With the revised EU enlargement methodology, where Brussels financial assistance is made conditional on the state of the rule of law and reforms, hard times could shortly arise for Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who had so far managed to be waving the EU flag claiming he was advocating EU integration, while in parallel undermining democracy, the rule of law and freedom of press, according to German analyst Johanna Deimel.
In an interview with Voice of America (VoA), Demiel said that China and Russia were definitely not an alternative for the EU. According to her, Russia is offering to Serbia support in the foreign policy domain, particularly in the U.N. Security Council, and represents an advantage in the talks with Brussels and Washington, while on the other hand, China has been bringing quick money and infrastructure for surveillance systems that suit autocratic Vucic.
Recalling that “an EU member state has again thwarted” North Macedonia’s effort to open negotiations with the EU, Deimel noted that this was contributing to the overall feeling in the region and was pushing it into the arms of Russia and China.
“The EU image in Serbia and the region is poor, although the EU has set aside EUR3.3 billion for the Western Balkan countries (more than EUR186 for Serbia) to help them combat the crisis triggered by the coronavirus,” the analyst stressed.
According to Deimel, it is becoming obvious that the foundation of the union’s values have been breaking within the EU, while certain national interests have been gaining in importance.