The United States has no higher priority for our work in Serbia than to add a 28th star to the EU’s flag.
Serbia is a European country, not just in terms of geography and culture, but also in terms of how citizens of Serbia support the values born out of Europe’s Enlightenment: tolerance, liberty, justice, innovation and education. Of the approximately 200 countries on Earth, only 27 have the good fortune of being members of this unprecedented and highly successful experiment that’s meant to unleash the economic potential of member states, while also protecting the benefits and liberties that have been denied to so many others.
The United States has no higher priority for our work in Serbia than to add a 28th star to the EU’s flag. Not only will joining the EU improve the lives, incomes and opportunities of Serbian families, but a Europe that is more unified is directly in the interests of the United States. We want Serbia to succeed.
While the accession process is not without its political frustrations, the path to accession is fairly clear: Serbia must demonstrate full respect for the rule of law and its commitment to guaranteeing the rights of all citizens. The status quo between Belgrade and Priština continues to block Serbia’s EU path, and I believe it also chills the entire region. I am very pleased to see that President Vučić is willing to return to the EU-led Dialogue on this issue. We know from world history that instability and unfinished conflicts in the Balkans are bad, not just for the region and for Europe, but for the entire world.
I am very pleased to see that President Vučić is willing to return to the EU-led Dialogue between Belgrade and Priština
The United States has been very active in partnering with Serbia to address many key challenges on Serbia’s European path. Improvements in the rule of law and media environment are two of the immediate needs, and areas that demand more attention. From providing equipment and training to anti-corruption prosecutors, to enhanced border security technology, to training judges and police, the United States has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the rule of law in Serbia. We continue to support Serbia’s media through training and development programmes, as well as through media literacy programmes and our advocacy for improved safety for journalists. Serbia’s recent reforms to align its energy regulations with the EU’s are a promising step towards integration with EU institutions. We encourage Serbia to accelerate its progress towards the EU by reorganising its public sector energy companies, allowing it to open Chapter 15.
The alternative to EU accession – which unfortunately seems to be the intention behind the malign influence we see so frequently knocking on Serbia’s door – is persistent divisions that leave both Europe and the Balkans weaker, poorer, less stable and completely separated from the values of the continent where the Enlightenment was born, and where so many young people seek to live, work and raise families.