European Parliament votes today on the report on Serbia: EU Membership yes, but...
Members of the European Parliament will vote on this year's report on Serbia at noon today at the plenary session in Strasbourg.Source: Tanjug
The report expresses support for Serbia's future membership in the EU, but with the request that, in addition to the rule of law and the normalization of relations with Pristina, compliance with sanctions against Russia will be a key element that will determine Serbia's overall progress on the path to accession.
In the text of the report, it was added with amendments that Serbia and Kosovo are expected to sign a legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations "based on mutual recognition", which is the first time that mutual recognition is mentioned in an official document of the EU institution as a necessary solution to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
The European Parliament reiterates its call to Serbia to take steps to further increase media freedom, guarantee freedom of expression, media independence and media pluralism.
The text of the report praises the progress achieved in Serbia in the development of a functional market economy, as well as the cooperation shown by Serbia in managing migration.
The report of the European Parliament adopted at the plenary session takes the form of a resolution, which is not binding, but represents political guidelines for the country in the process of European integration.
"The ball is now in Serbia's hands"
European Parliament's rapporteur for Serbia, Vladimir Bilčik, said that the EP is committed to Serbia's accession to the EU.
He added that the Parliament insists that a credible perspective of enlargement is based on political will, sustainable efforts and irreversible reforms in all areas, especially in the rule of law and commitment to European standards and values.
"The overall speed of Serbia's progress towards the EU depends on the rule of law, full alignment with the EU's foreign and security policy, including sanctions against Russia, as well as the normalization of relations with Russia. This is not news for our partners in Serbia," Bilčik said on Tuesday, speaking before the European Parliament, which should adopt the report on Serbia today.
Bilčik said that Serbia faces challenges that "were present even at the beginning of the accession negotiations", and which concern the fight against organized crime, improvement of election conditions and media environment, and progress on Serbia's path to European integration.
Bilčik welcomed the publication of the official results of the elections in Serbia, but also pointed out that in a situation of major geopolitical upheavals, social and economic problems in Europe and the war in Ukraine, Serbia is without a government and that significant time has been lost for making strategic decisions. "EU accession is Serbia's strategic priority.
We have to see how it is treated by the political elite in Serbia. It is time for Serbia to move towards the EU, not to the side," said Bilčik. The EP rapporteur for Serbia praised the country's progress in the process of adopting constitutional amendments, as well as the step forward made in the April elections, which will lead to a national parliament with more pluralism.
"There is a clear path for Serbia's progress on the road to EU. The ball is now in the hands of the new leadership and the new government," Bilčik concluded.