EU Membership ‘No Longer the Big Dream’ for Balkan Candidates, Serbia PM Says
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said that the refugee crisis affecting the EU and the possibility of Britain leaving the bloc have made accession to the Union less appealing to Balkan candidate countries, Reuters reported
Yet, accession to the bloc remained the top policy objective for Serbia, which began formal accession talks last year, the newswire quoted Vucic as saying at a conference at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London on Monday.
"The EU that all of us (Balkan countries) are aspiring to, it has lost its magic power. Yes, we all want to join, but it is no longer the big dream it was in the past," Vucic said.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the conference, Vucic also raised the prospect of a British exit from the EU. "When you see that in Britain at least 50% of the people say they want to leave that has an effect on the public," he said.
Serbia's friendly relations with Russia and Belgrade’s refusal to recognize its former province of Kosov as an independent state remain two potential stumbling blocs on the country’s path to EU membership.
Vucic also told a panel at the EBRD conference that Belgrade wants to preserve good relations with Moscow while pursuing EU membership, according to Reuters.
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