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.