“The European Union needs to be more visible in the western Balkans to counter Russian attempts to destabilize the region,” says David McAllister.

This member of European Parliament (MEP) – EP’s rapporteur for Serbia and chair of the body’s Foreign Affairs Committee – also said that geopolitics “has returned” to the Balkans, the Guardian is reporting on its website.

“We are seeing the growing Russian influence, we are seeing growing Turkish influence, the United States is a player, the European Union is a player, so there are different interests at stake,” McAllister said.

According to him, Russia’s role in negative. The German MEP suspects that the Kremlin was involved in “a failed coup in Montenegro” and cites “Moscow’s support for hard-line nationalist leaders in the region.”

“Russia was also exerting influence on political debate by organizing anti-western, and anti-EU propaganda, McAllister said, especially in Serbian-language media outlets that promoted the Kremlin’s world view, as well as ‘conspiracy theories and Serbian ultra-nationalism’,” writes the Guardian.

McAllister also said he “regretted that Serbia has not chosen to join in EU sanctions against Russia” but “pointed to its support for UN peacekeeping operations.”

“Serbia will have to fully align its foreign policy with the European Union to become a member,” he said.

EU leaders will discuss the growing tension in the Balkans at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. The Guardian said it saw a draft memo for Thursday’s summit of EU leaders that will discuss “the growing tension in the Balkans.”

According to the draft, EU leaders will “renew their promise that the door of membership remains open while stressing the importance of reforms and ‘good neighborly relations’.”

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