said.
MEPs called for a boost to “the EU’s constructive engagement with the authorities of both Serbia and Kosovo to achieve a comprehensive legally binding normalisation agreement based on mutual recognition between the two in the framework of the Belgrade Pristina Dialogue.”
At the same time, they expressed concern about the “persistent political crisis in Montenegro, which has already had and continues to have negative consequences for the country’s EU accession path,” and called on countries to “encourage and support the acceleration of Montenegro’s accession, as the frontrunner in the EU accession process.”
In May this year, Serbia signed a favorable gas deal with Moscow amidst condemnation from the international community.
“Sanctions do not contribute to peace but antagonize the situation,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at the time.
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