Moscow is increasing its influence in Serbia, which is a candidate for joining the European Union.
This was stated by David McAllister, German politician and Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, reports Die Welt.
"Russia is deliberately pursuing a strategy of destabilization in Serbia. This is a cause for serious concern," he told Die Welt in an interview.
According to McAllister, who represents the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, "Moscow is trying to exert a massive influence on the media, certain politicians, and civil society in Serbia." Despite the fact that the EU - the largest investor in Serbia - intends to invest about € 1.5 billion in financial assistance through 2020 in the development of reforms and the Serbian economy, "at the same time, Russia is perceived by the Serbian community as its most important ally," stressed the Member of the European Parliament.
"The Balkans is a region of heightened explosiveness where, as a result of irresponsible actions, conflicts that have long been considered overcome may in no time be revived once more," said McAllister.
In his opinion, Brussels needs "to make its useful activities even more visible with the help of Serbian politicians and civil society." The question remains open as to how extensively Belgrade can negotiate with Moscow. In May 2014, Russia signed an agreement on a "strategic partnership", including points on the exchange of intelligence information and joint military exercises. Serbia has been an official candidate for EU membership since 2012.