In an article about the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, the Politico website says that Vučić appears to have been drawing lessons from German history lately, adding that he spoke in an interview for the portal about how modern Germany came to terms with the loss of territory it used to consider its own, and instead focused on its economic rise and promoting its culture and values.
“I would like us to be smart enough and to know that it’s not always the territorial issue that’s the most important. It’s important, no doubt. But it cannot be more important … than the values, than the virtue, than the language and the culture,” he said.
Politico recalled criticism from both in Serbia and abroad that the Serbian president is too dominant and that the country is backsliding on democracy, freedom and the rule of law. “
Vučić dismissed that criticism as bureaucratic reports. He described the recent vote as “the fairest elections we have ever had”, claiming that his success was down to sound management of the economy, big infrastructure projects and the weakness of his political opponents.
The portal quoted him as saying that he would go to Washington to discuss Kosovo if invited. “Whenever they invite me, how can one small guy from the Balkans refuse to speak to someone from the White House?” He also said that the EU-sponsored talks should resume despite the war crimes charges filed against Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi. On borders, Vučić said, “I’m ready to discuss every single issue, ready to discuss all the proposals that might come from anyone.” But he also stressed that “it cannot be the case that we lose everything and they gain everything.” Vučić said the EU would have to offer a guarantee of membership before Serbia signs off on a peace deal: “If you think that Serbs will accept to recognize Kosovo independence to get maybe your membership in the future, you are wrong.”
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Another point of friction with the EU is foreign policy. Not only because of Serbia’s ties to Russia but also due to Vučić’s close cooperation with China, the portal said citing the expressions of gratitude by Vučić for Chinese shipments of medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic which drew a reaction from the EU in the form of a statement from the May online summit which said that “the fact that the EU’s support and cooperation in regard to the coronavirus pandemic go far beyond what any other partner has provided to the region deserves public acknowledgement.”
”Vučić stood by his comments: “Did I lie? Did I say something that you didn’t hear even from in a different way, from Ursula [von der Leyen, the European Commission president], from Italians, from France, from Spanish? But it was easy to find a scapegoat.” However, he said he also acknowledged “the biggest humanitarian aid we got is from the European Union, the biggest external trade we have is with the European Union, there are no doubts about it.”
He said alignment with EU foreign policy would eventually happen, but not now. “We will do it but that chapter has not been opened yet,” Vučić said.
This post is also available in: Italiano