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EU Commissioner Várhelyi Visits Serbia to Discuss Deepening Integration and Regional Stability Efforts

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In a pivotal meeting in Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi discussed key steps towards Serbia’s accession to the European Union. The discussions focused on the EU’s enlargement process, the implementation of the Economic Growth Plan for regional economies, and the potential opening of a new cluster in Serbia’s accession negotiations.

Commissioner Várhelyi expressed hope that Serbia could become a full EU member during the tenure of the next European Commission. He emphasized the necessity to “re-establish momentum” after previous hesitations in the EU’s expansion policy, stating that the expansion within the next five years was “perfectly possible.” Vučić echoed the sentiment but cautioned that no accession would likely occur before Ukraine’s, suggesting a simultaneous entry could be possible.

The talks also covered the Growth Plan aimed at speeding up Serbia’s EU accession. President Vučić announced that the initial funds from this plan would soon be disbursed, heralding significant boosts in wages, pensions, and overall living standards for Serbians. The plan is not only about financial injections but also about comprehensive structural reforms essential for Serbia’s integration into the EU.

The Commissioner underlined the broader regional importance of the plan, asserting that for it to succeed, “the region must function as one.” This integration strategy, according to Várhelyi, would allow Western Balkan countries to enjoy the same conditions as EU member states even before official accession, a critical step towards the stability and prosperity of the region.

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Amid these integration efforts, President Vučić also highlighted his upcoming commitments, including a potential UN Security Council meeting in New York to address resolutions related to the Srebrenica genocide, which he described as crucial for defending the Serbian national reputation against accusations of genocide.

Both leaders are looking to navigate these complex geopolitical waters while keeping Serbia on a steady path toward European integration, with a strong focus on regional cooperation and collective advancement.

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