If a military conflict has become the condition for quick EU accession, Belgrade is not interested, the country’s minister has said
A military conflict with Russia appears to be the condition for a fast-track accession to the European Union, Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Thursday, adding that, if this was the case, Serbia would not rush with its bid.
On Thursday, the European Council agreed to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. While joining the EU has been a prime talking point for pro-Western Ukrainian politicians for decades, Kiev’s drive to join the bloc became reinvigorated amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. By becoming candidates, Ukraine and Moldova joined Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey in the EU’s waiting room.
Commenting on the bloc’s move, Vulin claimed that the EU had decided “to stop pretending that there are the same rules for everyone who wants to join this organization.”
Stressing that Ukraine falls short of meeting standards which are “so carefully applied to Balkan countries,” the minister claimed that Kiev’s “participation in the war was enough to start negotiations.”
He, ironically, expressed hope that “Moldova did not have to promise to go to war” to get a candidate status and noted that if a war was the only criteria, “Serbia could [have started] negotiations in 1999.”
“However, it seems that such rules do not apply to those countries which have been bombed by NATO, for quick accession to the European Union you must clash with Russia,” he said.
Noting that prior to its decision on Ukraine and Moldova’s candidacies, the EU was not “a military alliance,” Vulin wished Northern Macedonia and Albania to not have to go to war with anyone for the sake of their EU accession.
If the condition for Serbia to progress faster towards the European Union would be to go to war with someone, then thank you, it is not worth it.
The Serbian minister’s remarks echoed the statement of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the same matter. She claimed that the main objective of the EU – to “contain” Russia – prompted the EU to turn a blind eye on strict accession criteria that have been applied to other EU candidates. She also stressed that the EU once again proved that the bloc has very little to do with the economy and that there was almost no “creative force” in it left.
President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen made it clear that Ukraine had done a lot for strengthening the rule of law but there still needed to be reforms implemented.
“To fight corruption, for example, or to modernize this well-functioning administration, to help attract investors,” she explained.