14:11 GMT12 April 2021
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    In an interview with Radio Sputnik Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said that even in the worst-case scenario of many EU countries exiting the bloc and Britain falling apart, Serbia would not give up on the idea of European integration.

    President Nikolic said that his country should stick to its policy of friendship with all countries and peoples and promote the idea of a united Europe.
    While negotiating with the EU, Serbia never broke off friendly and economic ties with many countries outside the EU, he added.

    “It is imperative for Serbia to maintain friendly ties with all countries while, at the same, seeking EU membership. Our [accession] talks with the European Union are by no means at variance with our desire to maintain our friendship and economic partnership with Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Cuba,” Nikolic emphasized.

    He added that only irresponsible people could gloat about a crisis the EU could be plunged into if its core members fail to give an adequate response to this challenge.

    “In any case, the negative impact of this on what we have done these past 26 years to establish closer ties with the EU would be hard to exaggerate. I’ve been accused of being pro-Russian and that’s what I am. They also said that I was dragging the country eastwards. To this I said that the EU may be evil, but now is not the best of times to bicker about it.”

    Whether Serbia is prepared for upheavals Europe is facing in the wake of Britain’s exit, President Nikolic said that the worst would come to the worst if many countries left the EU and Britain broke up.

    “As long as the EU is there, no matter how large, we will be trying to join in. Those who are against this should think about who is going to compensate us for the jobs we would lose [if we walked back on European integration.] So that we are not like [pro-Brexit politicians in the UK] who were like “We were just kidding, it wasn’t for real,” the Serbian leader warned.


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