Director of the Program on Transparency Vladimir Goati stated in a press conference that there is only limited progress concerning corruption in Serbia. He likened the process of transparency in Serbia to Erich Maria Remarque’s book Im Westen Nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Northern Front) stating that there is much talk on the subject while no objectives are reached. Goati stressed that the gulf between the planning of ambitious goals and the enactment thereof posed the toughest to overcome in fighting corruption prior to Serbia’s accession to the EU.
“Goati: Nema većeg napretka u borbi protiv koupcije”. Ekonom East Group. accessed September 19, 2011. emg.rs/vesti/srbija/164257.html
Serbia and Kosovo
Early last week, Serbians have reinforced their roadblocks having elevated some up to five meters while cementing others thereby making the north south passage between Kosovo and Serbia nearly impossible. Big vehicles such as buses are unable to pass while Serbs use the streets they have under their control. The situation in Northern Kosovo remained relatively quiet except for Albanian provocation towards the Serbs on the barricades. According to a Beta correspondent, audible “burts” were directed from Košutovo toward the barricades while Koha Ditore, the Kosova newspaper, affirmed the relative quiet adding that due to the tense situation, additional regional as well as international forces were positioned in Northern Kosovo. Koha Ditore confirmed the “shooting” incident stating that it had nothing to do with the current situation in Northern Kosovo adding that the reinforcement of Serb roadblocks in Rudare was made possible with the aid of Zvonko Vaselinović, a member of the organized crime.
Regarding the possible deployment of Kosovar border control on the Jarinje and Brnjak crossing, Secretary of State for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanović stated that Serbs felt as if Kosovo was divided into two. He criticized Serbs who reside in Northern Kosovo of passivity adding that their future too is uncertain should Southern Kosovo “fall”.
Meanwhile, the Pristina newspaper Zëri quoted an unanimous foreign source as having stated that it would be best to put Northern Kosovo under international administration so as to avoid violence and conflict. A quick solution to the current situation in Northern Kosovo was not to be expected quoted Zëri further. While Serbia as well as Kosovo seem to agree on the presence of international troops, they disagree as to their preference. Kosovo prefers EU presence while Serbia favors the UN. All circumstances that unravel on Kosovo should be subject to the UN, said Tadić following a meeting with NATO’s General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Serbia will not, nor will it in the future acknowledge Kosovo’s independence. During a meeting with the EU’s High Representative Kathrin Ashton, Tadić asserted that Serbia will not abandon its principles but that it nevertheless seeks to solve the existing predicaments with the Albanian population.
“Tadić: Beograd ostaje privržen dijalogu”. Politika Online. accessed September 25, 2011. www.politika.rs/rubrike/Politika/Tadic-Beograd-ostaje-privržen-dijalogu.lt.html
“Zëri: Sever Kosova možda pod međunarodnom upravom”. Ekonom East Group. accessed September 20, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/164189.html
“Albanci nervozni zbog barikada, na Kosovo ušlo 50 kamiona srpske robe”. Ekonom East Group. accessed September 18, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/164189.html
Serbia and the EU
Vice President of Serbia’s Progressive Party (SNS) Aleksandar Vučić stated that Serbia ought to go forward with regard to its EU integration plans regardless of the previous, and ongoing, incidents in Kosovo. However, he assured that Serbia will continue to protect its territorial sovereignty whereas he laid blame on Albanian authorities as well as EULEX stating that their actions were illegal. Vučić also blamed President Tadić, specifically his inaction whereby he preferred to attend Novak Đoković’s tennis match while Serb citizens erected barricades. Vučić further stated that Tadić and the Democratic Party (DS) were allegedly falling out of favor with Serb citizens. The majority of Serb citizens of Kosovo no longer wish to attend meetings with the head of Belgrade’s Negotiation Team Borislav Stefanović and the Minister for KiM Goran Bogdanović said the SNS politician to proof his point adding that the current government's action are deceiving the population.
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić meanwhile stated upon a meeting with European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle that Serbia has made a great step forward regarding Serbias’ EU candidacy. Notable progress was made in key areas including reforms of the judiciary and the enactment of laws on restitution and public property. However, the commencement date of negotiation will be subject to further efforts on the Serbian side and is dependent on Serbia’s actions regarding Kosovo. Further points of debate will be policies regarding the telecommunications as well as energy sectors. Đeli concluded, however, that Serbia fulfilled most of the conditions as of yet and he believed in a positive outcome regarding the Commissions decisions regarding Serbia’s EU candidacy on the 12th of October of this year. In addition, there have been to forthright statements that Serbia would lose its EU candidacy were the current status quo on Kosovo to prevail.
“Stefanović: O prelazima u Briselu”. B92. accessed September 25, 2011. www.B92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2011&mm=09&dd=25&nav_category=640&nav_id=544515
“Uticaj na Brnjaka i Jarinja na stav Evropske komisije”. Polikika Online. accessed September 25, 2011. www.politika.rs/rubrike/Politika/Uticaj-Brnjaka-i-Jarinja-na-stav-Evropske-komisije.lt.html
“Vučić: Srbiji potreban napredak i pored priblizavanje EU”. Ekonom East Group. accessed September 18, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/164201.html
“File: Postigla značajne resultate”. Ekonom East Group. accessed September 19, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/rs/vesti/srbija/164192.html
Serbia and NATO
Regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) plan to set up a U.S. missile defense shield on the Romanian air base Deveselu, which caused Russia’s pronouncement to take reciprocal measures by which it seeks to establish bases aiming at NATO’s missiles, professor for security and expert for geopolitics Miša Mišović stated that “we live in an era of a new Cold War”. Mišović explains that NATO’s reasoning includes the desire to exhaust Russia economically. The construction of missile defense systems, for instance, is expensive, yet, Russia is compelled to answer to NATO’s actions given NATO’s deployment of missiles close Russia’s border. As for Belgrade, the employment of the missile defense systems is less than 200 km away from its border and is affecting the state greatly as it increases the sensitivity of Serbia. The problem, says Mišović, is that Serbia’s Air Force has become obsolete due to old age. The deployment of missiles is a provocation to all of South-Eastern European and Balkan states because of the great financial costs should individual states seeks to maintain the necessary level of security. Serbia, says the professor, has two choices; Belgrade can increase its defense and security budged thereby impoverishing the state further, or not invest in defense and security at all. Milan Mijalkovski, expert in security and intelligence issues, said that the Alliance is not likely to push Serbian membership. The reason as to NATO’s decision is to deploy psychological and economical pressure on Russia, and not nuclear warfare. However, says Mijalkovski, one who possesses power is always tempted to use it and in this case, Serbia is likely to become collateral damage. He added that the problem is not solely due to the Deveselu missiles, but also because of U.S. bases in Kosovo. In a worst case scenario, however, not only Serbia, but all of South-Eastern Europe would be at risk due to the Kozloduy nuclear power plant that is located in Bulgaria.
“Štit NATO je pretnja i za Srbiju”. B92. accessed September 24, 2011.www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2011&mm=09&dd=24&nav_category=11&nav_id-544409