Russian Ambassador: Serbia’s EU accession to affect free trade regime

Photo: RTV

BELGRADE – Serbia’s EU accession will bring major changes to its bilateral business ties with Russia, Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin said Monday, calling for talks on adapting an existing free trade agreement to new conditions.

We would not want our bilateral business ties to suffer at the time of Serbia’s EU accession, Chepurin told a panel at the 16th Serbian Economic Forum.

The changes will primarily affect the free trade regime, he said.

The EU forms a single economic area and member states cannot maintain special economic relations with third countries or be in free trade zones with them, he said.

Following Serbia’s EU accession, its free trade zone with Russia or the EEU will be forced to cease to exist, he said.

He said the accession could have a negative impact on the two countries’ cooperation in the energy sector, as in the case of South Stream.


  1. With regard to Serbia’s future trading relationship with Russia and other non EU countries –

    Of course, this is entirely a matter for the Serbian people who may not be fully aware of other possible
    arrangements which give access to the EU Single Market without becoming a subject state of the EU.

    The European Economic Area (EEA) is the “Common Market” part of the EU. As well as EU members, if includes
    Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

    These countries are part of the Single Market where their goods and services are treated in the same tariff-free manner as those of EU member states. Of course, they have to obey the rules of the Single Market but they are not part of the Customs Union and so can make their own trade agreements with other non EU countries, instead of being bound by EU policies. So Serbia’s present arrangements with Russia could continue. EEA countries can choose to join in those EU programmes which they want – and pay a
    “membership” fee but are outside the following policy areas of the EU.
    Customs Union
    Common Foreign & Security Policy – including the embryonic “EU Army”
    Justice & Home Affairs
    EU Monetary Union
    Common Agricultural Policy
    Common Fisheries Policy

    Only around 20% of EU regulations and directives apply to EEA countries.

    You can look up the full details of the EEA/EFTA agreements electronically.

    It is likely that some of these arrangements (or arrangements very like them) may be adopted in the United Kingdom’s new relationship with the EU when the UK becomes independent in the next two or three years.

    So this may be a more flexible, suitable arrangement which would enable Serbia to be on good economic terms with its EU neighbors whilst preserving its independence in the wider world.