Europe and the EU

Digital Dialogue: Serbia on a wobbly road to EU Membership
31 Mar 2021 15:30 - 16:45
Source: European Council President Charles Michel, right, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, June 2020/ European Council

This digital dialogue is co-organised with the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in the Netherlands. It will be streamed live on YouTube.

Confronted with the Covid-19 crisis, the Republic of Serbia in 2020 faced a difficult task in its EU accession negotiations. According to commentators, challenges on media freedom and democracy persisted and reforms stagnated in various areas, though the country continued to score well on the economic criteria for EU membership. The European Commission presented a revised accession methodology and an Economic Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, but the EU also remained distracted by the Covid-19 crisis and internal disputes over its budget and the Rule of Law. Political interest in the enlargement file remained low in several Member States, raising doubts about their true commitment to the EU perspective of amongst others Serbia.

This webinar foresees an open dialogue with key players in Serbia’s accession process to the EU, asking how the process can regain momentum in 2021. What are next steps in the EU-Serbia relationship? Can the EU and Serbia move closer together? Or are they destined to remain neighbours at arms-length?


  • Opening and Welcome by Tom de Bruijn, President of the Supervisory Board of the Clingendael Institute
  • Keynote by H.E. Jadranka Joksimović, Minister of European Integration of the Republic of Serbia
  • Keynote by Olivér Várhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

Followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Lise Gregoire, EU director, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Milena Lazarevic, Programme Director, European Policy Centre (CEP, Belgrade)
  • Christoph Schmidt, Brussels correspondent, Trouw newspaper 

The dialogue is moderated by Wouter Zweers, Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute and coordinator of the Clingendael Balkan Hub.