Visiting Serbia, Ursula von der Leyen calls for “alignment” with Brussels coverage

Serbia must observe EU international and safety coverage if it needs to affix the bloc some day, President of the European Fee Ursula von der Leyen stated on Friday. The phrase has long been used by Brussels to suggest that Belgrade should be part of the EU sanctions on Russia, one thing Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has thus far refused to do.

Von der Leyen visited Serbia as a part of what Euronews described as a Balkans “allure tour,” beginning by inspecting the development website of the gasoline interconnector close to the Bulgarian border. The challenge, which the EU is subsidizing, needs to be accomplished by September 2023. 

“What we need to see is just not solely gasoline flowing from Bulgaria to Serbia however this challenge can be one step additional to deliver us nearer to one another,” stated von der Leyen. “It should open Serbia’s gasoline marketplace for diversification. It should enhance Serbia’s power safety.”

The EU has supplied Serbia 165 million euros in power subsidies. Belgrade is presently counting on pure gasoline from Russia, by way of the TurkStream pipeline.

After conferences with Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic in Belgrade, von der Leyen insisted that becoming a member of the EU means “sharing our values,” implying Serbia wants to affix the bloc in embargoing Russia.

“It is vital [Serbia] is aligned with our international and safety coverage,” she informed reporters.

Vucic famous that Serbia has supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and made a pointed comment in regards to the EU double requirements.

“Generally we ask ourselves why Serbia’s territorial integrity hasn’t at all times been revered,” he stated, in reference to Kosovo, a province occupied by NATO in 1999 and acknowledged as unbiased 22 out of the 27 EU member states. The EU has included recognition of Kosovo as one of many circumstances for Serbia’s eventual membership.

Vucic stated Serbia understood von der Leyen’s message and would “align with the visa coverage” of the EU in response. Brussels authorities had beforehand complained to Belgrade about permitting entry to migrants from Burundi, Cuba, India, Tunisia and Türkiye, who would then cross into the EU and demand asylum.

After the conferences, Von der Leyen tweeted photographs of herself with Vucic and Brnabic, saying that Serbia was “nicely superior on its EU path” however that “progress should proceed.” She outlined such progress as “aligning in protection of frequent rules and values” and “working collectively for safety and prosperity.”

Von der Leyen arrived in North Macedonia on Wednesday, adopted by stops in Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her Balkans tour is scheduled to finish in Montenegro on Saturday.


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