Serbia’s EU accession and visa-free travel might be frozen due to its refusal to adopt sanctions

The Netherlands called for punishing Serbia because Belgrade refused to join the EU sanctions against Russia related to Moscow’s war against Ukraine. The Netherlands stated the differences in the foreign policy of Serbia and the EU.

Dutch Parliament adopted a resolution calling to penalize Serbia

The lower house of the Dutch Parliament, the House of Representatives, adopted a resolution calling for the European Commission to be given the authority to punish Serbia. 

The text of the resolution states that the coherence of Serbia’s foreign policy with the EU’s foreign policy in 2022 has fallen to 45%.

Serbia is one of two countries in Europe that did not support sanctions against Russia.

A year earlier, the coherence of Serbia’s foreign policy with the EU was 64%, which is “an important criterion in the enlargement process” of the bloc.

It’s critical to comply with the EU’s standards in foreign policy – Netherlands

The criminal war launched by Russia against Ukraine makes it more critical than ever for the candidate and EU member states to comply with the provisions of the EU’s standards in the foreign and security policies, – the Dutch deputies noted.

The House of Representatives called on the Dutch government to ask the European Commission to come up with “proposals by October 2023 based on which consequences for inconsistency with the common foreign and security policy, in particular freezing the accession process, can be applied to a candidate country in the process of joining the EU”.

The Netherlands wants to stop visa-free travel for Serbs

In a separate resolution, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament called on the government to ensure that in the event of a change in Serbia’s visa policy, if its foreign policy is not sufficiently adjusted, “the visa-free regime for Serbia should be suspended through an emergency braking mechanism no later than March 2023.”

In the Netherlands, the Parliament is not directly involved in implementing foreign policy. However, it guides the government, and it should implement its recommendations.

Apart from Belarus, Serbia is the only country in Europe that did not support European sanctions against Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called international pressure to support sanctions a “witch hunt.”

On the second day of the Russian invasion, Vucic said that Serbia would not impose sanctions against Russia, as it considers it best to maintain a friendship with Moscow.

Read also: Serbia is balancing between Russia and the West: which side will it take?

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