[EWB Interview] Wallström, Soini: Important to have enlargement firmly on EU agenda, europeanwesternbalkans.com

Joint interview with Margot Wallström and Timo Soini, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Finland. The interview was conducted in Belgrade, when both ministers visited Serbia on their Western Balkans tour…

EWB: Sweden and Finland are among few countries that are in the EU but are not members of NATO. How do you, from that perspective, see Serbian declared military neutrality and a lack of desire to join NATO?

TS: I think it is completely up to you, as much as it has been up to us.

MW: Every free and independent country has to take a decision on what security arrangements it will make. We totally respect that and, as you know, we are engaged in cooperation in a number of areas and in many different countries. We have the closest cooperation between our two countries, but we are also cooperating closely with NATO, the US, the UK, etc. Therefore, we completely respect that this is a decision to be made by every country individually.

EWB: Serbian government pursues a sort of a “balancing” policy, with EU and NATO on one side and Russia on the other, with which Serbia has strong links, including military cooperation. In addition, it does not align with the EU foreign policy towards Russia. How do you see this from the perspective of your two countries that are not members of NATO, but are still part of the EU and, in this sense, align with the EU foreign policy on Russia?

MW: We hope that there will be sort of rapprochement, that the two sides will come close to that, as the decisions on sanctions are taken unanimously, so there is no way that a country can “sneak out”.

TS: Irrespective of that, we do not accept the illegal annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, we still talk to Russia, and I think that dialogue is important when needed. Läs intervjun