By imposing sanctions against Russia and Belarus, the European Union (EU) is not targeting Serbia or its energy sector, says EU spokesman Peter Stano.
He explained that talks are currently underway between Brussels and Belgrade, which should clarify all of Serbia’s concerns regarding the application and consequences of restrictive measures.
“There are no EU sanctions against Serbia and no plans for any sanctions against Serbia”, Stano told Tanjug. “EU sanctions in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine target the two countries that are obviously responsible, Russia and Belarus, as well as a number of individuals and companies from those countries. We are currently in contact with the Serbian authorities to clarify all their concerns regarding the application and consequences of restrictive measures.”
Asked whether the EU has considered the consequences that sanctions imposed on Russia may have on certain sectors in Serbia, including trade in fossil fuels, and how this will be resolved or compensated, Stano said that the EU is already working to strengthen support for the Western Balkans in the field of energy security, by providing funds for investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and through the construction and rehabilitation of the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor.
“We are doing all this to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to help our partners better integrate their energy networks and access energy from a number of sources”, explains Stano.
Brussels notes that the start of works on the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnector in January 2022, for which the EU has provided a grant of almost 50 million euros, is an important joint step by the EU and Serbia towards securing and diversifying Serbia’s gas supply.
“We are in close contact with the secretariat of the Energy Community, we are monitoring prices, but also security of supply in the region. We are working with all our partners in the Western Balkans to mitigate the impact of war on their economies and societies”, Stano told Tanjug.
Brussels points out that the EU is the largest and most transparent donor and trade partner of Serbia and that it provides by far the most support in development, for which three billion euros of non-refundable funds have been allocated over 13 years.
They say that those funds will continue to be available in future.