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Serbia's reluctance over Russia sanctions could hinder EU ambitions — EU Commissioner

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By Euronews
European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas gives a press conference onthe Cyber-resilience act at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on September 15, 2022.
European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas gives a press conference onthe Cyber-resilience act at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on September 15, 2022.   -   Copyright  KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP   -  

Comments made by EU Vice-President Margaritis Schinas to Euronews suggest that Serbia's reluctance to support EU sanctions against Russia could threaten the country's ambition to join the European Union. 

Speaking to Euronews Serbia in Belgrade on Friday, Schinas said that "many leaders are looking around and they expect everybody to share the communality of the project in these difficult moments, and in particular those who aspire to be with us". 

Serbia has traditionally taken a position of neutrality when it comes to NATO and Moscow. But now, it could be forced to pick a side amid mounting pressure from Brussels. 

Meanwhile, speaking after the opening of an aeroplane engine factory in Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić admitted that he was feeling the pressure over sanctions against Russia. 

"They all want us to impose sanctions. That's what you're looking for too... I understand that. I accept it as a politically legal and legitimate request and that's it," he said.

"As for the results themselves, it is important to say that we are part of the European Political Community, no matter if we do introduce those sanctions or we don't." 

The European Commission is expected to publish a report on Serbia's EU enlargement process next week, after it raised serious concerns over Serbia's recent foreign policy consultations with Russia despite calls from Brussels to cut ties with Moscow.