The EU will try to, through accession talks chapter 31, “force Serbia to change its attitude towards Russia – but Belgrade could still remain close to Russia.”
Sputnik is reporting this, noting that Serbia will start negotiations on the chapter, that relates to alignment of foreign and security policy, in October.
This chapter is particularly sensitive to Serbia because it is military neutral and because it has close ties with the Russian Federation – and has not imposed sanctions on Moscow.
When negotiations start, the question of imposing sanctions on Russia or some other kind of conditioning could be posed, Sputnik said.
Professor Bojan Milisavljevic says it is obvious that the current foreign policy of Serbia is not fully aligned with the EU because of the country’s relationship with Russia and that some kind of pressure should be expected in that domain.
“The rule is that a state harmonizes its foreign policy with Brussels by the time it joins the EU. So this issue will not yet be the primary request, but it will definitely be presented to us and we will be expected to fully comply with the foreign policy by the time of joining the EU,” he said.
Dusan Prorokovic from the Center for Strategic Alternatives says “the process of conditioning Serbia’s relations with Russia has already begun with our integration into the EU.”
“The session of EP’s foreign policy committee should be viewed as a mechanism that goes in that direction. In part, it is also has a protocol character in order to show that Serbia has a European perspective, and on the other hand to exert pressure on our authorities to speed up certain processes,” he said.
Prorokovic also believes that the upcoming meeting will not concern only relations with Russia, but that “a new view of the Kosovo issue” will also be a topic. According to him EP’s position is not very strong – “and that is why what awaits us could be characterized as ‘medium-strength pressure’.”
He does not share the optimism of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who said that he expects relations between the great powers to stabilize by the time Serbia is next in line to join the EU.
“The conflict between Russia and America will not be resolved, and one side will come out of it as the loser, and the other as the partial winner, which means that after this, the EU will not look like it does now,” ” Prorokovic said, and added:
“In the conflict between Russia and America – rather, I’d say,between the US and BRICS as a whole – which is being conducted on several fronts, the balance of forces in international relations is changing, and to our great regret, the EU is not participating. The EU is more of an object in that conflict, and less a player that has some kind of active role. So, whatever the outcome, the EU will have to be transformed and its position in international relations will be much worse than it is today.”