MEPs Call for Halting Talks with Serbia

Nine MEPs from the liberal Renew Europe group have sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative Josep Borrell asking for a temporary freeze on negotiations with Serbia and a halt to EU financial assistance until the country aligns with the EU’s position on Russia. The letter was signed by Nikola Behr, vice-president of the European Parliament and a member of the ruling Free Democratic Party of Germany, Klemen Groselj of Slovenia, Ilhan Kyuchuk of Bulgaria, Petras Austevicius of Lithuania, Urmas Paet of Estonia and Bart Grotius of the Netherlands, among others.

In the letter, the MEPs say that Serbia is showing “a dangerous shift towards authoritarianism” which is in sharp contrast to its aspirations to join the European Union, and that this has been shown with Serbia’s refusal to impose sanctions on Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine.

“That is why we call on the Commission to once again invite the Serbian authorities to join the EU’s common position on Russia. If Serbia once again decides to ignore this call, we demand a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with the Serbian government and deny EU financial support to the country until it takes credible, tangible, and unequivocal action to reconcile its statements, policies, and values with the European Union”, the letter states.

Despite calling for halting financial help to Serbia, the MEPs also voiced support for civil society and small enterprises in Serbia. They stressed that Serbia has every right to follow the model of Russian President Vladimir Putin if it wants to, but it must be clear in its intentions and stop pretending to have serious aspirations for EU membership.