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Milan Marković, General Manager, Smurfit Kappa Belgrade

Returning Treated Water to the Danube

Here Milan Marković, General Manager of Smurfit Kappa Belgrade, shares his insights about the company’s legacy and innovative strides in environmental protection Founded in 1921...

Bogdan Gavrilović, Managing Director, WTO Serbia

Transport and Logistics Without Borders

World Transport Overseas is one of the fastest-growing logistics companies in Eastern Europe, with branches in Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia,...

Vesna Jovanović, Director, EurologSystem

Connecting Italy and Serbia by Rail

EurologSystem, which is set to commemorate two decades of successful operations in 2025, transports an average of 500,000 tons of goods annually, primarily agricultural...

Branko Milikić, Business Development Director at Halcom Serbia

Innovations in Digital Banking

Halcom is a leader in the domain of digital banking and banking solutions. This company has spent 30 years enabling the safe and efficient...

Dragana Ašić Ratkovac, Business Manager Consulting & Tax Advisor at Unija Consulting d.o.o. Beograd

Our View of the Tax World and What’s Important

The success of companies in today’s world depends, among other things, on the ability to adapt to constant amendments to tax laws. My experience...

Vukan Marković, University Of Belgrade, Institute For Philosophy And Social Theory; Cambridge University Ph.D. Student

EU Enlargement Is Back In Focus

EU enlargement is becoming a geopolitical tool for securing borders and consolidating the continental bloc. This will likely also impact the Balkans, judging by the EU’s increased diplomatic presence in the region over recent months

The EU’s decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, and potential candidate status to Georgia, is part of an all-encompassing realignment of the Union’s foreign and security policies: the EU (alongside NATO) is strengthening its eastern flank against Russia.

This decision has very important implications for the logic behind the EU accession process. Not only has proximity to Russia expediated negotiations with these three former Soviet republics, but it has also shifted priorities away from the strict Copenhagen criteria and convoluted negotiation procedures. Conversely, Albania and North Macedonia waited more than 20 years to start negotiating, while Bosnia-Herzegovina only gained candidate status after Ukraine and Moldova.

Accession requirements – ranging from the adopting of essential values, implementing of reforms, securing of human rights and the rule of law, to the resolving of regional issues – seem to have been circumvented in the case of Ukraine and Moldova. At the same time, those criteria proved crucial in slowing the accession negotiation process for Balkan countries for decades. It is worth noting that Moldova is much less attuned to EU criteria than Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia or Albania. When it comes to unresolved territorial issues, all three of these post-Soviet countries have secessionist regions and contested borders (Georgia even has two of them!).

The best thing the EU can offer is EU membership itself; all other alternatives, such as gradual entry or second-tier accession, are hardly compensation for recognising Kosovo’s independence

So, the most important implication of the three new prospective EU member states for the Balkans is the fact that security and geopolitical logic – a realpolitik of sorts – seems to have prevailed over the previously dominant narrative that was bureaucratised through the Copenhagen criteria. And EU enlargement is thus back in focus as a geopolitical tool for securing borders and consolidating the continental bloc. This is likely to be the case with the Balkans as well, judging by the EU’s increased diplomatic presence in the region over recent months.

Geopolitics seems to have become the rule of the game when it comes to Serbia’s accession, rather than merely the opening of new chapters or clusters. And this geopolitics centres around the issue of Kosovo, which is slowly becoming the main obstacle on Serbia’s path to Europe. The dispute with Kosovo will actually overshadow all other processes when it comes to future negotiations.

But this isn’t the only reason EU popularity is on the wane in Serbia. What appears to be bothering the Serbian population the most, perhaps even the staunchly pro-EU part of that population, is the distinct lack of a clear perspective. The best thing the EU can offer is EU membership itself; all other alternatives, such as gradual entry or second-tier accession, are hardly compensation for recognising Kosovo’s independence. That being said, this fully-fledged membership in the European Union seems quite elusive – there is no clear indication that Serbia would be admitted sooner even if it fully accepted all conditions. Behind the EU’s diminishing appeal are the excruciating, decade-long negotiations without clear benefits, and not merely anti-EU attitudes.

By Emmanuel B. Nyirinkindi, IFC's Vice President of Cross-Cutting Solutions

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Serbia’s Green Future

Five years ago, dark, polluted water with a foul smell trickled down from the Vinča landfill, sending toxic pollutants into the Danube. The landfill,...

Comment by Zoran Panovic

Growth Plan

Late April saw the European Parliament give the green light to the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, with the Council of the European...

Dr Aleksandar Mitić, Institute for International Politics and Economy

Cooperation with China Raised to the Highest Level in Europe

Both Germany and France desire close cooperation with China, so any criticism of Serbia’s close relations with China is an example of double standards I...

Slobodan Zečević Ph.D, Institute for European Studies

Delicate Seesaw

France and Germany have contrasting views on cooperation with China, but the internal reasons for such views don’t automatically relate to their stance regarding...

Mickoski Proposes New Government for North Macedonia

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE and the designated Prime Minister of North Macedonia, has formally submitted his proposed cabinet...

King Frederick X Inaugurates First Section of Undersea Tunnel Connecting Denmark and Germany

King Frederick X of Denmark has inaugurated the first segment of the ambitious 18-kilometre Fehmarn Belt tunnel beneath the...

Belgrade Hotel Union Sold for €6.2 Million

Hotel Union, a historic landmark in Belgrade, has been sold for 727 million dinars (€6.2 million) at a public...

French Firms Suez and Vinci to Oversee Wastewater Treatment in Belgrade

The Serbian government has enlisted French companies Suez International SAS and Vinci Construction Grands Projets for the design, construction,...

Dušan Živković Named New CEO of Elektroprivreda Srbije

Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has announced the appointment of Dušan Živković as its new Chief Executive Officer, following a decision...

Mickoski Proposes New Government for North Macedonia

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE and the designated Prime Minister of North Macedonia, has formally submitted his proposed cabinet...

King Frederick X Inaugurates First Section of Undersea Tunnel Connecting Denmark and Germany

King Frederick X of Denmark has inaugurated the first segment of the ambitious 18-kilometre Fehmarn Belt tunnel beneath the...

Belgrade Hotel Union Sold for €6.2 Million

Hotel Union, a historic landmark in Belgrade, has been sold for 727 million dinars (€6.2 million) at a public...

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Serbia’s Green Future

Five years ago, dark, polluted water with a foul smell trickled down from the Vinča landfill, sending toxic pollutants...

German Voters Dominate, Malta Least Represented in Upcoming European Parliament Elections

As the 2024 European Parliament elections draw near, set to take place from 6 to 9 June, Eurostat has...

Mickoski Proposes New Government for North Macedonia

Hristijan Mickoski, leader of VMRO-DPMNE and the designated Prime Minister of North Macedonia, has formally submitted his proposed cabinet...

King Frederick X Inaugurates First Section of Undersea Tunnel Connecting Denmark and Germany

King Frederick X of Denmark has inaugurated the first segment of the ambitious 18-kilometre Fehmarn Belt tunnel beneath the...

Belgrade Hotel Union Sold for €6.2 Million

Hotel Union, a historic landmark in Belgrade, has been sold for 727 million dinars (€6.2 million) at a public...

Public-Private Partnerships Key to Serbia’s Green Future

Five years ago, dark, polluted water with a foul smell trickled down from the Vinča landfill, sending toxic pollutants...

German Voters Dominate, Malta Least Represented in Upcoming European Parliament Elections

As the 2024 European Parliament elections draw near, set to take place from 6 to 9 June, Eurostat has...
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