Dacic: EU enlargement policy needs to be revitalised

09. Mar 2023.
Serbian First Deputy PM and FM Ivica Dacic said on Thursday the EU enlargement policy must be revitalised with the idea that countries must become members based on set criteria.

Speaking at a ministerial panel of the Budapest Balkans Forum, Dacic noted that there was a crisis of EU accession criteria.

He said the first promises about EU integration of the Western Balkans had been made 20 years ago.

"We are aware the EU is undergoing an internal recomposition at this time, but it has made a promise that the next member state will come from the Western Balkans. We have heard a lot of talk that we are high on the priorities list, but fatigue is evident. EU member states are wondering whether new members would contribute to a strengthening of the EU, while we are wondering whether legal alignment with the EU makes sense if progress is at a standstill and does not depend on criteria set as the right criteria," Dacic said.

That does not diminish our love of the EU, he said.

"I do not know if we will ever get to become EU member states. What perspective are we talking about if we know that the French-German proposal - although it is known how difficult and painful it is for both Belgrade and Pristina - contains only one sentence about opening a European perspective," Dacic said.

"At least say it is going to happen in the 21st century," Dacic said, recalling that French President Emmanuel Macron had said there should be no admissions of new members to the EU.

Dacic cited Macedonia as an example.

It changed its name for the sake of the European perspective, but nothing happened, and then a new condition emerged, he said.

Dacic noted that he had signed the Brussels Agreement ten years ago but that many of its provisions remained unfulfilled.

"As if I had signed a napkin at this restaurant," he said.

He said there was no problem with the Open Balkan initiative but that it was no substitute for EU membership.

The EU can be a unifying factor in the Western Balkans but, in view of the present situation, no one in the EU can guarantee anything, Dacic said.

Source: Tanjug