Vucic: We are set to join EU, but also to maintain relations with Russia, China
Serbia wants to be a member of the European Union, but accession cannot imply deterioration of relations with Russia and China, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said.
In an interview, Aleksandar Vucic told ORF Austrian state television that he was aware that not everything depended on Serbia during its accession process to the European Union. At a recent meeting of foreign ministers Serbia was noted to have also made progress on the rule of law, he recalled.
Regarding protests for the environment staged by some citizens because of the activities of the Rio Tinto mining corporation and a fire at the landfill in Vinca, Serbia’s president stressed that a number of environment protection projects are planned under the 2025 programme, such as connecting more than 120 towns and villages to the sewage system.
“For Austria, it may be unthinkable, but one third of Belgrade has no sewerage. We are installing wastewater treatment plants in every city and removing asbestos pipes in the water supply system. We will do all this,” he said.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Serbia was one of the first countries to make vaccination widely available, but vaccination uptake has declined and anti-vaccination voices have emerged. Regarding this, Mr Vucic said, “Obviously, this is a universal problem, not just a problem of one country. I can’t understand why this is happening. But conspiracy theories and negative messages obviously have a bigger impact than positive messages. The reason for this can be social media, but also that people see light-minded attitude as their freedom,” the Serbian president put it.