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Is EU Membership the Only Option for Serbia?

June 11, 2012 - Example Author - New Eastern Europe newsletter

Is EU Membership the Only Option for Serbia?

By: Natalia Zielińska

Granting Serbia the status of candidate country for the European Union in March 2012 became an important moment in the post-Yugoslavian history of this country while at the same time also leading to a series of further questions and concerns. Officially, Serbia’s pro-European path to integration started in 2008 with the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. After the Milošević authoritarian regime, there was huge support for EU integration. All the parties in the Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition, which took power when Slobodan Milošević’s regime came to an end in October 2000, accepted that EU membership was not only a goal but also a priority for Serbia. It was seen as a return to Europe.

The situation changed dramatically after Kosovo’s proclamation of independence and the recognition of Kosovo by the majority of EU member states. The pressure from Brussels to resolve this issue as a main condition for further Serbian integration with the EU has undermined public support for the whole process. Melting public enthusiasm coincided with a continuation of individual discourse in foreign policy by strengthening relations with Russia and other non-EU countries. The latest version of the Serbian government’s effort “to not put all their eggs in the EU basket” involves strategic partnerships that Serbia began to conclude with individual countries. In 2009 then-President Boris Tadic said that Serbian foreign policy rests on four pillars: the United States, Russia, China and the EU.

Moreover the economic crisis has weakened the position of Europe and the example of Greece has highlighted a number of risks associated with integration into EU structures.

To read the full article click here: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/346

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