International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Serbia's FM: Montenegrin President overplays his hand by attacking Serb identity

February 13, 2020

Ivica Dacic, Serbia's Foreign Minister, said on Thursday that the Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic "had overplayed his hand with the Law on Religious Freedom," adding that "it happens when you attack someone's (Serb) identity," the news agencies reported.

He added that the protests against the law would be even stronger if the attacks intensified.

"Djukanovic hasn't understood the power of the answer to the attack on something that is not only politics but is also someone's identity, something that is in your genetic code, what is sacred to you, Dacic told the Belgrade Happy TV.

He recalled that Montenegro was facing elections and charged that the authorities launched a campaign for the country's independence and that they were bothered with everything Serbian.

Regarding Kosovo, Dacic said the most significant concession Serbia could offer was a compromise but did not explain what kind of settlement he was talking about. He added that yet another country was ready to revoke the decision on recognising Kosovo as a sovereign state, but did not say what was the country, because "they (from Pristina) immediately go there," adding that "we're working on that."    

The US and the European Union have insisted that Belgrade should stop the so-called anti-independence diplomatic activity and that Kosovo should withdraw the 100 percent import duties on goods from Serbia and Bosnia in November 2018, to create conditions for the resumption of Belgarde - Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations.

Pristina is saying it will introduce the reciprocity instead of taxes, while Dacic says Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic has told him to continue lobbying for the withdrawal of the recognition.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a568984/Belgrade-warns-Podgorica-of-stronger-protests-if-attacks-continue.html

Green MEPs claim Croatia is forcibly returning migrants to Bosnia

February 13, 2020

Speaking ahead of a plenary debate on the situation at the external borders of the European Union in the European Parliament on Wednesday, Green MEPs said it was unquestionable that Croatian border police were forcibly returning migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina in violation of legal procedures.

"The only people who are insisting that illegal pushbacks are not happening in the EU’s largest external land border are the Croatian authorities," Green MEP Tineke Strik said in a report. "The UN agencies, the Croatian Ombudsman, civil society and migrants and asylum seekers we spoke to showed us clear evidence that this is happening," she added.

Last week Strik was on a fact-finding mission, along with her party colleagues Saskia Bricmont and Erik Marquardt, to Croatia's border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In Zagreb, they met, among others, with Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, who denied their accusations. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, they visited two refugee camps at Bihac in the northwest of the country and talked to local government officials, representatives of international organizations, activists and migrants.

In their report, the Greens demand that Croatia allow independent oversight of the conduct of the Croatian border police and that the European Commission investigate allegations of human rights violations.

"People reported being beaten up by the Croatian police, being forcibly taken back to Bosnia and Herzegovina and given no information or denied access to the asylum system. Nearly 40% of the individuals pushed back are children," Strik said in the report.

"Contrary to what the Croatian Government and the European Commission say, it is evident that there is no human rights monitoring mechanism. We call on the Croatian authorities to immediately start independent monitoring, involving the Ombudswoman and civil society organisations, on the situation at the border. The Croatian government must examine all complaints and we urge the Commission to do a thorough investigation into the allegations and take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with European rules and fundamental rights.

"The EU is pushing Croatian authorities to 'protect' their borders and keep asylum seekers and migrants out, without demanding respect for fundamental rights. It is astonishing that despite the substantiated allegations of violent push backs, EU countries like Germany are applauding Croatia. The EU and its member states must stop turning a blind eye to this humanitarian situation at its borders," Strik said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409924/Green-MEPs-claim-Croatia-is-forcibly-returning-migrants-to-Bosnia.html

Dodik: The solution to the current crisis is the secession of Republika Srpska

February 12, 2020

A solution to the current political crisis that erupted in Bosnia on Wednesday is for the Bosnian Serb-majority region, Republika Srpska (RS), to secede, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik told N1 in an interview.

“The solution will be for the RS to go its own path, form its independent state bodies which will function on RS territory. It has all the elements of a state, its institutions, its people,” he said, explaining that Bosnia’s 1995 peace agreement, which contains the Constitution, has already been breached repeatedly by international officials.

Dodik spoke after representatives from the semi-autonomous RS entity unanimously decided to stop participating in any decision-making processes until a law is passed which would remove all foreign judges from the Constitutional Court.

Bosnia is divided into two semi-autonomous entities, one dominated by Serbs, the other shared mostly by Bosniaks and Croats. The entities have their own governments and parliaments but are linked into one state by joint institutions that are comprised of representatives of all three groups.

The decision by RS representatives came after the Constitutional Court declared an RS land bill law unconstitutional.

The bill declared that land that had belonged to former Yugoslavia now belongs to the RS and not the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country’s Constitutional Court, however, ruled at its last session that this law is unconstitutional and that Bosnia and Herzegovina should be the owner of such land.

For years Dodik kept accusing three international judges of the Constitutional Court of always siding with the two Bosniak judges at the expense of the two Serb and two Croat judges. He is arguing that the Court was consistently working against Bosnian Serb interests.

After the latest decision, he wants foreigners out or Republika Srpska will go its own way, he said.

“We are staying to participate in the state bodies but no decisions will be adopted. We will gather all Serbs who work there. It was agreed that this will happen in the Parliament and the Council of Ministers,” Dodik said.

Dodik himself is the Bosnian Serb representative in the three-member state presidency which can pass decisions only by consensus.

“I will be present at the Presidency meetings and I will start vital national interest procedures for everything, even if we talk about the weather forecast,” Dodik said, explaining how he intends to obstruct the work of the body.

He said the RS National Assembly will “withdraw and cancel all of its endorsements” of reforms.

“We might adopt a decision to form an RS Army. The US Embassy, which keeps preaching to us, is not going to be the one who tends to our rights. Enough of that, you can’t keep doing this,” he said.

“You have struck wherever the Serb people live. What do you want? Who are you? Nobody in the RS will respect any OHR decisions anymore,” he said, referring to the Office of the High Representative, the foreign diplomat overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement which contains Bosnia’s Constitution.

He went on to say that the High Representative, currently Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko, “is an international criminal who had breached the Constitution and the Dayton Agreement.”

He also stressed that Bosnia is a state that was imposed upon Serbs who did not want it and that it has proven to be a bad place for them.

“We will secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina one day. We don’t want anybody to destroy our freedom,” he said.

“The Bosniaks think that the US Embassy will solve their problems - well let’s see how they will do that,” he added.

Dodik argued that he entered the Bosnian Presidency with the best of intentions to initiate processes to improve Bosnia’s economy but that his Bosniak and Croat colleagues in the institution always first ask the US Embassy about everything.

He predicted Bosnia’s future scenario, also accusing Bosniaks of overvoting the less numerous Croats in Bosnia’s other entity, the Federation (FBiH), and arguing that the Croat-majority area in the country should secede as well.

“The RS will be a state, Herzeg-Bosnia the other one and Bosnia will be the place where Bosniaks live,” Dodik said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409834/Dodik-The-solution-to-the-current-crisis-is-the-secession-of-Republika-Srpska.html

OHR: Blocking decision-making in Bosnia is a massive step in wrong direction

February 12, 2020

All moves that would lead to a paralysis of Bosnian institutions and prevent their work would be a massive step in the wrong direction, the office of Bosnia's international administrator told N1 Wednesday, commenting on the announcement of Serb officials that they would not partake in the decision-making process after the Constitutional Court said several laws in Bosnia's Serb majority part were unconstitutional.

“We expect all political parties to respect the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to make sure that they are able to make decisions that would lead Bosnia to EU accession,” the Office of the High Representative said.

After the Constitutional Court decided that Article 53 of the Republika Srpska (RS) Law on Agricultural Land, as well as Articles 3 and 4 of the RS Law on Inland Navigation, unconstitutional – RS leaders decided to boycott the decision-making process in State institutions by attending the sessions and meetings, but not taking part in the voting process, thus blocking the process completely.

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two semi-autonomous entities – the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) and the Serb dominated RS. Both entities have their institutions and competencies. The international community had set up the OHR as the international administrator's office in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.

“Ignoring the specific decision of the Constitutional Court, which we have not yet seen, we want to recall that the Constitutional Court is the cornerstone on which the constitutional framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina rests. In accordance with the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the entities are obliged to fully respect the decisions of Bosnia's institutions, including those of the Constitutional Court, which are final and binding,” the OHR added.

Speaking of the presence of international judges in the Constitutional Court, they say their presence is provided for by Bosnia's Constitution.

Attacks on the Court or any of its members constitute unacceptable interference with the work of the judiciary, the OHR concluded.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409824/OHR-Blocking-decision-making-in-Bosnia-is-a-massive-step-in-wrong-dirrection.html

Dzaferovic: Disrespecting Constitutional Court decision threatens Bosnia's peace

February 12, 2020

Disrespecting the Constitutional Court's decision violates the Dayton Peace agreement and questions peace on Bosnia, the Bosniak member of the Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic said Wednesday after the Serb officials said they would not participate in the decision-making process in State institutions.

“The Constitutional Court and the foreign judges in it are part of the Dayton Peace Agreement, as are two Bosnian entities,” Dzaferovic said. “All those blocking the work of State institutions must be aware that they are threatening the Dayton Peace Agreement. They are thus questioning (Bosnia's) peace and stability and leading into the termination of the Dayton Peace Agreement."

After the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, the country was divided into two semi-autonomous entities, the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) and the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

Each of the two entities has its own competencies and their representatives participate in the work of State institutions.

Following the Constitutional Court's decision to declare Article 53 of the RS Law on Agricultural Land, as well as Articles 3 and 4 of the RS Law on Inland Navigation, unconstitutional – RS leaders decided to boycott the decision-making process in State institutions by attending the sessions and meetings, but not taking part in the voting process, thus blocking the process completely.

Dzaferovic said in case the Dayton Accords are threatened, the country, which existed before its signing, will continue to exist and everything that was made by the agreement, like the RS and FBiH entities, will also be threatened.

He warned it is high time that Bosnia's judicial institutions react to such threats, as well as for the international community to protect the Dayton Peace Agreement more resolutely.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409780/Dzaferovic-Disrespecting-Constitutional-Court-decision-threatens-Bosnia-s-peace.html

Croat Presidency member: Lower levels of govt. can't question State institutions

February 12, 2020

No lower level of government can question Bosnia's State institutions, Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic said after the Republika Srpska (RS) entity leaders said they would boycott the country's decision-making process because they did not like the Constitutional Court's decisions regarding several RS laws.

“The rule of law is a fundamental part of the European civilisation. No lower-level of government can question Bosnia's institutions,” Komsic said responding to his Serb colleague's announcement that Republika Srpska (RS) entity's parliament will ask all Serb judges in the State Constitutional Court to leave this institution. If not, the RS parliament will pass a decision to pull them out from this Court, as this is the institution that proposes judges from this part of the country to serve at the State Court.

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two semi-autonomous entities – the Bosniak, Croat shared Federation (FBiH) and the Serb dominated Republika Srpska (RS), each with its own competencies and parliaments. Representatives from each of the two entities make up the State parliament called the Council of Ministers.

Komsic said that announcements of denial of Court decisions would be considered an act of rebellion and placing oneself above the law anywhere else in the world.

“The more state institutions are questioned, the more we'll defend them. Any Unconstitutional action is unacceptable and no yelling and cursing will change the decisions made by Bosnia's state institutions and the Constitutional Court,” Croat Presidency member said.

The Constitutional Court declared Article 53 of the RS Law on Agricultural Land, as well as Artiles 3 and 4 of the RS Law on Inland Navigation as unconstitutional.

Following the Court's decisions, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic, Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik, RS Parliament Speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic, RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic, Bosnia's prime minister Zoran Tegeltija, President of the RS Constitutional Court Dzerard Selman and RS representatives in Bosnia's state institutions held a meeting at which they concluded they would not take part in the decision-making processes of the State. This means they would attend the sessions, but not take any part in them, thus making the adoption of any decision impossible.

RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic added that the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina “deeply encroaches into the RS' identity and territorial issues.”

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409748/Komsic-to-Dodik-s-statement-Lower-levels-of-govt.-can-t-question-State-institutions.html

Dodik: Either we agree on Constitutional Court, or Bosnia will be no more

February 12, 2020

Either political leaders will come to a new agreement on what the Constitutional Court should look like or Bosnia will be no more, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said on Wednesday after representatives from the country’s Serb-majority region unanimously decided to stop participating in any decision-making processes until all foreign judges are removed from the Court.

The decision, which was announced by the President of the semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) region, came after the Constitutional Court recently ruled an RS law on property unconstitutional.

The law said that all agricultural land located on RS territory is the property of the entity. The state Constitutional Court, however, struck down the law and said the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be the owner of such land.

Dodik has been arguing for years that Bosnia’s Constitutional Court is working against Bosnian Serb interests.

The Court is composed of nine judges - two Bosniaks, two Serbs, two Croats and three foreign judges. Dodik has been accusing the foreign judges of agreeing with the Bosniak judges too often.

He called the Constitutional court an “occupation court” for the RS.

“We have agreed that we will not be involved in making any decisions on any issue within Bosnia’s institutions, and we will not give up on that,” he said, adding that RS lawmakers will meet on Monday and adopt a series of decisions on the matter.

“We believe that the judges should leave the Constitutional Court, and if they don’t, the RS National Assembly which named them (the Serb judges) will adopt a decision to remove them from the court,” he said.

“So, we simply either have to come to a new agreement or this country will be no more,” he stressed.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409774/Dodik-Either-we-agree-on-Constitutional-Court-or-Bosnia-will-be-no-more.html

Serb representatives announce blocking decision-making process in Bosnia

February 12, 2020

Representatives of Bosnia's Serb-majority entity, Republika Srpska, will halt their work in the decision-making process in the state-level institutions, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic said Wednesday, adding that this decision will be in force until foreign judges are expelled from the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Cvijanovic addressed a press conference following a meeting that gathered the RS officials and representatives of the political parties represented in the RS parliament, in Banja Luka, the entity's administrative centre. The only topic discussed in the meeting was a recent decision of the Constitutional Court, which assessed that the public land law in that entity was – unconstitutional.

“The participants agreed that the RS representatives in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina will halt their work in the decision-making process on any matter that falls under jurisdiction of Bosnia and Herzegovina's bodies, until adoption of new Law on the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which wouldn't have foreign judges in its composition,” said the RS president.

Bosnia consists of two semi-autonomous regions, Republika Srpska and Federation, with both entities and three major ethnic groups - Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, being equally represented at the state-level of authority. Each major group is entitled to veto any decision with reference to the vital national interest.

Cvijanovic also said that this matter requires an urgent session of the RS parliament, which would discuss the Constitutional Court's decisions that have “deeply interfered with the identity of RS" and now even its "territorial and property matters."

 Acting upon motion of seven Bosniak delegates in the RS Council of Peoples, the Constitutional Court ruled that Article 53 of the RS Law on Agricultural land was unconstitutional.

The court decision triggered fierce reactions among the Serb leadership, with Milorad Dodik, the leader of strongest Serb party – the SNSD, saying that Bosnia's judiciary was doing nothing but trying to impose “illegal solutions” against Republika Srpska.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409726/Serb-representatives-announce-blocking-decision-making-process-in-Bosnia.html

Bosnian Croat leader holds lecture at Moscow MGIMO University on EU integrations

February 12, 2020

The leader of Bosnian Croats and Speaker of the House of Peoples Dragan Covic held a lecture on security challenges in the Western Balkans, at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), within his official visit to the Russian Federation, on Wednesday.

In a lecture on the topic of “Security Challenges in the Western Balkans in the context of its European perspective,” Covic familiarized the Moscow students with the Euro integration process in Bosnia and the neighboring countries.

He emphasized the need for Bosnia to get the candidate status as soon as possible and the importance of rule of law reforms, including the Election Law reform in line with Constitutional Court verdicts, while respecting the European Court for Human Rights' decision and the need for a compromise between individual and collective rights, Covic's office said.

The Bosnian Croat leader also spoke of the country's foreign policy and the aspect of building friendly, neighborly relations with the surrounding countries which is one of the preconditions for regional peace.

After the lecture, Covic talked with the students who showed interest in a better understanding of the socio-political relations in the country.

Before the lecture, Covic met with the University management who expressed readiness to establish cooperation with Bosnian universities.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409724/Covic-held-a-lecture-on-security-challenges-in-the-Balkans-in-Moscow.html

Demography experts: Bosnia could lose hall of its workforce

February 12, 2020

Bosnia is among the countries with the highest brain-drain in the world but the emigration trend slowing down would be even more of a reason for worrying, demography experts told N1 on Wednesday.

“That means that the area is practically left without an able-bodied young population which has an intellectual, reproductive and economic potential,” expert Aleksandar Cavic explained.

There is no clear data on how many people actually still live in Bosnia, he said, as “we are relying on the 2013 census which was not conducted in accordance with any rules and whose results and the way they were presented were problematic.”

“We generally do not know how many of us there are, so we rely on estimates that depend on figures of external migration,” he said.

“However, we also do not have official data for external migration that meet the criteria of accuracy,” he said, adding that “we are left with assessments of some governmental and non-governmental organizations.”

Demography expert Amer Osmic said that, according to his own estimates, there are about three million people living in Bosnia and that it is presumed that the country has some 500,000 people less than in the 2013 census.

“We have to speak about a general sense of dissatisfaction among citizens here. In the 21st century, you still need three hours to go to Tuzla from Sarajevo, and a lot more to go to Bihac,” he said, giving the example of the inefficient infrastructure in the country.

Demography expert Sanda Mesinovic said that Bosnia is simply not an attractive place for living and that the fact that the war is over is not enough for young people.

“It is not enough for a child in a home to be fed and clothed,” she said, arguing that children want to have opportunities to “play, explore, learn and grow.”

“That is the point. We must change the paradigm of how we perceive our population and how we create tools for children to grow, develop and stay in their home, Bosnia,” she said.

“I support all those who want to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina because Bosnia then has a chance to reach a kind of catharsis. People and systems change at a point when it seems like there is no solution,” she said, describing Bosnia as “very sluggish.”

“If you would describe Bosnia as a person, it would be an old man who is dressed nicely and smells good, but at his core, he is rotting away,” she said.

Osmic said that Bosnia’s authorities should look at how other countries with the same problems tackle them.

“It’s necessary to unite the entire approach to this problem,” he said, advocating for the “formation of a ministry on the state level, so we have access to every person regardless of where they live.”

“This is the final alarm for our authorities to start asking themselves who will be left living here in 20, 30 years. It is as if they don’t care about that,” he said.

Osmic said that Bosnia’s authorities need to pay special attention to the education and healthcare system and that it is important to “create an atmosphere where young people have optimism and a feeling that something is improving.”

“You can see the dissatisfaction among young people, the state of depression, they simply have no choice - as they have no options. They only see their family living in Germany as an option. Nothing can happen overnight - but the focus must be in changing the atmosphere,” he said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409876/Demography-experts-Bosnia-could-lose-all-of-its-workforce.html

Xi tells Vucic China and Serbia could raise partnership to new level

February 12, 2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a letter to his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic that he is prepared to raise the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, a press release from the Serbian President’s cabinet said on Wednesday.

The letter was delivered to the Serbian President by Beijing’s Ambassador in Belgrade Chen Bo.

Xi wrote that China and Serbia are friends who trust each other, adding that he appreciates the fact that the Serbian president and government are firm in their commitment to the One China principle. He added that he devotes great attention to the development of relations between the two countries.

The press release quoted Vucic as saying that he is carefully watching the struggle against the coronavirus epidemic in China. “The unprecedented efforts that China is investing in preventing the spread of the virus is worthy of deep respect. We are convinced that China prevail win over this challenge and emerge even stronger,” Vucic said.

Vucic told the ambassador that he is prepared to visit China at any time to lend support to the Chinese leadership.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a568830/Xi-tells-Vucic-China-and-Serbia-could-raise-partnership-to-new-level.html

Carpenter: No progress on Kosovo before elections in Serbia

February 12, 2020

Former senior Pentagon official Michael Carpenter told the Voice of America on Wednesday that any progress in relations between Belgrade and Pristina will be hard to achieve before the April elections in Serbia but urged the forming of a stabilization fund for both sides.

“Do I think it’s possible, certainly it is. I think a lot more effort and resources have to be invested but I will say this in defense of (the US President’s envoy) Ambassador (Richard) Grenell – I think he achieved a lot in talks to renew direct flights,” the Senior Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement said. Carpenter served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and advisor to then Vice-President Joe Biden.

He said a decision from the Kosovo government to revoke the 100 percent tariffs on goods from Serbia would be a very positive signal. “If he (Grenell) manages to achieve that, I think he will at least be able to achieve greater progress in the near future. I think he has to resolve some of the reasons for the dispute and animosity between the two sides, including the tariffs, before he can really get to work on an agreement. That is the road that Grenell is on now,” he said.

According to Carpenter, the hard part will be putting something on the table that is acceptable to most Serbs and most Albanians. He said that was never realistic without significant funds and investments, especially a stabilization fund. Carpenter recalled that he has been urging the European Union and US to put the stabilization fund option on the table and show the two sides that they will see reconstruction, jobs, economic growth and infrastructure once an agreement is reached.

Carpenter warned that a solution to the conflict can’t be complete unless Serbia recognizes Kosovo as independent. He said that the US has an interest in the stability and security of the Balkans because it allows the countries of the region to join EuroAtlantic institutions.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a568888/Carpenter-No-progress-on-Kosovo-before-elections-in-Serbia.html

Russian Ambassador says nothing new in Western efforts over Kosovo

February 12, 2020

Russia’s Ambassador in Belgrade Alexander Botsan Harchenko told the Russian portal Sputnik portal on Wednesday that there is nothing new in Western efforts to find a compromise in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

He reiterated Moscow’s readiness to help resolve the Kosovo issue if Belgrade asks for its assistance. “Russia is not staying out of the situation. Russia is a member of the UN Security Council and there can be no solution without the Security council,” he said.

The ambassador said that UN SC resolution 1244 is there to serve as a guideline until a new resolution is introduced.

He said that pressure needs to be exerted on Pristina to force it to revoke the 100 percent tariffs on goods from Serbia.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a568878/Russian-Ambassador-says-nothing-new-in-Western-efforts-over-Kosovo.html

Opposition leader tells EU Ambassador Brussels blind to events in Serbia

February 12, 2020

Serbian opposition leader Dragan Djilas said in an open letter to the European Union ambassador in Belgrade that the EU is turning a blind eye to events in the country.

The letter said that it’s not the entire EU that is turning a blind eye to the situation in Serbia, “only the part of the Brussels administration that you represent is”, Djilas wrote to EU Delegation chief Sem Fabrizi, adding that an increasing number of MEPs are showing an interest in “the dictatorship” in Serbia.

According to Djilas, Fabrizi’s statement that the EU is not turning a blind eye to events in Serbia “is as true as the statement that Serbia’s European integration is a reality”. “It’s such a reality that the European Commission gave Serbia a grade of 2.38 (out of 5.0) in the implementation of conditions for accession to the Union,” he wrote adding that all the other countries of the region scored higher with the exception of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“Based on the results of that index which evaluates how state’s implement reforms in the EU integration process, North Macedonia was rewarded by the EU with 50 million Euro, Albania with 28 million while Serbia got zero Euro in line with the grade that the Vucic regime got,” Djilas wrote. He said that “it’s clear that Serbia’s European prospects have been slowed down and are in doubt”.

Djilas also recalled that Fabrizi interrupted him at a recent meeting when he spoke of teachers who lost their jobs because of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). The letter included a list of examples of things that Djilas said the EU Delegation chief should report to Brussels.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a568800/Opposition-leader-tells-EU-Ambassador-Brussels-blind-to-events-in-Serbia.html

MEPs call for special envoy for Western Balkans

February 12, 2020

Renew Europe MEPs called for the appointment of a special European Union envoy for the Western Balkans, the Beta news agency said on Wednesday.

The European Parliament group said the envoy would be accountable to both the EU High Representative Josep Borell and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Ooliver Varhelyi. The group’s document titled A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans said that the envoy would focus on the long-term problems in the region.

High Representative Josep Borell told N1 during a visit to Belgrade late in January that a special envoy should be nominated to tackle the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue on a daily basis.

Borell wrote in an opinion piece for the Project Syndicate portal that “diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action”. “If we want the Western Balkans to succeed on the path of reconciliation and reform, we need to offer a credible EU accession process delivering incremental benefits,” he wrote.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a568788/MEPs-call-for-special-envoy-for-Western-Balkans.html

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