If forced to choose, Serbia would pick EU over Russia


he Serbian government, opposition and Kremlin have all reacted to a statement by Prime Minister Ana Brnabić that Serbia, if forced to choose between closer ties with Russia and membership of the Union, would choose the EU. Analysts say that Brnabić is only stating what President Aleksandar Vučić thinks.Serbia is not yet obligated to fully follow the EU’s foreign policy and has not introduced sanctions against Russia, which is providing support in the non-recognition of Kosovo, which may be an obstacle to the opening of Chapter 31 in Serbia’s EU accession negotiations.According to the results of the last opinion poll conducted by the European Integration Office in December 2016, just under 50% of the Serbian population supports the country’s EU membership.In an interview with Bloomberg, Brnabić said that she would continue the path started by her predecessor Vučić, to prepare the country for EU membership by 2020.

“The EU is a goal we are heading toward, that is clear,” said Brnabić, and added: “We have emotional ties to Russia, because of tradition, culture, religion. Many people in Serbia perceive Russia as our big brother and protector… Those sentiments cannot be overlooked, but our strategic path is the EU.”In an interview with the BBC, Brnabić also said that Belgrade’s strategic objective was accession to the EU, whereas with Russia it had deeply rooted close and friendly relations, and added that Serbia was trying to maintain balance in a challenging time.


Categories: Europe, Serbia

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