Germany tells Serbia to choose between EU and Russia
Due to escalating tensions in Kosovo, the military of the nation has been placed on high alert.
Germany revealed that Serbia must choose between joining the EU and strengthening its ties with Russia, amid media reports that Belgrade had alerted its military due to escalating tensions in Kosovo.
A senior German official stated that Serbia needed to choose whether it was on Moscow's or the EU's side, two days prior to a western Balkans summit in Berlin intended to improve relations with the six countries in the region.
“The need for a decision is coming to a head,” said the official, who asked not to be identified. “The relationship with Serbia is complex – there is light as well as shadows. Serbia’s relations with Russia are certainly part of the shadows.”
The official claimed that when the foreign minister of Serbia, Nikola Selakovi, and the foreign minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, agreed to consult with one another on foreign policy last month, Berlin was "surprised and disappointed."
Serbia, a candidate for EU membership since 2012, has struggled to strike a balance between historical ties to Russia and aspirations for integration with Europe. Tensions have been heightened by the conflict in Ukraine, where many Serbs are supportive of Russia.
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The country’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, “will have support from the EU as a whole and from the German government if he takes the path to Europe," the official said. “Should he choose the other path, it will have ensuing consequences.”
It comes as Serbian media reported the country’s Defense Minister, Miloš Vučević, as saying its military had been placed on high alert because of tensions in Kosovo. “We cannot be relaxed, and we stand for dialogue,” Vučević said, adding that the country’s army stood ready to “protect all citizens of Serbia, including the Serbs in Kosovo, and no one should doubt that."
On October 21, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Belgrade will not impose sanctions on Russia until its very existence is threatened.
The Serbian President made the remarks during a televised appearance on the TV Prva broadcaster.
"As long as there is no existential threat to Serbia, to its citizens, we will not [impose sanctions], we will pursue an independent policy which we have defined by decisions of the Security Council. If we find ourselves in such a situation, if I see and understand that we are faced with an existential threat, then I will address the citizens of Serbia and tell them that we must do so,” he said.
The chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, will host a summit on Thursday where the leaders of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia will sign agreements on reciprocal recognition of identification documents, academic degrees, and professional credentials.
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