BELGRADE – Minister of State for Europe in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs Michael Roth said that Serbia, as a country that seeks membership in the EU, cannot not have neutral foreign policy views, but needs to align them with the position of the Union.
“The EU and its Member States come first for Serbia, when it comes to trade, investment and political cooperation. In addition, Serbia cherishes to maintain relations with other countries, and no-one expects them to be suspended. And Germany is also trying to have solid relationships and cooperation with both Russia and China. However, you want to join the EU – which means that you need to declare yourselves in accordance with the foreign policy positions of the Union. There cannot be a somewhat “neutral position” of the country that wants to become a member, “said Roth for “Večernje novosti”, answering the question of how Berlin looks to strengthen ties between Serbia, Russia and China.
He refers to the claims that the EU, including Germany and the United States, want to destabilize Serbia and topple Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić as to completely preposterous ones.
“Such claims are absurd to the point that I am convinced that people in Serbia will not believe this. Germany, the EU and the US want a stable, democratic and prosperous Serbia. We support Serbia on its path to the EU, this year alone with about 170 million euro, which makes us the largest bilateral donor. You have been approved around 1.5 billion euro for the period from 2014 until 2020 from the pre-accession funds alone.”
He also cited that there are no new conditions for Serbia to open chapters 23 and 24.
“No new conditions. The EU Member States are currently harmonizing a common negotiating position. Germany is committed to the first chapters being opened as soon as possible. In particular, we expect to ensure the independence of the judiciary and respect for media freedoms, along with a determined fight against corruption. There’s still a lot to be done,” added Roth.
When asked, whether the crown condition for Serbia’s EU membership will be the recognition of Kosovo and its membership in the UN Rot replied:
“Before Serbia’s EU accession it is necessary to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo in the form of a legally binding agreement. There are no words about the international recognition of Kosovo or its membership in the UN. All the countries of the Western Balkans, including Kosovo, have a concrete accession perspective, but we do not want to ‘import’ bilateral conflict in the EU”.