BBC: Putin’s visit to Serbia as warning sign to EU

Russian President is sending a warning signal to the EU about the Balkans, while Serbia is preparing a lavish welcome to him – writes the BBC, ahead of Putin’s visit to Serbia.

“Putin has arrived in Serbia at the head of a powerful delegation, aiming to cement ties with a country seeking to join the EU. As well as a red-carpet welcome, President Aleksandar Vucic gave him a puppy while Mr Putin awarded his counterpart a Russian state honour. Some 7,000 police have been deployed for the brief visit, and crowds have gathered in Belgrade ahead of a parade. Mr Vucic said 30,000 people have already turned out to greet Mr Putin. The parade is set to take place on Thursday evening when the Russian leader visits the Church of St Sava, the biggest Orthodox church in Serbia”, the BBC reports.

The article raises the question of why Serbia continues to demonstrate its friendship with Russia if it is so determined to join the EU and adds that Serbia playing up its ties with Moscow appeals to the conservative-nationalist support to President Vucic and the SNS.

“It emphasises the Slavic, Orthodox Christian character of the country even as Serbia’s direction of travel is westward. It also helps Mr Vucic to argue that policies which bring Serbia closer to EU membership – such as normalising relations with Kosovo – are not imposed by Brussels, but rational choices to improve the lives of the country’s people”, the article says.

The BBC adds that playing host to Russia’s president is a reminder to the EU not to take Serbia’s loyalty for granted – and to stick to its accession target of 2025.

“Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin will doubtless enjoy the discomfort of Western diplomats observing the prime candidate for EU membership rolling out the red carpet for him”, the BBC concludes.

(Nedeljnik, BBC, 17.01.2019)

http://www.nedeljnik.rs/nedeljnik/portalnews/bbc-putinov-dolazak-u-srbiju-je-opomena-za-eu/

 

 

 

 

This post is also available in: Italiano

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