Serbia Is Now Less Enthusiastic About Joining the EU, Vucic Says
(Bloomberg) -- Serbia is becoming less enthusiastic about the process of joining the European Union as the procedure drags on and its citizens don’t see progress, President Aleksandar Vucic said.
Vucic, Serbia’s most powerful politician since the nation started accession talks in 2014, has repeatedly complained that EU leaders haven’t given his country and five other Balkan membership aspirants a timetable for joining.
At the same time, his government has made little progress in improving the nation’s judiciary, bolstering the rule of law and fighting corruption to meet the bloc’s norms. He has also refused to recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia and declared independence in 2008, which the EU says is a non-negotiable requirement for entry.
“We were very enthusiastic about the accession process -- today we are not,” Vucic said in a panel of Balkan and EU leaders in Bled, Slovenia, on Wednesday. “We don’t care anymore.”
Vucic has irked some EU leaders by maintaining close ties with Russia and China, saying his country must keep its options open even as the EU remains Serbia’s largest investor and provider of foreign aid. Still, he reiterated Serbia remains fully committed to its EU path and that the bloc remains the best place in the world for living and working.
“But we need to take care of our citizens and follow our own path,” he said.
The EU last expanded in 2013 by opening its doors to Croatia. Some member states are reluctant to bring in more members, not least because of disputes with former Communist entrants including Hungary and Poland over democratic values and human rights.
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