Serbia and other Western Balkan countries are connected with EU countries and the EU crisis reflects on the situation in the region, it was said at a confernece entitled The Western Balkans and European (Dis)Integrations, held in Belgrade. It is on the situation in the EU and the outcome of the crisis, which is not an economic one only that the further integrations of the Western Balkan countries will depend. More from Suzana Mitić.
Will the economy sphere, which was the initial element of EU integrations, become a key factor of possible EU disintegration? Will there be an intermission in the enlargement process after Croatia is admitted to the EU? Will some EU member-states become more equal, so to say, than others? These were some of the questions posed at the conference and to which the participants tried to give answers. There are many uncertainties, however. A vision of future development is lacking in the EU as nobody knows what the EU will be like in 20 years, says Jovan Teokarević, a professor of the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. He emphasized that the Western Balkan countries were in a far less certain position now than they were four years ago and that the economic crisis defined not only the political situation in the region, but the security one as well.
Assistant Minister for Economy and Regional Development Bojana Todorović emphasized that more than half of Serbia’s foreign trade was that with the EU and that it was from the EU that most investments come. Through regular contacts, the EU is trying to help the Western Balkan countries resolve their joint problems, she said. The EU emphasizes the importance of work on political reforms, battle against corruption and the strengthening of the judiciary, which is required for the creation of a framework for economic recovery and emphasis is also laid on the significance of CEFTA at this critical moment, stressed Todorović.
Michael Erke, the director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which organized this gathering together with the Belgrade Centre for Foreign Policy, said that a possible collapse of the euro would lead to a significant drop of the gross social product in the EU and deepen the crisis. He did not rule out the possibility of EU disintegration as the worst possible outcome of the crisis. We can say now that the idea of the realization of a European monetary union was a mistake, said Erke, emphasizing that an economic government and not only a fiscal one is required at the euro zone level.