Daniel Serwer, a Johns Hopkins University professor and an expert on Balkan politics, says that the mention of Serbia’s three ministers and a close friend of President Aleksandar Vucic in the Pandora Papers demonstrated how big of a problem is corruption in the country, just like in other Balkans countries.
In an interview with N1, he said some parts of the population were unhappy with corruption in all those countries.
„Why did Albin Kurti become Prime Minister of Kosovo? The public felt the corruption was out of control and that he would be able to fix it. As far as Serbia is concerned, I think it’s clear – the current elite, in power for some time already, steals, and I have nothing against that the people realise that and take it into account when going to the polls,“ Serwer said.
Commenting on a wave of the rightist defeats in Europe and what that can mean for Vucic, the professor said it was clear the ethnic nationalism was withdrawing in the world and that the US former President Donald Trump’s ouster was an important step. However, he said, that did not mean Vucic would lose the next elections since he had great support in Serbia.
Serwer said Vucic managed to implement illegal repression over the opposition, that he controlled media and courts in the country. According to the professor, that meant Vucic would be most likely re-elected unless a strong leader from the ranks of liberal democrats appeared.
Speaking about the recent European Union – Western Balkans Summit, Serwer said it left doors open to enlargement. But, it was too early to talk about dates since the candidate countries would have to meet rigorous conditions.
Commenting on Serbia’s chances of joining the EU, he said it was clear that Belgrade was not looking at both East and East.
„Vucic clearly said he would not solve Kosovo’s issue before the next years’ elections, and probably not during the next mandate if elected. So, he is not looking at both sides anymore, but at one directed to Russia and China,“ Serwer said.
He added that Serbia’s authorities reintroduced autocracy at home and focused its foreign policy on the East.
„The same goes for some other Western Balkans countries, but to a certain extent for Montenegro, whose Government likes Russians. Even the previous regime had huge investments from China, like a motorway that is under construction,“ Serwer said.
(Danas, N1, 12.10.2021)
Photo credits: “FoNet/Aleksandar-Levajković”
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