Borrel urged Serbia to join the EU sanctions regime

The European Union calls on Serbia to join the community sanctions regime in preparation for joining the EU. It was announced by EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell on April 26.

“Serbia should join more actively the foreign policy sanctions regimes of the European Union, which is one of the elements of our foreign policy convergence in the framework of the EU accession process,” he said at a press conference after talks in Brussels with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Meanwhile, Vucic, following the talks, pointed out that Serbia cannot act in solidarity with all EU concepts without exception. “I expect difficulties here,” he said, noting that Serbia and the EU “have agreed to increase the level of agreement with EU declarations,” but on the issue of Kosovo, “there will be some exceptions because of the difficult position.”

Serbia’s accession to the European Union began in 2005, when Serbia was part of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. In May 2006, Montenegro broke away from the Union, while Serbia continued talks with the EU. In 2008, the Serbian authorities signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, and in 2009 Serbia applied for EU membership.

On March 1, 2012, Serbia received official status of an EU candidate country. In December 2013, the EU Council approved the decision to start accession negotiations for Serbia, and in January 2014 the first intergovernmental conference was held in Brussels.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has repeatedly noted that Belgrade is committed to close and friendly cooperation with Russia, but remains committed to EU membership. In May 2019, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said that Serbia was tired of the European Union, which constantly changes goals and sets new conditions for countries wishing to join it. According to him, the EU should clearly say whether it is interested in Serbia’s accession.

Last year, Vucic himself underlined that talks on Serbia’s EU candidacy will end in 2024 and that the country will be a member of the EU by 2026. He also stated that Belgrade would never impose sanctions against Russia, even in case of pressure.