After eight months of delay caused by problems at home, French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Belgrade on Monday for a two-day official visit expected to patch up recent disagreements between Serbia and France, otherwise traditional friends, N1 reported.
Serbian capital is decorated with French and Serbian flags along the route President Macron is going to pass, while the main city’s Kalemegdan Park will welcome the French President with inscriptions in French language.
There, next to the Gratitude to France monument, the two presidents are scheduled to address people. Belgrade expects from one of the main leaders within the European Union to detail his resentment toward the bloc’s enlargement before the internal EU problems are settled, and to put more pressure on Pristina to lift or suspend the 100 percent tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to the Paris Figaro daily, Macron’s visit, the first of a French head of state since 2001 and Jacques Chirac, is a renewal of “the distanced links.” The paper has asked whether the French head of state will restore relations with “a different Serbia” in which people protest demanding freedom and condemn nepotism?
BETA news agency Brussels correspondent Dragan Blagojevic told TV N1 morning program he expected President Macron to reiterate that the EU should first stabilize itself to be ready for new members.
Earlier Serbian media speculated that Macron’s visit to Belgrade, the only city he will visit in the region is his attempt to recover the importance Paris will have in the Western Balkans. He is also widely seen as a successor to the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the most influential politician in the EU.
As a sign of great respect, the city authorities announced that one Belgrade’s street would be named after the French WWI Général Pierron de Mondésir, who led the evacuation of the exhausted Serbian army from the banks of Albania to the Greek island of Corfu. He sent over 4,000 Serbian children to medical treatment, recovery and education in France and some 1,000 young men to study at the Sorbonne University, TV N1 reported.
Besides politics and economy during Macron’s visit, the Euronews and HD-WIN media group owned by the public Telekom Serbia company will launch Euronews Serbia project, a news channel and digital platform in Serbian language. Euronews broadcasts across 160 countries, reaching almost 400 million households and 135 million people monthly, according to Global Web Index.