SURREY/BELGRADE/BERLIN – Serbia is currently one of the Balkans leaders on the road to euro-atlantic integrations and reforms processes. Change of Serbia’s political mind came as a result of work started by the last government in which Socialists and Progressives worked together and moved Serbia ahead. Once it was unimaginable that Serbia would have successful negotiations with Priština and open the doors for its own and Kosovo’s accession to EU. But today we’re seeing two faces of Serbia’s political establishment. One side supports move towards EU (PM Vučić and foreign minister/fmr PM Dačić) while President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić (fmr. leader of Serbian Progressive Party and boss to PM Vučić) still looks towards Moscow and its allies. Last week PM Vučić received dignified and state welcome in Berlin by the Chancellor Merkel, while Mr. Nikolić received last European dictator Alexander Lukashenko to a state visit.
As it was already presented here current Serbia’s PM, Aleksandar Vučić, is well known as former radical politician and someone who supported accused war criminals (i.e. Karadžić, Mladić, Šešelj, Šljivančanin) today represents one of the most reform orientated politicians in the region. Over the last three years in which he served as Deputy PM and now PM Mr. Vučić helped forging of key agreement with Kosovo on normalization of relations, opened negotiations with EU, started reforming state administration and brought first investments in more than 5 years. Serbia is finally seen as EU partner and someone who can and should be trusted to deliver much needed results if Serbia wants to become modern and successful country. Some forces inside the country describing him as too powerful, hands-0n over controlling leader who could become new dictator of Serbia and someone who’s words are not following his actions.
During his visit to Germany last week PM Vučić was welcomed as statesman with highest state and military honours and what is most important [not seen in a while when it comes to Balkans leaders] face to face meeting with Chancellor Merkel. Following his meeting with Chancellor Merkel, PM Vučić, expressed where he wants to take his country in the future and where Serbia stands when Moscow comes to equation.
His German counterpart and one of the most powerful people in the world said that she’s glad that negotiations with Priština was seen as ‘significant progress in normalization’ and that this agreement opened the doors for a beginning of access negotiations with EU. She also pointed out that leaders of all Balkans countries will join PM Vučić later this month in Berlin for a summit on which they should discus overall situation in the region.
And while Mr. Vučić tried to convince Chancellor Merkel that his country is ready to work with EU and Germany, without making further problems, his own President was stabbing him in the back. Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) also brought knives and stabbed PM in the back. President Nikolić received Belorussian President, well known ruthless dictator, Alexander Lukashenko in Belgrade with all state and military honours, Church honoured Lukashenko with one of the highest medals which could be awarded. Having a man like Lukashenko visiting your country while you are trying to convince the rest of Europe that you are working as their partner can not be seen as welcomed moved. Belorussian leader Lukashenko is under strongest sanctions by EU and is considered as one of the world worst offenders when it comes to protection of human rights and freedoms. Serbia’s President is known as fan of Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin and to have relations with other pro-Russian leaders in Eastern Europe especially President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev who stands shoulder to shoulder with Lukashenko.
If Serbia really wants to move forward towards Europe, peace with its neighbours and chance to become normal country and modern state it must to create united political front. Split political actions which would contradict each other and summits with some of the most unpopular leaders in the world would not help Serbia’s intention no matter how serious or sincere they are. PM Vučić will need to have frank discussion with his former party leader and long-time ally President Nikolić which must lead towards one voice coming from Belgrade if two voices continue coming then promise to Chancellor Merkel that Serbia will not create new problems will transform itself into a disastrous lie.