The Financial Times and The Guardian: EU is preparing a response to Russia’s destabilizing of BiH and the Balkans

March 11, 2017 11:45 AM

putin-dodik-fonet-1024x692Renowned British newspapers The Guardian and The Financial Times dedicated their space to relations of the European Union towards the Western Balkans on Thursday, and they emphasized Russia’s destabilizing influence on the region with their support to ultranationalists, especially among Serbs.

The Guardian warned that “Russia is destabilizing the Balkans” and that it “rings the alarm at the meeting of EU leaders.” The Financial Times noted that the “EU is struggling to restore credibility to this region.”

“Geopolitics has returned to the Balkans,” stated David McAllister, a German deputy, and chair of the European parliament’s foreign affairs committee, as reported by Guardian.

“We are seeing the growing Russian influence, we are seeing growing Turkish influence, the United States is a player, the European Union is a player, so there are different interests at stake,” said McAllister, reports Guardian.

The Financial Times recalls the Balkan tour of The High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU Federica Mogherini and shouts that she experienced during her speech in the Parliament of Serbia when deputies of the Serbian Radical Party led by Vojislav Seselj did not allow her to speak and shouted: “Serbia! Russia, we do not need the EU!”

“But it was Russia’s role that he described as negative, citing the Kremlin’s suspected involvement in a failed coup in Montenegro and Moscow’s support for hardline nationalist leaders in the region,” as reported by Guardian.

They also noted Russia’s relationship with SNSD leader and the President of RS Milorad Dodik who jeopardizes the Dayton Peace Agreement.

“The EU must increase its efforts in these six Balkan countries in order for the EU and its work to be more visible,” said German deputy McAllister for The Guardian and noted that Serbia has not introduced sanctions against Russia and that the country will have to adopt a common foreign policy in order to become member state.

“Balkan countries were given the green light to begin the long road to EU membership in 2003, but progress has been mixed. Croatia joined the EU in 2013, and Montenegro and Serbia have embarked on formal membership talks. Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia are further behind in the process,” reported Guardian.

The Financial Times noted that the membership of these countries in the EU was a pillar of stability in the region and all reforms for two decades. The second pillar, according to them, is an implicit understanding that the United States could come into the game through NATO if tensions lead to the conflict, as it was the case in BiH and Kosovo during the 1990’s.

The conversation regarding the situation in the Western Balkans is expected during a working dinner of presidents and prime ministers of 28 member states of the EU, who gathered at the two-day summit in Brussels. Both Guardian and Financial Times reported that leaders of the EU summit will confirm their long-term commitment to the Western Balkans and the EU membership of these countries in the European Union.

Leaders of the EU, according to draft of conclusions of the session, emphasized ” irreversible commitment to membership of the region in the EU”, emphasized that reforms, increased political and economic cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkans, as well as among the partners in the region, with good neighborly relations are crucial.



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