The European Union cannot discuss its future and European identity without Serbia, whose EU membership is a geopolitical interest, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday in Bled, Slovenia.
“We need Serbia because of geopolitics,” said the Hungarian Prime Minister at the Bled Strategic Forum, a panel focused on the future of Europe.
“Serbia is key. Without Serbia as a member of the EU, one cannot discuss security or European identity in general. We need Serbia’s membership in the EU more than Serbia does. If we don’t integrate Serbia as soon as possible, we will lose it,” concluded Orban, reports N1.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić attended the panel as the only representative of a country outside the EU, along with six EU prime ministers, including Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
Vučić said that Serbia was enthusiastic about the EU accession process, but that enthusiasm is no longer there.
“We found our own ways to overcome economic problems and created our own mechanisms,” he said.
He stressed that his country is still fully committed to its European path, but that it “must survive and improve the living conditions of its citizens”.
Vučić criticizes the EU, which he described as “the best place to live in the world”, for not rewarding the progress of candidate countries when they meet some of the criteria for membership.
“North Macedonia changed its name, it was promised that the negotiation process would be launched, did that happen?” he asked, referring to the dispute over North Macedonia’s name with Greece and the fact that the launch of its accession negotiations is now being blocked by Bulgaria.
“I’m not complaining, I’m just telling the truth and we’re aware of that,” he said.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said on the panel that the EU, aware that it must be more visible in Serbia, has increased its investments in that country, which Vučić confirmed.