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Serbia applied to join the European Union (EU) in 2009 and has been a candidate for membership since 2012, along with nine other states. Serbia is the largest country in Southeast Europe seeking entry into the EU.[4][5]

After initial popular support for Serbia's entry, it has held unfavorable domestic approval with support weakening since 2014.[6] > International support for their accession is similarly mixed with concerns over Serbia's claim over Kosovo, regional geopolitical tensions, foreign policy alignment with Russia, and domestic policies.[7][5] Serbia's issues with democratic backsliding has been identified by the Financial Times as a long-term obstacle to the state's entry into the EU and NATO.[5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accession_of_Serbia_to_the_European_Union

Did Russia express any comment showing disapproval of Serbia potential entry into the EU? Considering that Russia has influence over Serbia, I was wondering if any Russian official expressed any comment showing disapproval or worry about Serbia possibly joining the EU in 2030. I am thinking it might lead to a significant decrease in Russia's influence over Serbia while not being as threatening as a NATO expansion.

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    ...or maybe it will lead to a significant increase in Russia's influence in the EU?
    – alamar
    Jan 14 at 23:17
  • Interesting take. One Hungary seems enough. Pass. Jan 15 at 3:52

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Official Russian Foreign Policy regarding EU accession of Balkan countries has always been centered around the sentence "Every country should be able to choose its own foreign policy, but it should be aware of the consequences." At the same time the EU was blamed to force prospective members to choose a side, either EU or Russia. What seems to have changed in recent years is the rhetoric towards the EU, but without openly demanding any specific reaction from Serbia. Consider the following two exerpts from interviews Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lawrow gave to Serbian media.

19 February 2018

We do not see any risks in the fact that countries of the Balkan region and other countries on the European continent want to expand relations with the European Union, including accession to the EU. They are informed about the accession criteria, and they should independently decide to what extent these criteria suit them, and to what extent they meet the national interests of the relevant state. Of course, they should draw conclusions on the advantages and practicability of any specific actions to expand their external ties with anyone...

While mentioning Serbia’s priorities, namely, the task of accession to the EU, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic has never said that this would be done at the expense of Russia. On the contrary, he noted that Serbia continues to see the Russian track of its foreign policy and cooperation guidelines to be highly important. I am confident that this meets the interests of the Serbian nation...

One can say the following regarding the European Union’s requirements on recognising Kosovo. The EU demands that every prospective EU member-state join the EU’s common foreign and defence policy. The very same philosophy and mentality that help incite tensions in Europe and that guided those who expanded NATO and presented European countries and Ukraine with the following choice ‒ either they side with the West or Russia ‒ come into play here. This is an extremely misguided practice...

28 March 2022

It’s not up to us to be responsible for decisions made by Serbia, the Serbian leadership or the Serbian people. We are fraternal nations. We are united by common history and victories against common enemies. We feel how deeply these feelings are rooted in the soul of the Serbian people, in their historical memory. And now we are seeing this. We never impose anything by force. The West is trying to impose on Serbia its own policy and interests by force of economic pressure, threats, blackmail and ultimatums. It is telling Serbia that it must oppose Russia if it wants to join the EU. This is unseemly. This is not how one should behave in society, at home, with friends or in the world arena. This is an example of their policy of arm-twisting. President Aleksandar Vucic has mentioned this more than once. He said honestly that Serbia is a small country but it has its own pride and its own interests. Attempts are being made now to simply forget these interests and turn you into an instrument of Western policy. This is what happened with North Macedonia and Montenegro. This is what the West is now trying to do with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We have deep respect for the Serbian people, its commitment to its traditions, history and its historical friends. I am convinced that the Serbian people will continue making wise decisions in any situation, based on their fundamental interests.

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