Lawmakers will urge the EU to freeze membership talks with Belgrade unless it toes the line, US state media reported
The European Parliament could ask the EU to freeze membership talks with Serbia and funding Belgrade for its ties with Moscow, US state broadcaster Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) reported. Earlier, a group of MEPs said a country that does not sanction Russia cannot hope to join the bloc.
“The EU cannot continue accession negotiations with Serbia if it does not align itself with EU sanctions against Russia. This is what we will say in Parliament’s next report on enlargement”, tweeted the Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D Group) on Monday, after Belgrade and Moscow signed a plan for bilateral consultations for the next two years.
The statement referred to a draft report on the EU’s enlargement strategy, details of which were made public by RFE/RL on Wednesday. The station, which reviewed the document, said it included language calling on the EU to punish Serbia for not following Brussels in its dealings with Russia.
In addition to freezing EU membership talks, MEPs want to recommend cutting Belgrade off from EU funding for Balkan development, according to the report. Brussels must spend money “fully in line with the strategic objectives and interests of the EU”, the project was quoted by RFE/RL as saying.
The EU cannot continue accession negotiations with Serbia if it does not align itself with EU sanctions against Russia. This is what we will say in Parliament’s next report on enlargement.@TPicula: “Very disappointing coming from a country that aspires to join the EU” https://t.co/jas6vm7WQN
— S&D Group (@TheProgressives) September 26, 2022
Croatian MEP Tonino Picula is the main author of the draft report. He is a member of the S&D group, which sits on the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and is in favor of speeding up EU enlargement, particularly in Moldova and Ukraine. He called Serbia’s relations with Russia “very disappointing coming from a country that aspires to join the EU”.
The committee is due to discuss the draft report on October 13, after which it will be submitted to parliament for approval in a non-binding resolution, RFE/RL said. The vote is expected in November.
US and EU demand explanation from Serbia
The diplomatic timetable that Serbia and Russia signed last Friday sparked a wave of condemnation from US and European officials. Peter Stano, the European Commission’s foreign affairs spokesman, warned that he was raising “serious questions” for Belgrade and would be investigated. German MEP Viola von Cramon scored it “a serious scandal” this signals that the EU should suspend accession negotiations.
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