The Economist Radio: Brnabic talks about EU, Tribunal, Kosovo, media

In an interview for The Economist Radio, Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic said that Serbia would try to find a long-lasting solution for the Kosovo-Metohija issue. “What we are trying to do now is to find a long-lasting solution, not to leave a frozen conflict for the generations that are coming,” she told the radio.

When asked whether she would ever use the term “independent Kosovo”, the PM said that she would not because that would open a whole new Pandora’s box.

As for the EU membership, Brnabic said that that was an important goal for Serbia which was promoted not because of the financial benefits but rather for the EU’s value system. “That’s the reason why we want to be in the EU”, she added.

When the interviewer mentioned that the EU membership implied a certain attitude towards open issues like the relations between Russia and Ukraine, Brnabic said: “We openly support Ukraine, but we also have close ties to Moscow too – traditional, religious, energy and economic ties – which is why Moscow is as important to us as the EU. This is something that both Putin and official Moscow are aware of”.

When asked to comment on the crimes committed in Srebrenica, Brnabic said that that was a horrendous crime which made her feel very bad, but she would not classify it as genocide.

“I don’t think it was genocide. It was a terrible, terrible crime and I find it hard to talk about it. I feel so bad about it and I am ashamed of it because it was committed in the name of Serbs. This crime created an image of Serbs that should have never existed, an image that portrays Serbs as conservative, homophobic people. Serbs are not like that. They are open minded, kind, welcoming people that appreciate people who are good regardless of their religious or other distinction”, Brnabic explained.

As for Aleksandar Vucic, Brnabic said that he was the one pushing all the truly liberal things in Serbia, noting that Vucic’s decision to nominate her as PM had been a brave political move.

“I haven’t ever met anyone who is working so hard on himself to actually understand the mistakes he has made, the mistakes he is making today, (to) learn and improve himself, and I think it is a really, really truly admirable characteristic that I think more politicians, in general, in the Balkans need to have,” she said in an interview with The Economist Radio.

“I don’t have a strong political party to back me up. I have his (Vucic’s) support in the Parliament. I am not a party member so I find it easier to be more liberal. On the other hand, he has been the one to push true all truly liberal things in Serbia”, Brnabic added.

In regard to media freedom in Serbia, the Prime Minister said that she was not aware of any pressures being exerted on the Serbian media, and added that Serbia had over 1,600 media outlets which was an unsustainable number.

“I have never seen a government that was more open than this one in terms of inviting all media to attend press conferences and to reply to any questions they might have”, Brnabic underlined.

When asked if she would mention the issue of LGBT rights if she met with Vladimir Putin goes, the Prime Minister said that she would think about that when the meeting takes place.

(RTS, Tanjug, 09.01.2018)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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