“Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic probably won’t seek a second term, as he intends to complete the work needed to lead his country into the European Union when his mandate ends in 2022. Vucic, who as the leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party is the Balkan state’s most powerful politician, said in an interview that he’d announce proposals to tackle the issue of Kosovo — the biggest hurdle to EU entry — by early April. He also repeated a vow that Serbia will not join EU nations in imposing sanctions against Russia, though he ‘can’t guarantee what will happen after I leave this post.’ ‘Am I going to be the president in 2025? I’m not,’ said Vucic, 47, in the presidential palace library in central Belgrade on Thursday. He put the chance of his stepping aside at ’99 percent’ and said he wouldn’t return to the post of prime minister, which he held before winning an April presidential election. ‘My idea is to finish my job in this office in the next four and half years and that’s it.’Vucic has vowed to make Serbia ready for EU entry by the start of next decade while maintaining strong ties with Russia. It’s a delicate balancing act: while many Serbs see Russia as a powerful traditional and cultural ally, some EU nations accuse President Vladimir Putin of meddling in their domestic affairs, and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn told Serbia in September that it must make clear ‘that it puts EU integration first.'” (Bloomberg)

“Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Brian Yee said that the US supports Serbia’s efforts to join the EU, but would ‘advise’ Belgrade to make it clear to member states that it is 100 percent committed to joining the European Union, and not to be distracted by any dilemmas or conflicting interests. ‘Do not ask Serbia to sever ties with Russia or any other country. However, Russia has a vision of the Balkans that is undoubtedly different from the vision of the EU’s (and our). Serbia should show acts and words that supports the vision of the EU, not Russia,’ said Yee. He said in an interview published today (23 December 2017) by the Greek agency ANA-MPA with its headquarters in Thessaloniki, when asked what message he wanted to send when he said that Belgrade can not sit on two chairs. Yee said that individual actions which, he said, ‘Serbia has undertaken support of Russia’s destabilizing, aggressive attitudes, including the recent vote against the UN resolution on the Russian occupation and attempted annexation of the Crimea, which is not in line with EU policy,’ reports ANA-MPA.” (translated from Blic)