November 28, 2016

Serbia wants to join the EU, but there are two conditions that it cannot fulfill, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has said.

Serbia wants to join the EU, but there are two conditions that it cannot fulfil, Serbian President TOmislav Nikolic has said.

In an interview with the Al Jazeera broadcaster, Nikolic said these are recognizing Kosovo as independent, “and quarrelling with those countries that the EU quarrels with – above all, with Russia.”

“Serbia lives in unity with both the East and the West. Serbia wants to become a member of the European Union. In that regard, it could be said that it cooperates more with the West because it fulfils the requirements that the EU has for each new member. But at the same time, we have great friendships in the East, close relationship, historical, religious, linguistic connection by origin with the Russian Federation,” he said, when asked “whether Serbia, at the crossroads of East and West, would ever look to one more than the other.”

As for “why, in seeking EU membership, Serbia does not join NATO,” the president replied:

“NATO is a different story. We were attacked and bombed by NATO in 1999 for no reason. That had enormous consequences, not only for our economy, but also on the attitude of our citizens towards NATO. I am convinced that I speak for the majority of citizens when I say that Serbia will never be in NATO.”

If NATO is a defensive alliance, Nikolic said, “there’s no reason to be NATO member because Serbia is surrounded by NATO members and will not be attacked by anyone, and we have no intention to ever again to to war.”

Nikolic also noted that this year “Serbia has held over 100 military exercises with NATO member states, and two with Russia” but that “this should not be construed as where Serbia’s alliances are at.”

“We belong to ourselves,” he has been quoted as saying.

Source: Al Jazeera