Serbia has recently made several diplomatic moves that clearly departed from the European Union’s common foreign policy objectives. From 2014, when the current President Aleksandar Vucic had become Prime Minister, the Western Balkans nation scrapped visas for the nationals of more than 20 countries, most of which were marked by the European Commission and independent watchdogs as important sources of illegal immigration, money laundering, or the illicit trade in arms and drugs.

The European Union had abolished visa requirements for the citizens of four Western Balkan countries in 2012 after they fulfilled a series of administrative and political requirements and pledged to streamline their visa policies with those of EU member states. This pledge is still one of the key pillars of the visa waiver agreement.

Initially presented as part of a plan to boost economic ties with their main trading partners, Serbia’s new visa arrangements are now being portrayed as a reward for the governments that walked back on their previous recognition of Kosovo.