The European Union managed to hold a meeting between Serbian and Kosovo leaders Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti on September 14. These are the first consultations after the sharp deterioration of relations in late May. The purpose of the exchange of views is to reduce tension in the north of Kosovo and to try to bring Belgrade and Pristina back to dialog.
However, there has been no breakthrough. The disagreements are still linked to the idea of forming a Community of Serbian Municipalities in the rebellious province. Meanwhile, EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell warned: «Without normalization, there will be no European future for Kosovo or Serbia».
It should be noted here that official Pristina is always scheming and provoking the Serbian leadership. For example, before the Balkan Initiative summit (the so-called Brdo-Brioni Process), which took place on September 11 in Skopje (North Macedonia), Prime Minister Kurti said that «Serbia and Russia cannot be torn away from each other without a whip».
«I wonder how some people think that they have the right to ask some third parties to use the whip against a sovereign country, especially when you violate the UN Charter and violate the territorial integrity of the country», the Serbian leader retorted.
Further, he clarified why Serbia is not joining the anti-Russian sanctions.
«As for sanctions, we make our own decision as a sovereign country, and in this we differ from Pristina. It is not about Russia, Ukraine or I don’t know what else, but about who is a sovereign country and who is not and never will be», Vucic said.
Earlier, he said that Serbia was not ready to impose sanctions against Russia because of its moral principles. And pointed out that the Russian economy against the background of the imposed restrictions shows a level of strength that no one expected.
For reference: the Brdo-Brioni Process was established in 2013 at the initiative of the presidents of Slovenia and Croatia. The main objective of the initiative is to provide assistance from Ljubljana and Zagreb to the European integration of the Western Balkan countries. Summits in this format are held annually. The current one was attended by the presidents of Albania, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, unrecognized Kosovo, as well as members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (one representative each from Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims).
«We commit ourselves, reaffirming our position on the EU enlargement policy <…> to intensify the strategic dialog with the institutions of the European Union in order to accelerate the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU <…>. Both the EU and the Western Balkans should be ready for enlargement as soon as possible, but no later than 2030 <…>. We are determined to intensify our efforts to implement reforms in this region aimed at strengthening the rule of law, prosperity, functioning democratic institutions and governance», the declaration adopted at the end of the summit in Skopje states.
It is noteworthy that the Slovenian media noted with disappointment that the EU did not give the meeting the attention it deserved.
As for Serbia, the European Commission (EC) intends to assist it «in effective EU accession negotiations». This was announced by the Directorate General for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Gert Jan Koopman.
The plan is to open a political and legal advisory center in Belgrade.
«The overall objective of the project is to help the Serbian authorities to effectively conduct accession negotiations, as well as to successfully manage assistance as regards the EU integration process and preparations for EU accession,» the EC spokesperson said.
The funding will amount to €3 million and the project will last for two and a half years.
In fact, it is just another «soft power and lobbying center», with a clear and understandable objective: to make Serbia adhere to the European course in politics.
The work on Serbs by the collective West has been going on for a long time. And it is not the Americans (Belgrade well remembers the US bombing), but the Germans who excel in propaganda.
President Vucic recently said that the conflict in Ukraine was the cause of Germany’s recession, while the States’ economy has strengthened significantly.
«And we have problems when Germany is in recession. We would have had an easier time if the US had a recession, but they went up, strengthened significantly. <…> The fact is that a lot of Serbs are going to Europe (and especially Germany) to work,» he added.
The Anglo-Saxons have so far failed to sway the Serbian population with their propaganda. According to opinion polls, about 85 percent of Serbs still have a good attitude toward Russia. However, a significant part of them would like the country to join the EU. Anti-Russian sentiments (5–10% of citizens) fall on representatives of national minorities — Hungarians, Albanians, Croats. They are also widespread in Vojvodina, a region in the north of the country that was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, not the Ottoman one like the rest of Serbia.
…Meanwhile, the Serbian economy is going through bad times. In an attempt to affect inflation, the government has decided to take unconventional and far from market-oriented measures — it has significantly reduced the prices (up to 30%) of some goods. The list includes milk, yogurt, apples, potatoes, pasta, cookies, soft drinks, shampoo, toilet paper, diapers, laundry and dishwashing products. The measure is temporary — until the end of this year.
To support the campaign, on September 13, Vucic bought half a kilo of cooked sausage Parizer, two liters of yogurt, two loaves of bread, as well as mayonnaise at a reduced price. The set cost 585 Serbian dinars (about $5). He shared the breakfast with the ministers of economy and trade — Sinisa Mali and Tomislav Momirovic.
It seems that Serbs are ready to eat inexpensive local sausage with a French name, but not to abandon principles. For now.