The EU once again proved resilient and able to adapt to the new challenges and respond to citizens’ needs, to me this is reason for great optimism for 2023…There is more clarity on the choices ahead of us and it is up to Serbia to use that clarity to make the right choices in 2023 ~ Emanuele Giaufret
Over the course of the year that’s coming to an end, the EU proved, once again, to be resilient and able to adapt to new challenges and respond to citizens’ needs, to me this is reason for great optimism for 2023, as in Europe we all need a solid anchor in the troubled waters of today’s world. After overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, in February we faced the unjustified and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine that brought war back to the European continent. A watershed moment in European history. This war, which seeks to annex part of a neighbouring country, brought destruction and suffering in Ukraine and beyond, provoking worldwide energy and food crises and undermining European and global peace and security. The EU reacted firmly by sanctioning Russia to stop the war, providing humanitarian, financial and military assistance for Ukraine to defend itself against the Russian aggressor. The EU was united and effective, deepened its security cooperation, responded to the energy crisis by rapidly decreasing its energy dependence on Russia and accelerating the green transition, while continuing to disburse funds to Member States to recover from the COVID economic crisis.
We are now much better prepared to face 2023. The new geopolitical context has also created new momentum for enlargement, which is also a source of optimism. Ukraine and Moldova were recognised as candidate countries in June, and we opened a path towards membership for Georgia; the first Intergovernmental Conferences to negotiate the membership of Albania and North Macedonia took place in July, and with the visa liberalisation decision on Kosovo*, the whole of the Western Balkans will soon be visa free, while roaming telecoms tariffs with the EU will start decreasing next year, to be eventually phased out entirely. All these key decisions clearly point to a new opportunity to accelerate enlargement, an opportunity that Serbia should not miss out on in 2023, and for this it must accelerate reforms and increase its policy alignment. There is more clarity on the choices ahead of us and it is up to Serbia to use that clarity to make the right choices in 2023. Let me wish everyone a happy and prosperous year! Srećna nova godina!