Serbia does not want to join NATO

by Cristian Florescu

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said his country is going through the EU membership and integration process but does not want to join NATO. 

On the second day of a special session of the Serbian Assembly, Vucic made remarks on the Franco-German Plan to resolve the Kosovo issue. The Plan is supported by the US and the EU.

“Serbia does not want to join NATO. Serbia wants to maintain and strengthen its military neutrality. There is a big difference between European integration and Atlantic integration,” said Vucic.

He said that Serbia will make sure that Kosovo does not join the UN. It is possible to achieve this goal.

Lawmakers adopted the government’s report on negotiations with Kosovo from September 2022 to mid-January 2023.

It won in a 153 – 23 vote by 183 who attended the session. Nine abstained.

The MPs debated for two days at an extraordinary parliament session on Kosovo, with the government’s report on negotiations with Pristina on the agenda.

The 40-page report does not mention the Franco-German proposal to resolve the Kosovo issue, but listed past activities and assesses progress on individual issues and agreements.

According to the report, no progress has been made on the Community of Serb Municipalities, police and judiciary and little progress has been made on energy, mainly blaming Pristina for the lack of progress. 

Serbian lawmakers clash in the tense debate on Kosovo

The special session parliament devolved into a shouting match during a debate about a European proposal to resolve the Kosovo issue.

Members of Vucic’s ruling coalition and the opposition confronted each other as he spoke Thursday about a plan put forward by Germany and France on Serbia’s future relations with Kosovo.

Vucic’s speech was interrupted multiple times as lawmakers yelled at each other from across the aisle, prompting warnings from National Assembly Speaker Vladimir Orlic.

Members of the far-right nationalist opposition held up banners that read, “No capitulation.”

Lawmakers faced off around the speaker’s chair before Orlic and Vucic managed to restore order.

Kosovo-Serbia dialogue process

The EU requires Kosovo and Serbia to reach a final agreement that can resolve issues between the two countries for progress in the integration process.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states including the US, the UK, France, Germany and Türkiye recognizing it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbour. But Belgrade continues to regard it as its territory.

Lately, the parties have been negotiating what is popularly known as the Franco-German proposal.

Vucic said in October that Germany and France offered to expedite Serbia’s EU membership process if it recognized Kosovo’s independence and allows it to become a member of international organizations.

According to the proposal leaked to the media, Kosovo should allow the establishment of the Union of Serbian Municipalities in the north where Serbs mostly live.

EU officials hope negotiations on the plan will be completed in the spring.

Brussels has facilitated the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue.

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