Tag Archives: Serbia

NATO regrets Kosovo “ill-timed” army formation

Today, the Institutions in Kosovo have announced the adoption of the three laws initiating the process of transition of the Kosovo Security Force“-  Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO  said in an issued statement.

“I regret that this decision was made despite the concerns expressed by NATO. While the transition of the Kosovo Security Force is in principle a matter for Kosovo to decide, we have made clear that this move  is ill-timed. 

“NATO supports the development of the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate. With the change of mandate, the North Atlantic Council will now have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement with the Kosovo Security Force.

“NATO remains committed through KFOR to a safe and secure environment in Kosovo and to stability in the wider Western Balkans.

“All sides must ensure that today’s decision will not further increase tensions in the region. All responsible political actors in the region need to focus on progress with reforms, and on dialogue. I reiterate my call on both Pristina and Belgrade to remain calm and refrain from any statements or actions which may lead to escalation. NATO continues to support the EU-sponsored dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina as the only lasting political solution for the region.” – the statement concludes.

Migrants siege at Croatia border

Croatian police clarified the situation blaming circulation of false information that the authorities  would open its borders letting  in hundreds of illegal migrants and refugees gathering at crossings in Serbia and Bosnia, hoping to enter the EU via Croatia.

Some 400+ migrants gathered this week on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border with Croatia, with a similar number accumulating on Serbian  border with Croatia, local media reported.

Croatian police continues to announce that misinformation had been spread that the EU state would open its borders, however it has no effect on waiting crowds.

Among the migrant populations on the territory of Bosnia and Serbia, false information is spreading that the Republic of Croatia will allow their entry into its territory as well as further passage to the countries of Western Europe,” a police statement said.

Local police and members of Bosnia’s border units were deployed to the Maljevac border crossing in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, where hundreds illegal migrants attempted to enter Croatia. At present no major incidents or escalation reported, but migrants continue to camp, awaiting for their chance, and small groups have already  attempted to break through this morning.

There is a general public concern about the current developments in view of accumulating crowds of illegal migrants. An opinion prevails that without the EU assistance Croatian border control units will not be able to respond to the scale of the challenge.

AMENDED:

Sofia Summit: EU ‘waiting room ticket’ for Western Balkans

Aleksandar Mitić, OPINION

Eighteen years ago, as AFP correspondent, I attended the first EU-Western Balkans Summit, held in Zagreb in 2000. Enthusiasm and talk of fast entry into the EU dominated after the era of conflict in the 1990s. Almost two decades later, however, we are still talking about “European perspectives”, while EU investment in the region and its infrastructure is rather low, political conditionality has been toughened and enlargement fatigue in Western European countries has grown dramatically.

The official position of the European Commission is that the proposal for the new EU budget 2021-2027 does not include funds for new EU members, but that it includes an increase for the candidate states in the form of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Although the European Commission has mechanisms to make amendments to the budget in case a country becomes an EU member in the meantime, the political message is quite clear: new EU memberships in the following period are quite unlikely. It means that the EU expects candidate states to stay longer in the “waiting room” – which is a perfect status from the point of view of EU and its member countries: the funds they have to give for candidate states are much smaller than if these countries become EU member states, while at the same time, the candidate states are much more vulnerable to EU political conditionality. In other terms, for the EU, having countries for a long period of time in pre-accession rather than becoming members means using a “powerful stick” with a “cheap carrot”. This is particularly important for policy towards countries such as Serbia or Turkey, which path into the EU is made extremely difficult by political conditionality.

The European Commission presented in February its “Enlargement Strategy”, which should be the backbone of the Summit in Sofia. Yet, this document is extremely weak and bland. It is also a document of the European Commission only, since the EU member states have been divided over it and have not given their approval. The EU is extremely divided over enlargement in general. Germany, France, the Netherlands are all against giving promises for the 2025 membership. Those most welcoming are countries of Eastern Europe, which still have openness for new members due to their own recent membership. But, it is clear that with German and French opposition, 2025 looks like a mirage.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently said he was against further enlargement before further strengthening of the EU core and of the current structures. He thus “killed” the EU enlargement strategy, at least its 2025 prospects.

Furthermore, when we look at the European Commission document itself, it is, for example for Serbia, an extremely negative document. Yes, it gives the possibility of the 2025 date, but at what cost? The document is tougher on Serbia than previous EU positions as it asks Serbia for an urgent signing of the legally-binding agreement with Kosovo Albanian separatists which would allow for an “independent Kosovo” to become an UN member. It is also calling for fast harmonization of Serbia’s foreign policy with the EU, which means imposing sanctions on Russia, something that Belgrade has said it would never do.

Dr.Aleksandar Mitić, President of the Center for Strategic Alternatives, Belgrade

#Karadzic appeals to overturn genocide convictions

The former leader of Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic asked UN judges on Monday (23/04/2018) to overturn his genocide conviction, accusing prosecutors of unfairly blackening his name and twisting his words at his trial.

Karadzic was convicted two years ago incriminated the worst atrocities committed during the war, while the former Yugoslavia broke apart in the 1990s, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed.

Karadzic is asking judges to oversee his appeal to overturn the 40-year jail sentence imposed and order start a new trial.

Fleckenstein: EU Western Balkans new strategy will deliver

German MEP Knut Fleckenstein  firmly believes the EU new strategy towards the Western Balkans will work and deliver for both the EU27 bloc and the countries of the region, without compromising criteria, but completing the reform package with a faisible pace. Although admitting the existing problems with the rule of law and fundamental rights, corruption and organised crime, Fleckenstein refers to successful experiences of the EU enlargement  like Baltic states to underline the EU project of Western Balkans joining the EU is possible, and even needed to achieve the compilation of the original architecture of the European Union forefathers:

 

Fajon: Western Balkans are Europe

Tanja FAJON MEP,  the vice-chair of Socialists and Democrats group of the European Parliament, reflects upon future of Western Balkans and the EU new strategy towards the region, pointing out the necessity to keep a right balance between enhancing reform without losing a perspective of membership in view or compromising criteria. A credible enlargement perspective for Western Balkans is a fair offer to countries to join European family they belong to, FAJON insists, underlining a positive example of her own country, joining the EU, Slovenia:

Russia delivers MiG-29 fighters to Serbia

Russia has kept its promise to deliver six Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters to Serbia, which was timed to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade from Nazi Germany, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said, according to TASS news agency.

The Russian defense minister made this statement at a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vulin.

“In August, when you were in Moscow, I promised that by the time of this celebration the planes will arrive in Belgrade. Now planes are in Belgrade. I am sure that they will serve as a reliable shield and a guarantor of Serbia’s independence and security,” Shoigu said.

The six MiG-29 fighter jets have been delivered to Serbia by decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was reported earlier that the six MiG-29 fighters had flown from Russia to Serbia in early October.

 

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