Vucic: Serbia’s position – Kosovo will never receive UN seat (Euronews Serbia/RTS/Tanjug/RTV)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told TV Euronews Serbia that he had seen recently in Brussels Albin Kurti for the second time in his life. “He thought he could provoke and that he had the right to accuse Serbia for anything that comes to his mind. The last time we saw each other when we entered the room he began by saying that we are here for one thing and asked whether you Vucic will recognize Kosovo or not. I was silent, then he asked again and ten times so, and then I told him – never,” said Vucic. He says that receiving a seat in the UN for Kosovo doesn’t depend only from us because, he said, some other may decide otherwise in 10, 20 or 30 years, but as far as Serbia is concerned, Kosovo will never receive UN membership. He said that Serbia would not dismiss Veljko Odalovic from the helm of the Commission for Missing Persons in Kosovo and Metohija even if the US requested this, and not Pristina, because nobody has the right to condition a sovereign country this way.
Only a compromise is a solution for Kosovo and Metohija, people decide
Vucic pointed out that a rational, pragmatic approach is needed to resolve the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as readiness to talk, in order to find a compromise solution. “A pragmatic approach is needed, an open door for talks to find a solution, trust is needed, which takes time, as well as the determination of the international community to support Belgrade and Pristina in various ways to reach a solution,” Vucic said. When asked what the Kosovo myth is, Vucic said that it is a myth – if we do not see that reality changes every day and that we are not in an ideal position, as we often want to present ourselves, but yes, on the other hand there is another part of the Kosovo epic without which we can’t be, and that is the value of everything that our ancestors did. When asked if it is a myth that Serbia claims the right to Kosovo and Metohija, that no one else claims that right, Vucic said that the solution is somewhere in between. “Myth is that everything is easy and simple and that we should tell the world – go away, this is only ours and don’t need to discuss anything. But this is not easy to connect this with the reality. But it is also a myth that the Serb people do not calim any right in Kosovo and Metohija. Somewhere in between one should find a rational and compromise solution,” said Vucic. Serbia is prepared for a compromise, to discuss a compromise, but the people are the ones who will decide, said Vucic.
Asked what is the compromise, he said that even if he knew he wouldn’t say since one should reach a compromise solution by both sides conceding.
EU going through “enlargement saturation”
Vucic said late on Tuesday Serbia’s EU accession did not only depend on the country itself and added that there was “enlargement saturation” within the EU. “In the EU, there is no desire for enlargement. We will do everything – we have made progress on rule of law, we have been constructive in the dialogue with Pristina, but have we got anything? We have not. There is political saturation with enlargement in the EU,” Vucic told Euronews Serbia in an interview.
Adding that the latest European Commission report noted progress made by Serbia, Vucic said there were objections as well and that Serbia was not shunning responsibility. “I am not dodging our responsibility, we should have done a million things in rule of law more quickly,” Vucic said. He added that, however, Serbia was ready to open two clusters in the EU accession talks and that it had quickly managed to do what it had been requested from it but had not been rewarded for that in any way. Despite that, Serbia will continue to work, he said, adding that Serbia was catching up with some EU member states economically and developing much more quickly in that sense. When asked about corruption, one of the EU’s objections to Serbia, Vucic said much had been done on the issue, but that much still remained to be done. “A part of the blame undoubtedly rests with us, but not only with us, and everyone knows that,” Vucic said, adding that North Macedonia had done what it had been expected to do by changing its name and renaming motorways, airports and monuments. “So why have no chapters been opened with them?” Vucic asked, noting that narratives about Bulgaria or Croatia being against doing so were “little children’s tales.”
Mini Schengen initiative to be changed at the Skopje Summit
Vucic announced that the mini Schengen initiative, in which Serbia is with Northern Macedonia and Albania, will change its name at the summit in Skopje, which will be held on 28 and 29 July.
He adds that the three countries will continue to work with trust in each other. According to him, all those who advocated for the Balkans to the Balkan people suffered because everyone quarreled them with each other so that they could use the potentials of the Balkans. “When we understand that we are on the European path, but that we can do more at the moment, create trust, and if we manage to make three agreements by 29 July, all our capacities will be greater,” the President said, adding that this is not a substitute for European integration of any country.
Vulin blasts Citaku for attempt to steal someone else’s history (Beta)
Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Tuesday that a tweet by former Kosovo ambassador to the US Vlora Citaku, that in the battle of Kosovo in 1389 the Ottoman invaders were opposed by a Balkan army,” was an attempt to “steal another’s history and the Battle of Kosovo. “At the spot of the plight of Christian knights they are building factories and houses, they are cutting down the trees that mark the Serbian cavalry’s battlefield positions, they are launching petitions in which they call for taking down memorials to the heroes of the Battle of Kosovo, and calling the memory of the battle Serbian chauvinism. It’s not enough that they have stolen the Serbs’ homes and fields, now they want to snatch their history and memory,” Vulin said. Former US president Donald Trump‘s envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Richard Grenell, on 28 June honored “the Vidovdan heroes” in a tweet, which elicited a response from Citaku who wrote that the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 was a battle between “a Balkan army that fought against the Ottoman conquest” and added, “This battle became the foundational myth that continues to feed the Serbian nationalism since 19th century,” Grenell replied that Citaku was “offended by too much. It must be exhausting finding an outrage in everything. The people want jobs and solutions – extend a hand.”
Dacic: EP has no dilemma about EU enlargement (Tanjug)
Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday the European Parliament, despite the resolutions it had adopted and the differing opinions of MEPs, was pushing for a continued EU enlargement process and an accelerated EU integration of Serbia and the Western Balkans.
“When it comes to objections about further course of enlargement, they do not only have to do with Serbia but also with some internal issues in the EU and the EU’s readiness for further enlargement. There is no such dilemma in the EP, they support an enlargement of the EU and they have even criticized certain actions by member states and a refusal to open negotiations,” Dacic told reporters in Brussels. Following meetings with EP President David Sassoli and the chairman of the EP’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), David McAllister, and a debate with AFET members, Dacic said the EU was definitely going through “enlargement fatigue” but that the Western Balkans was also experiencing fatigue from accession and new accession requirements and timeframes. “EU accession remains our strategic goal and we will do everything that is up to us, and the EU and its member states are the ones to make a final decision on that,” Dacic said.
Turkovic addresses UN SC, says it is not yet time to close OHR (FTV)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic attended Wednesday’s session of the UN Security Council (UN SC) in New York at which she spoke about the problems in B&H. The focus of the session of the UN SC was the appointment of Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative (HR). Turkovic stressed that it is not yet time to close the OHR. Turkovic noted that Russia is against Schmidt’s arrival in B&H, but that all other members of the Council support it. In her address to UN SC, Turkovic stated that political situation in B&H, especially in last six months, illustrates the necessity and importance for the OHR to complete their job. The Minister reminded that the new High Representative is scheduled to take over the office in August, calling on the UN SC members to continue to contribute and support the work of the HR. Russian representative Vassily Nebenzia stated that Turkovic is not even authorized to address the UN SC and has no support of all peoples in B&H. At the beginning of the session Nebenzia opposed Schmidt’s appointment, saying that he was not appointed in a legal manner and the RS opposes this. “We are always ready to discuss finding of the solution, but this is an attempt to appoint a candidate for the HR without support of UN Security Council and by one side in B&H, which means he would have no legitimacy. This will destroy all the progress that was achieved in quarter of century, is this what we want,” said Nebenzia. Deputy US Ambassador to UN Richard Mills said that this appointment is a done deal and stressed that Schmidt was appointed by the PIC and this is sufficient. He added that only Russia opposed his appointment and PIC is not obliged to adopt decisions unanimously. “B&H is peaceful at the moment, but stability cannot be taken for granted. We have to strengthen economy. Role of the HR has a key role. He is important for stability,” said Mills. French representative said that certain parties call for separation, which presents violation of Dayton Agreement. In a statement for FTV, Turkovic commented on Russia’s opposition, as well as B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik‘s attempt to prevent her address at the UN SC’s session in New York, with an explanation that she does not have permission of the B&H Presidency. “Everyone gives their full support to the new High Representative, except two countries, that is, one and a half countries, sort to speak. Russia’s statement is the one that is against and I hope that Russia will change its position in regard to the High Representative… China had one objection, a certain objection. However, everyone has the right to present their own positions,” Turkovic said. Turkovic noted that she believes that it would be much smarter for Dodik to waste energy on strengthening of B&H than on obstructions he is trying to do in continuity. Turkovic pointed out that what Dodik tried to do did not harm her nor stopped her from addressing the UN SC. “I believe that with such a way, he only inflicted damage on himself”, Turkovic underlined.
Ruge: Schmidt’s appointment is opportunity to solve some things in B&H, but it can also lead to new problems (BN TV)
The UN Security Council discussed the situation in B&H regarding the resignation of the High Representative to B&H Valentin Inzko and the latest decision by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) about the appointment of the new High Representative to B&H. Christian Schmidt‘s appointment is an opportunity to solve some things in B&H, but it can also lead to new problems, according to the senior advisor to the European Council on Foreign Affairs, based in Berlin, Majda Ruge. Ruge was quoted as saying: “Russia did not agree with the PIC’s decision on the nomination and very clearly opposes it. As we know, Russia has a vote every year on the decision to extend EUFOR’s mandate in B&H and they could block it in the UN Security Council. Whether that risk is worth it depends on what Schmidt does and what the German government decides to do to support him in those efforts. There is a possibility that there will be no changes, that everything will continue as before”.
Palmer and EU representatives to meet with B&H political officials this weekend (N1)
The US Embassy to B&H has confirmed that US Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer will arrive in B&H this week. N1 reports that Palmer and European Union (EU) representatives will meet with B&H political officials to discuss important issues for the future of B&H and B&H Election Law is also expected to be discussed. Commenting on this, SDA leader Bakir Izebegovic said: “Representatives of the US and the EU will come. I will not discuss names nor the time, but it will be this weekend. The focus will be, among others, on discussion about potential amendments to the B&H Election Law’’. N1 reminds that Izetbegovic recently wrote to HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic that he will no longer negotiate at the level of political parties. The reporter wonders if the international community representatives can reconcile positions. Izetbegovic said: “I think with a strong support of the international community, that would encourage Mr. Covic not to only demand something, but also to give something, we have a chance”. N1 reports that Covic expects the work related to the B&H Election Law to be finalized during the international community officials’ visit. “I think we will already on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with the highest representatives of international institutions that will arrive in B&H, finalize that work. And then it remains to get adequate majority at the parliament. For Election Law that is not an issue, i.e. simple majority. However, some minor changes will probably need to be made for the purpose of the Election Law in the Constitution. We need the two-third majority for that and I believe will find sufficient support for it,” said Covic for the media on Monday. N1 reminds that the B&H Presidency has earlier confirmed that Palmer will meet with the B&H Presidency members. Commenting on this, former B&H Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija reminded of the video meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell when due to the discussion among the B&H Presidency members one of the members left the meeting (He referred to information that Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic left the meeting), noting “I do not know how we can expect anyone to take us seriously”.
Izetbegovic urges EU leaders to pay special attention to granting EU candidate status to B&H (N1)
At the meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) with Speakers of the Western Balkans parliaments, speaker of the B&H House of Peoples (HoP) Bakir Izetbegovic urged the EU leaders to pay special attention to granting the EU candidate status to B&H. Commenting on this, Izetbegovic said it was his key requirement at the AFEP meeting. “Of course, there is some lassitude in regards to B&H, and of course they cannot leave B&H, neither can we, politicians in B&H, who feel lassitude like we are pushing Sisyphus rock. But we cannot leave B&H. And B&H is not only ours, it does not belong only to us. It is a multiethnic community that needs to be renewed. We cannot allow the situation in B&H to turn to collapse. The stability and peace must be preserved, as well as B&H. This is how they see it in Brussels as well,” said Izetbegovic. FTV reported that heads of parliaments of countries of the Western Balkans held individual meetings with the EU officials in Brussels on Tuesday. On behalf of B&H, Izetbegovic met with Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service Angelina Eichhorst, leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) Donald Tusk and Special Rapporteur for B&H in the European Parliament (EP) Paulo Rangel.
Representatives of opposition parties from RS define platform on key program principles of joint action for 2022 general elections (Nova BH)
Delegations of SDS, PDP and DNS met in Banja Luka on Tuesday to discuss joint participation in general elections in 2022. They harmonized a stance on joint participation in abovementioned elections and adopted a platform on joint principles of acting of opposition in general elections 2022. Reporter noted that the adopted platform contains six principles, including a combat against crime and corruption, rule of law, better education and improvement the status of pensioners. However, they failed to reach agreement on joint candidates for posts of the Republika Srpska (RS) President and member of B&H Presidency from the RS. Nova BH learns that names of joint candidates for these posts might be presented in October. Leader of PDP Branislav Borenovic stated that talks on joint candidates for crucial posts will be resumed. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic stressed that goal is to work on enlargement of this coalition in the future. Reporter noted that although invited, RS MP Nebojsa Vukanovic did not attend abovementioned meeting. However, he delivered his proposals concerning the document on joint participation in elections. In a statement for Nova BH, Vukanovic underlined that opposition parties that are planning to jointly participate in elections require mutual respect and compromise on key issues. Vukanovic went on to saying that by failing to attend abovementioned meeting he conveyed a message that no one among political partners in this political bloc should be passing unilateral decisions and expecting others to accept them.
Vucic decorates Dodik with Medal of Republic of Serbia; Reactions (RTRS/Hayat/Dnevni list)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic presented on Tuesday the Order of the Republic of Serbia, the country’s highest recognition, to Serb member and Chairperson of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik in Belgrade. At the ceremony, Vucic awarded a number of most deserving persons in culture, politics and sports. On the occasion, Vucic said: “I am proud to stand before those who have done a lot for the unity of Serb people, reputation of the country and its citizens and overall society”. Addressing the present, Dodik said he will carry the award “with the same pride and honor as Serbia is. I see it as recognition to all my associates and people of the RS who persistently elected me. What I have done, together with people here and President Vucic to defend and build both the RS and Serbia in the best possible way.” After the ceremony, Dodik said for the media everything he had done was in the interest of Serb people and the award is “a recognition for what I have done, and it could not have come from a better place, there is not place where I would feel it the way I feel it now”. SDA issued a statement: “Vucic cannot build good relations with Bosniaks by rewarding a denier of B&H”. While, SDP Vice President (VP) Denis Becirovic stated that awarding the highest medal of Serbia to “the most dangerous political extremist in South-East Europe” clearly reveals Vucic’s real policy. Becirovic wonders what Dodik did to deserve the medal, namely whether it is because he is on the US’ ‘black list’, because he conducts pro-Russian policy, glorifies convicted war criminals, denies court verdicts, does not respect the Constitution of B&H and the Dayton agreement and because he advocates the Greater Serbia Project. This triggered Becirovic to call on the international community “to finally wake up” and realize that Vucic’s policy is the biggest and dangerous source of crises and instability in South-East Europe, and that the essential problem in B&H and in other countries in the region lies in Vucic’s Greater Serbia project, which he has never renounced
Grlic Radman: It is important to implement key reforms in B&H before 2022 General Elections (Dnevni list)
Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman, who attended a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Visegrad Group and the Western Balkans countries (in Poznan on Monday) and said that Croatia is passing on its experiences and knowledge gained during the EU accession process onto the Western Balkans countries. Grlic Radman said Croatia believes the transfer of knowledge and experiences is of crucial importance, adding that it is important to implement key reforms in B&H before the 2022 General Elections.
Krivokapic: Information about my arrest is absolutely factual (CdM)
Following the conference organized by the Centre for Civic Education, dedicated to the EU negotiations that started nine years ago, Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic told the press that the information about his alleged arrest because of the fundamental agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC, was absolutely reliable. He also said he respected the country’s legal system and would respond to the special state prosecutor’s call, if he invited him. In an introductory address at the conference ‘Nine years of Montenegrin negotiations with the EU’, it was noted that the European idea in Montenegro seems to be the only one that has a constructive potential to integrate the largest part of citizens and make the society more cohesive. If everybody contributes to this goal, the country is likely to enter the EU in 2024. According to the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Montenegro may enter the EU in 2024 but “only if everybody works hard and figures out that it’s the only path in which everybody provides their own contribution”. He recalls that Montenegro for now doesn’t have a functional EU mission nor the man who’s supposed to present visible outcomes in Brussels.
Montenegro needs political stability (RTCG)
Montenegro is the best positioned country to take decisive steps in the coming months and years to meet the obligations of the European perspective, said the co-chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Stabilization and Association with Montenegro (POSP) Vladimir Bilcik.
After meeting with Montenegrin parliament speaker Aleksa Becic, Bilcik said that the Summit of Regional Heads of Parliament was “a successful event that, despite difficult circumstances due to the pandemic, sent a signal that the EU and the European Parliament are committed to enlargement and ties with the Western Balkans.” “We openly discussed the political situation in the country and the reforms that must be implemented in the area of the rule of law and electoral reforms. Montenegro needs political stability and strategic cooperation of all political forces that are in favor of the European perspective, and I hope that these steps will be taken” he said. He emphasizes that challenges can be solved with political will. “Parliament speaker Becic is a pillar of stability in the ruling majority and I hope to cooperate with him in the coming weeks and months, because it is important not only to send beautiful pictures and sign documents, but also to have results in cooperation,” Bilcik emphasizes.
Mickoski: Macedonia has been stuck in EU waiting room for too long (Republika)
VMRO-DPMNE leader, Hristijan Mickoski held several meetings at the political assembly of the European People’s Party. He informed on social media about the meetings with David McAllister, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and with Paulo Rangel, Vice President of the European People’s Party group and MEP from Portugal.
It all ended with an official meeting with the President of the European People’s Party, Mr. Donald Tusk. We talked about Bulgaria’s veto and the injustice inflicted on the Macedonian people, nation and the Macedonian state, because after so many years, after so many successful reports for more than fifteen years we are still in the waiting room and victims of unprincipled demands by individual member states of the European Union, Mickoski said. Mickoski said that he spoke and practically asked the interlocutors to help Macedonia and the Macedonian people get what they deserve, and that is to finally start EU accession negotiations. Macedonia and the Macedonian people have friends here in Brussels and they will stand behind the interests of our homeland, our people and I already expect that at the next EU Summit at the end of this year, somewhere in December our eastern neighbor to finally come to its senses, after a new government is formed, the presidential elections in Bulgaria will also be over, they will be able to withdraw the veto, behave in a European way and Macedonia to finally start EU negotiations, Mickoski said.
Crvenkovski: Macedonia hasn’t been able to make a step forward on EU path for 12 years (Republika)
Branko Crvenkovski, the former president of Macedonia, spoke at Monday’s forum on the Western Balkans, held in Sarajevo. He reminded that every country in the Western Balkans has set a strategic goal – membership in the European Union. Speaking about Macedonia’s experience on the EU path, Crvenkovski pointed out that the country has not been able to make a single step forward for 12 years and reminded of the demands of Greece, France and Bulgaria, which, as he said, have nothing to do with the criteria prescribed by the European Commission needed to start negotiations. He recalled that the country had even changed its name, but said the process of integrating the Western Balkan countries into the EU was “slow, not to say stalled”. Therefore, he wonders what are the intentions of European countries and pointed out that some countries block the accession of new members. What if we are forced, not of our own free will, to look for alternatives. Not to be misunderstood, I do not see either the East or the Far East as an alternative, Crvenkovski said, explaining that countries in the region should “Europeanize with their own capacities”.
Zaev promised EU, and ended up with Mini Schengen; Reaction (Republika)
The regional cooperation of the Balkan countries has always been, is and will be welcomed by VMRO-DPMNE, but, according to the party, it is not even close to what PM Zoran Zaev and SDSM promised to the citizens. EU membership and the extended family of European nations are the real future of Macedonia, which has no alternative. Zoran Zaev and SDSM came to power in 2016 with exactly these promises and for 4 years they have been fooling the public with the same phrases, without making substantial changes and reforms, said VMRO-DPMNE on Tuesday. The Mini Schengen alternative, says VMRO-DPMNE, is just a pale attempt by Zaev to present it as a kind of success of his policy, which experienced a fiasco both internationally and domestically. The mini Schengen initiative, must not remain our future, which will close the European path, the party added.
Rama, Vucic and Zaev with a joint statement after the Brussels decision on Albania and North Macedonia (Radio Tirana)
Prime Minister Edi Rama, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev have issued a joint statement after the online meeting. The meeting and the statement come a few days after no agreement was reached in Brussels on the negotiating frameworks for Albania and North Macedonia to hold the First Intergovernmental Conference with these two candidate countries. “The repeated failure of the EU to fulfill its promises and the inability to move forward with the opening of the first intergovernmental conferences with Albania and North Macedonia is against the European will of our countries and equally against the interests of the EU itself,” says the joint statement. Thus, in the conditions when the integration process is facing obstacles, the leaders of the three countries addressed this joint statement with a request to the EU, “together with the United States, to take a step forward with us and to support us, we and our colleagues throughout the region.” “In light of the difficulties caused by delays in the enlargement process, we believe we can still identify new avenues and sectors of cooperation and financial instruments, as well as strengthen existing ones, in order to increase our contribution to Europe, relations with the EU and gradually integrate the region into the European Single Market. So today we decided to ask the European Union, together with the United States, to take a step forward with us and support us and our colleagues throughout the region. We aim to develop fast-track, investment-driven projects aimed at preserving the environment and increasing the large-scale use of renewable resources. This would be part of the implementation of the EU Economic and Investment Plan as well as the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. Our countries have great potential for sustainable growth and development in this sector. We also seek concrete support to identify those projects that, on a large scale, can turn our region into a renewable energy source, for the benefit of our citizens as well as the green future of the EU. We hope to be able to report progress on concrete projects by the autumn EU Summit with the Western Balkans,” the statement said.