European Western Balkans

Roth: Serbia is sending a clear signal in the direction of Europe

Michael Roth; Photo: Tanjug

TANJUG_maliCOLOGNE – In an interview with “Deutsche Welle”, Roth said that the past year not only showed progress, but also regress and hence, it is more important than ever to continue to insure the population of the Western Balkans:  We stand behind our promises and we want to support you in your difficult path towards Europe.

Furthermore, Roth said that Serbia is constantly sending a clear signal in the direction of Europe, and added that he is also expecting advancement in the harmonization of foreign policy.

He said that a cooperation with the EU or even EU membership should not be an obstacle for other partnerships.

When being asked how he assesses the situation in Serbia, Roth says that Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has been legitimized in the April elections, giving him the mandate to form a new government.

“The election results legitimize his work. But of course, the victory in the elections is not a blanko-privilege? We are at a very sensitive point with regard to the internal development of most of the Balkan countries. We’re dealing with absolute polarization in political systems.”

According to Roth, the different parties do not see each other as competitors or as opponents but as enemies.

“This environment of hostility and hatred must be overcome. This is especially true for the officials of the new government who must understand that the opposition is not something bad, but that it is an elementary part of democracy. Despite inevitable conflicts – they must cooperate,” he said .

He pointed out that this needs to be achieved through the unification of the civil sector.

Roth concludes that Serbia knows that the key to further progress in the accession negotiations is the normalization of relations with Kosovo.

“There will be no political drawbacks. We are optimistic with regard to the solution that we have found with Croatia which is enabling the process in bringing Serbia closer to the EU.” However, Roth chose not to answer when asked about when the countries of the Western Balkans could expect to access the European Union.

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