Balkan’s Bad Boy Goes West: Serbia’s Challenges on the Way to the EU
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Since the Balkan Wars in the 1990s, Serbia has been perceived by Europe as its enfant terrible. This is an effect of Serbian war crimes, of an unwillingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and general reluctance towards Western political structures in Serbian society. The tension between the West and Serbia grew particularly high in 1999 during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and in 2008 when Kosovo proclaimed independence. In spite of these tensions, within last few years Serbia has been successfully involved in a normalisation process with Kosovo as a part of its rapprochement with the EU. Serbia has opened itself to the West but it still maintains good relations with Russia, regardless of the Kremlin’s foreign policy activities. Hence, the author argues that rethinking relations and cutting certain ties with Russia should be among the key conditions for Serbia to join the EU, no less important than normalisation with Kosovo.
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