The German government is “explicitly committed” to the European perspective of the Western Balkans, Chancellor Olaf Soltz said, adding that “it is in the interest of both the region and the EU for the full integration of all six countries in the region.” At the same time, he called on those countries to align themselves with the EU and its partners on the war in Ukraine.
“Germany practically supports Serbia’s EU accession process, with advice and funding for specific programs,” Soltz said during a joint news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, urging Belgrade to continue reform. progress, especially in the areas of the rule of law, media freedom and the fight against corruption and organized crime. He stressed that it was an important issue for the countries of the Western Balkans to join the EU in the difficult situation of the war in Ukraine and to defend their common values, and stressed that the EU had a very clear support for Belgrade’s within the framework of the UN General Assembly.
The focus of talks with the Serbian president, as well as earlier with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, was on dialogue to normalize Serbia-Kosovo relations. “It takes courage and determination. All commitments made must be met. Unilateral actions and war rhetoric do not help. “Especially in times like this, when a brutal war is unfolding in our immediate neighborhood, the gradual resolution of the conflict between the two countries is of central importance,” Olaf Solz stressed.
For his part, the Serbian president assured the German chancellor that Serbia would not be the cause of any problems, referring, among other things, to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “I do not think that only one side is to blame for the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I promised Olaf Solz that Serbia will not be the cause of any problems and in this respect, the Western Balkans will have peace and stability,” he said. Mr Vuτςiτς, noting that Mr Soltz was very clear about his views on Serbia and its expectations. “Serbia has a different view of Kosovo and that is why we have many other problems (…) We will do everything to reach a compromise solution,” he stressed.
Aleksandar Vuτςiτς also reminded that Serbia has been living with sanctions for a whole decade and that is why Belgrade has a different attitude towards the sanctions against Russia. “We understand the message from Germany and there is no doubt that Serbia has chosen to be on the road to Europe. “The Serbian leadership will support this path,” he added.
In an earlier interview with Handelsblatt, Alexander Vuτςiτς reiterated his country’s condemnation of Russia’s war with Ukraine. “It came as a surprise to many that we made it clear that the war in Ukraine was a violation of international law,” Vucic said, adding that no one in Moscow was impressed by whether or not Serbia would participate in the sanctions. Belgrade does not want a complete rupture with Russia, but the country is “neither a boat nor a puppet” of Russia, he stressed, noting that his country still relies on the help of the German government. “Serbia is clearly on the road to the EU,” Vucic said.