Serbia’s future is in the European Union, “nowhere else”, insists Emmanuel Macron

President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that Serbia’s future lies “within the European Union” and “nowhere else” and called on Kosovo and Belgrade to “each do their part” and “go further” on the path to standardization.

“No vicissitude should make us doubt this path”

“Serbia must not doubt, whatever the wounds of the recent past, that its future is within the European Union and nowhere else,” he declared alongside his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic at the ‘Elysium. “No vicissitude should make us doubt this path,” he insisted. Serbia, which is negotiating its accession to the EU, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but refuses to join the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West and maintains privileged relations with this country.

“It is important that Serbia continues to make this (European, editor’s note) choice a reality, in particular through greater alignment with our foreign policy decisions,” stressed Emmanuel Macron. “This choice must also be reinforced by continuing and accelerating reforms relating to the strengthening of the rule of law, independence, justice and media pluralism,” added the French president.

“We have made efforts, we expect more efforts”

After a bloody war – 13,000 dead – then the declaration of independence of Kosovo, Pristina and Belgrade also ended up engaging, in 2011, in a dialogue under the aegis of the EU, which aims to normalize their relations . But tensions remain numerous between these two countries. In September 2023, they reached a rarely seen level when a heavily armed Serbian paramilitary commando killed a Kosovar policeman and then retreated to a monastery in the village of Banjska in northern Kosovo.

In this regard, Emmanuel Macron called for “those responsible for the Banjska attack to be brought to justice and to be held accountable” and to “do everything to ensure that such a tragedy cannot happen again”. He also promised to be “vigilant so that the commitments made by the authorities in Pristina are respected” and that “elections are organized quickly in the north of Kosovo to elect new mayors with true democratic legitimacy”.

“We must overcome the tensions created by the decisions recently taken by Kosovo on financial transfers,” he added in reference to the ban on commercial transactions in Serbian dinars, until now tolerated in areas where the population is predominantly Serb in Kosovo. The Serbian president contested Emmanuel Macron’s comments on the “gestures made by both sides” in Kosovo and, targeting Pristina, judged on the contrary that “one of the two camps has done nothing”. “No one is addressing the question of the survival of the Serbian people in northern Kosovo,” he said. “We have made efforts, we expect more efforts,” he insisted.

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