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News 08 Jan 15

EU Resolution Tells Serbia to Back Russia Sanctions

Draft resolution urges Serbia to align its foreign policy with that of the EU and impose sanctions on Russia.

Tanjug
Belgrade

 

The first draft of a resolution on Serbia prepared by European Parliament rapporteur on Serbia, David McAllister, says Serbia needs to harmonise its foreign policy with the EU's.

“We invite Serbia to align its foreign and security policy with the EU's, including the part referring to Russia, with a regret that Serbia did not join restrictive measures [imposed] on Russia,” the Serbian news agency Tanjug reported, quoting the draft resolution.

Serbia has until now refused to join EU sanctions imposed on Russia for its perceived role in fomenting the conflict in Ukraine.

Belgrade remains close to Russia and most Serbs would resent the idea of a quarrel with their big Slavic near-neighbour.

However, pressure on Serbia to change its mind is growing. Ahead of his visit to Belgrade in late November, Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, told Serbia to join EU-imposed sanctions on Russia.

On a more positive note, the draft resolution says the European Parliament welcomes Serbia's commitment to EU integration and its “active implementation of social and economic reforms”.

McAllister is due to present the draft resolution to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on January 19, while MEPs are expected to adopt it in March.

The draft resolution also refers to EU-led talks with Kosovo on the normalization of relations.

It states that in 2014 the process was slowed by elections in Serbia and Kosovo and adds that talks between the two sides should resume as soon as possible.

Serbia is commended for adopting a strategy against discrimination and for allowing a gay pride parade to take place in September.

However, the draft writes that Serbia must implement adopted reform laws and make more progress with judicial reform.

It writes that although Serbia has started a number of proceedings to combat high-level corruption, further efforts are needed to fully implement existing legal framework as well as to allocate sufficient financial resources to anti-corruption bodies.

The document also states that the leaking of information from investigations to the media is a source of concern as it may violate the presumption of innocence and should thus be investigated.

Threats against journalists and a perceived deterioration in freedom of opinion and expression in Serbia are cited also as matters of concern.

 

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