Germany will continue to support the policy of enlargement and integration of the Western Balkans and Serbia into the European Union, regardless of who heads the new government, representatives of German institutions in Serbia said yesterday.
At the round table on the topic “Will the results of the German elections influence the change of policy towards the Western Balkans”, organised by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, it was pointed out that the economic cooperation between Berlin and Belgrade will not change in the near future, but this can be expected more involvement in the Green Agenda.
The representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Serbia, Max Brändle, expressed the conviction that Germany, as one of the strongest countries of the EU, will continue to be an actor in the process of the Western Balkans’ accession to the Union and that it will contribute to the enlargement.
“This is particularly true for Serbia. “Regardless of the relationship of trust between Angela Merkel and Aleksandar Vučić, it is in Germany’s interest to be supported and surrounded by friends in the EU member states,” Max Brändle said.
He is convinced that Germany will continue to support the EU accession process for the Western Balkans and Serbia if Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate Olaf Scholz is elected chancellor, but that “there will be no discounts” when it comes to the criteria for full membership…
“Germany has an interest for Serbia to make progress on this path through the opening of funds, but it is clear that criteria such as democracy and the rule of law will be met,” Brändle said.
The director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, close to the CDU, for Serbia and Montenegro, Norbert Beckmann-Dierkes, is convinced that if CDU leader Armin Laschet is elected chancellor, we should not expect significant changes in German policy towards the Western Balkans.
He believes that this is largely true even if the Social Democratic Party is elected chancellor.
“I am confident that no radical changes will occur along the way, which is very important,” Beckman-Dierkes said.
He believes that Serbia and Southeast Europe will play an important role in the future German government, especially in terms of European economic and security policy.
The director of the Belgrade office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Simon Ilse, close to the Greens, expects the party to join the new government unless the major parties decide on a grand coalition.
“But I don’t think anyone in Germany wants that. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks how a new government will be formed,” Ilse said.
According to him, if a so-called “lantern coalition” is formed in Germany, the principles of German policy on EU enlargement will remain the same, but the tone will change.
“It is to be expected that the German engagement will be more concerned with issues of democratisation and the rule of law in the countries of the region, as well as on the Green Agenda,” Bell said.
Director of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce Frank Aletter said that the Berlin Process initiative, launched by the German government under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, has been very successful and this is shown by the fact that 400 German companies operating in Serbia employ 75,000 people.
He stressed that the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce will work to continue the successful economic cooperation between the two countries.
“For sure, there will be a change in some focuses and an increase in participation in various fields, especially in environmental protection and joint provision of skilled labour in Serbia and Germany,” Aletter said./ibna