Serbia’s plan to join a Russian-led economic union is drawing ire from the European Union, which the Balkan nation says it wants to be part of.
The EU’s executive commission has made clear that Serbia will have to cancel any bilateral trade agreements with other countries if and when it joins the EU, and leaders said they’d rather see Belgrade aligning its policies more with the bloc’s. Serbian officials have ignored the criticism and Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, said Belgrade is expected to sign a free-trade pact with the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on October 25.
Established in 2015, the EAEU comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan as members.
The EU has no say over which groups Serbia joins while it’s not a member, but some of its representatives indicated they would like to see greater commitment to membership, especially after an EU progress report earlier this year showed that Serbia was only partially aligning its foreign and security policies with the EU’s.