Jeremic lectures at Sciences Po
On November 12th, 2020, President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development Vuk Jeremić, delivered an online lecture on EU enlargement and separatism to a group of students at the world-renowned university Sciences Po in Paris. During the lecture, Jeremić stated that “there is no sense” in denying Western Balkan countries to become a part of the European family, but also underlined that it is difficult to envision EU enlargement for the region at the moment.
“Currently, the EU is not ready to accept new membership, and this has serious consequences for states outside the union. Serbia, for example, has regressed into a ‘hybrid regime’ and is no longer regarded as a democratic country, as remarked by many relevant international organisations who evaluate the state of democracy worldwide, such as Freedom House”, Jeremić said.
He added that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, established a political order that is an amalgam of the current Turkish, Hungarian, and Russian governing system, from which he took “the worst elements”.
“Serbia is a country without an opposition in the parliament – apart from Belarus, only such state in Europe. A country with a hybrid regime, which can only be compared to Belarus, surely is not on the European path. Serbia is facing dire challenges in the field of corruption, rule of law, and respect for human rights, which makes it a rather unstable candidate for EU membership” Jeremić underlined.
He also outlined that EU currently does not show significant interest in the regressing situation in the Western Balkans, which suits other important international actors, first and foremost Russia, whose strategic interests is not achieving full integration of the region.
“On the other hand, United States’ focus if currently placed on Asia, not on Europe – let alone the Balkans”, he added.
“China, a new player in the region, also does not favour EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, because the industry in which it invests in the region does not need to fulfil strict European standards, while the products are still placed in the EU”, Jeremić said.
He concluded that, theoretically, it is in the interest of the EU to expand in the Western Balkans, but that it appears it is treating the region as a shield to protect itself from the newly emerging political and security earthquakes in the Middle East, which could cause a surge in extremism and a new wave of migrants.
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