12:08 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Missing Link? Serbia Can Forge "Bridge" Between Russia, Europe

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    Serbia can play a key role in developing better relations between Russia and the European Union (EU), said Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, according to Euronews.

    The Balkan country has strong historical ties with Russia and therefore it could act as the "connecting bridge" between Moscow and Brussels. Serbia could become an example, where the ideas and moral values of both Russia and the EU could coexist and even thrive, Schulz said. That's why it's important for Brussels to work towards granting Serbia EU membership.

    Having just returned from his visit to the Balkan country, Schulz said that the EU and Serbia will start the accession process this year.

    Normalization of the relationship between Russia and the EU with the help of Serbia is the main reason why Brussels should work hard to make the Balkan nation an EU member, said Franco Frattini, the former Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, who also supports Schulz's idea.

    "Two factors make Serbian membership essential for the EU. First, we're talking about the biggest and most prosperous country in the Balkan region. This is the factor of regional security and stability, which Europe can't ignore," Frattini said, as cited by Euronews.

    However, Frattini stressed the importance of not pushing Serbia too much, demanding it not to accept EU accession requirements too fast. Also, under no circumstances should Brussels push Serbia to choose between the EU and Russia, considering Belgrade's warm relationship with Moscow.

    If Serbia is pushed too much or made to choose between its future EU membership and keeping warm relations with Russia, it could bring the country on the brink of a catastrophe, as it happened in Ukraine, Frattini argued.

    The EU messed up big time when it forced Kiev to choose between the EU and Russia. If Brussels didn't push Kiev to break its historical relationship with Russia, but instead worked to bring Ukraine closer to Europe while at the same letting Kiev to have a special relationship with Moscow, the country wouldn't be on the verge of collapse right now.

    "We'll try not to make this mistake again with Serbia," Frattini commented, as cited by Euronews.

    Serbia officially applied for EU membership in 2009. Following the vote of all EU foreign ministers in February 2012, Serbia received a candidate status. Currently, Belgrade is negotiating with Brussels regarding its future membership.

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    Tags:
    EU membership, European Union, Franco Frattini, Martin Schulz, Russia, Serbia
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