For Serbia, it’s time to open more chapters in its membership negotiations with the European Union.
The EU Commission is expected to give its assessment on Serbia’s progress by early next year.
Serbia and Montenegro are the frontrunners for the next round of EU enlargement, likely to take place in 2025.
But one big obstacle remains, explains Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and that is Kosovo.
“It’s a very sensitive issue. And what’s extremely important for us is that the EU Commission remains neutral about the status of Kosovo and Metohia, and that really is the cornerstone of, not only the Belgrade/Pristina dialogue, where the EU Commission is a mediator, but also of our European integration.”
Unlike the Prime Minister, some Serbian nationalists accused the EU of a double standard that would allow for the independence of Kosovo, but not Catalonia.
“We completely agree with the EU Commission on everything that has been said with regards to Spain and respecting the Spanish Constitution, respecting the international law and sovereignty of the kingdom of Spain.”
What is worrying the EU is the economic and political influence of Russia in Serbia and Montenegro. That’s one of the reasons why Brussels is taking the accession perspective of both Balkan states very seriously. But:
“We are not a kind of Trojan horse for Russia in the EU. Russia is our important trading partner and our friend, but this, in any way, does not basically limit our strategic EU integration”.