Miščević for Euronews: Serbia was unable to join the restrictive measures against Russia for several reasons

January 23 2023 | Brussels

Miščević for Euronews: Serbia was unable to join the restrictive measures against Russia for several reasons

Minister of European Integration Tanja Miščević told Euronews Serbia that our country has clearly positioned itself with regard to the war in Ukraine. She said that Serbia does not stand out in terms of its position on the war in Ukraine and that it is probably not out of place to repeat that. She added that at this moment, for several reasons – economic, political, and emotional reasons – Serbia was unable to join the restrictive measures against Russia. 

“But the latest moves show that Serbia is ready to help Ukraine. Sending aid for the electricity system, all kinds of humanitarian aid and not to repeat – support for the territorial identity of Ukraine. The good cooperation that we proposed to the ambassador of Ukraine in Belgrade, the constant contacts along with the reform process are actually the most important criteria that should be evaluated in the continuation of the European integration process,” Miščević said. 

Another Resolution was adopted on 18 January and although it is not legally binding it calls for Serbia to align with the foreign and security policy of the European Union, primarily with sanctions against Russia. How do you interpret these messages coming from the European Parliament? 

Very seriously, but in accordance with everything that you have also asked in your question. It is a non-binding decision, a resolution, the invitation of parliamentarians, that is, politicians. Certainly, full compliance is one of the demands we also hear here in Brussels. I remind you that Serbia’s obligation is gradual alignment with foreign and security policy according to our negotiation framework, but what has been assessed well, was the alignment with the visa policy, which is also a gradual task for Serbia. As you know, the recently adopted decisions on the introduction of visas, the strengthening of border controls, and bilateral and trilateral cooperation, according to what we hear here and what I have heard these days in some of the member states, result in significant reduction in the number of asylum seekers, and that is a big plus for Serbia. 

Apart from the visa policy, what other messages do you have from here, from Brussels, regarding fulfilling what is required of Serbia? 

There was not a single negative assessment of progress in all the areas I mentioned. Of course, the issue of restrictive measures against Russia always remains, as it is currently, due to the geopolitical situation, the most important issue and certainly, there are also very difficult discussions that are expected, related to the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština. Our task is to ensure that the reforms proceed smoothly because they are not only a condition for membership, they are a condition for our normal life, for the normal life of citizens. Therefore, the rule of law, media freedom, the protection of human rights, especially minority rights, or the fight against corruption are actually the basic things that our citizens see as the key and reform moves that they expect from their government. And that is what we insist on. 

Source: Euronews