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Serbia ‘not enthusiastic’ about EU membership anymore, says president – POLITICO

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said his country was “not enthusiastic” about European Union membership anymore and hit out at critics of Vladimir Putin.

Speaking at a POLITICO panel event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Vučić said: “We are not as enthusiastic as we used to be, in a way that European Union is not that enthusiastic about us as we thought it was.”

He added he was “pessimistic” about Serbia entering the European Union any time soon.

Serbia was originally identified as a potential EU candidate country in 2003 and Belgrade put in a formal application for membership in 2009. But accession talks have dragged on, with Serbia’s closeness to Russia an increasingly important sticking point. The EU has made clear that would-be members must follow its line on foreign policy and sanctions. While Belgrade has said it supports Ukraine, it has refused to impose sanctions on Moscow, its longtime ally.

Challenged on his country’s closeness to Putin, Vučić hit out at articles calling him “Putin’s puppet” accusing the media of “brutal lies.”

Vučić said he agreed that Russian-occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas are part of Ukraine, adding that Serbia is “more loyal to territorial integrity of UN member states than many others.”

However, the president dodged a question on whether he thought Putin was a war criminal and instead slammed Davos attendees for calling the Russian leader “a lunatic.” He is not, Vučić said.

Despite his coolness on EU membership, Vučić said that the European Political Community (EPC) — an intergovernmental forum established in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine — is “important,” calling it “a good idea of [French President Emmanuel] Macron.”

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