01 Feb 2017 - 30 Apr 2017

Serbia’s cooperation with China, the European Union, Russia and the United States of America


Context and aim:

Serbia is a candidate country which is gradually advancing towards EU membership. Once an EU member, Serbia will take part in the EU decision making process, including procedures which require unanimity. The country’s leadership, however, stresses Serbia’s policy of non-alignment in international relations, declaring a balance between its cooperation with the EU, Russia, the US and China (hereinafter ‘the four’). This policy has a direct impact on Serbia’s degree of alignment with EU foreign policy, which has dwindled from 99 % in 2012 (EC report’s reference period) to a mere 59 % in 2016 (EC report’s reference period), which is by far the lowest in the region. Still, Serbian politicians and public opinion often see the EU as one of several equally important potential partners of Serbia.


As a result, the study prepared by 3 CASE experts will focus on the following questions: how much weight do Serbia’s relations with each of the four carry and what are the figures that underpin the answer to that question? What are the perceptions of Serbian citizens on the matter and how do the findings relate to these perceptions? Are there other indicators (emotional, historical, cultural...) beyond the hard numbers which influence the perception of Serbian citizens, and to what extent? Does the official discourse of Serbian politicians on cooperation with the four match the findings on the respective levels of cooperation? If not, how could the discrepancy be explained? To what extent do the promotional, diplomatic and other efforts by the four effectively contribute to shaping a realistic picture of their cooperation with Serbia? What are the dynamics of the different types of cooperation and how do they affect the perception of citizens?


The study will compare relevant figures on cooperation between Serbia and the four in the areas of aid, trade, direct investments and security and defence comparing the data from the last 10 years. Finally, some specific recommendations / policy options that are relevant to Parliament’s work will be developed.


Client: Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union, European Parliament


Network leader: PASOS