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EU is tired of expansion, the Balkans tired of EU integration rhetoric — Vucic

Serbia's president said he does not believe the European Union is seriously considering the admission of Balkan countries
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
© Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

BELGRADE, May 17. /TASS/. The European Union is tired of expansion, while the Balkan countries are bored with speculations about joining the EU, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic told the media in Ljubljana on Monday after a Brdo-Brioni meeting of the Western Balkans' leaders. His statement was telecast by the news agency Tanjug.

"I do not believe that the European Union is seriously thinking about this [the admission of Balkan countries]. Even if we did everything and achieved a compromise between Belgrade and Pristina, which is obviously unrealistic, even if we did all that, we would not become EU members anyway. This is one of the key questions nobody mentions. The real situation in Europe looks like this: there is tiredness of the expansion … and there is great fatigue due to the very speculations about all this. But, of course, we should keep working to stay on the European track, because this is the best for all of us in the Western Balkans,' Vucic said, adding that he felt very strong doubts any of the region's countries would be admitted to the European Union in the next five years.

Earlier, Slovenia's President Borut Pahor, whose country is hosting the Western Balkans summit this year, said in Belgrade that the European Union's expansion by means of adopting the region's countries was a geopolitical need and must proceed faster.

The Brdo-Brioni process - an initiative of the Slovenian and Croat presidents - was launched in 2013. Its main task is to furnish assistance from Ljubljana and Zagreb to the European integration of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and unrecognized Kosovo.

Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey are the official candidates for EU membership. No likely dates for the admission of any of these countries have been set even in theory, though. In the autumn of 2018, the then European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker said that Serbia and Montenegro might join the European Union by the end of 2025.

Inviolability of Balkan borders, observance of UN resolutions

Belgrade is committed to the inviolability of the current borders in the Balkans on the condition of the observance of the UN Security Council's Resolution 1244, which recognizes Kosovo a Serbian territory, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic told the media on Monday following a meeting of the leaders of Slovenia and Croatia with the leaders of five Western Balkans states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro), as well as self-proclaimed Kosovo held in Brdo pri Kranju.

"Serbia has been long committed to the principle of the inviolability of borders recognized by the United Nations," Vucic said after a meeting at Slovenia's government residence. "How can anybody lecture me on the inviolability of borders after they were changed in 2008?"

The UN Security Council's Resolution 1244, adopted on June 10, 1999, confirmed that the autonomous territory of Kosovo and Metohija are integral parts of Serbia. The authorities of Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed the territory's independence in February 2008. More than 60 countries, including Russia, India and China, as well as five EU members, are against the recognition of Kosovo.

A statement in support of the principle of inviolability of the current borders in the Western Balkans (including self-proclaimed Kosovo) was included in a draft final resolution proposed by the leaders of Slovenia and Croatia for adoption by the leaders of the region's countries. Serbia refused to put its signature to the resolution without clearing up the provision for the observance of the UN Security Council's Resolution 1244. As a result, the sentence about the inviolability of regional borders was removed from the final version of the document. TASS has obtained a copy of the resolution.