PAGE 1/3


NO 175-176

PAGE 1/3 ::: 1 | 2 | 3

INFO   :::  Helsinki Charter - PAGE 1 > Helsinki Charter No. 175-176 > Text


Helsinki Charter No. 175-176

May - June 2013



What’s been promised to Serbia?

By Miroslav Filipović


All the observers wrangle over the actual implementation of the Brussels Agreement: whether Serbs will implement it voluntarily or have to be compelled to implement every single provision.

The more Belgrade delays full recognition of Kosovo as its new southern neighbor, the more it undermines its own position. Had it done it six months ago, no one in Serbia would have now given mention to Kosovo. Belgrade would have begun solving fundamental problems of Kosovo citizens of Serb origin, while signatories of the Brussels agreement would not be held answerable for anything. But it’s not easy for one to be wise in the Balkans. These days Belgrade behaves contrary to common sense and elementary wisdom. Something smells fishy here. If Serbs signed the Brussels Agreement why don’t they implement what they put their signature under, or if they knew they would have problems with implementing it or for implementing it, why did they sign it at all? Belgrade’s behavior after Brussels shows that Germans were right not to trust Serbs’ readiness to implement the agreement and, therefore, hesitated to give green light to a date for accession negotiations. Be it as it may, once he serves his military term and gets married a man in Serbia feels honor bound to what he promised, let alone to what he signed under an international agreement.

Just reading domestic politicians’ statements about Kosovo, the Brussels Agreement, the date for the startup of accession negotiation, etc., one is shocked with naivety emanating from every single phrase those tribunes and champions of people utter. One can hardly believe that Serbian politicians, considering their situation and the situation of the state of Serbia, could possibly say what they are saying these days. They seem not to care at all about obtaining a date for accession negotiations: as if in the Europe-Russia-Serbia triangle Serbs are those who are the least after the date, although and only logically they want it the most.

But maybe things are not as they seem to be. There may be something that makes the whole story of and about Kosovo logically consistent. And maybe, as if after drinking some magic potion, all these statements by Serbian politicians turn normal.

All the observers wrangle over the actual implementation of the Brussels Agreement: whether Serbs will implement it voluntarily or have to be compelled to implement every single provision. The international community has only two mechanisms of pressure and coercion. The first is money and the other a fixed date for accession negotiations and all other fixed dates. On the other hand, Serbs believe as usual that they’ve done a big service to the international community by putting their signature under the Agreement, while the gentlemen from Europe, tricked on too many occasions, insist on seeing the implementation of what has been agreed on. As if both sides have read what Andric wrote – “The biggest fool is not the one who cannot read but the one who believes that everything he reads is true.” According to reports of some Western intelligence services, while signing the Agreement Serbs knew they would not have to implement everything immediately as if that was what someone had promised them. The problem is that it were not Germans or any other big power that gave them their word, nor had the promise as such been discussed in any relevant circles.

Although Serbian politicians can even be likeable with their puffed-up chests, their ostentation, their threatening messages put across in Brussels and Berlin, and from various rostrums in Belgrade, look weird and groundless unless grounded on two circumstances.

The first circumstance could relate to what Serbia – or to put it precisely, the ruling coalition and ruling tycoons – wants to accomplish through the membership of EU. No matter how much it claims to the contrary, Europe and the membership of EU are not what the official Belgrade actually wants. Europe is not a natural habitat of small, cheating Balkan bigwigs. Greece, Bulgaria and Rumania testify to the fact. So much must be changed to get to Europe, so many things for which they are in politics in the first place must be given up. For, once Serbia has closed all the chapters it has to close to join the European family almost nothing would remain from politics as a lifestyle and, especially, as the most profitable occupation – and what remained would be totally unattractive.

The main reason why Serbian politicians want Europe are moneys from European funds. All they care about is money – without money trading in politics is a nightmare. Everything they do they do for money and not because they want their citizens to live in a better and safer world. Serbs do not long for Europe. Articles and articles have been written about it. After all, how possibly could Serbs join Europe with their favorite “working class” motto – “You cannot pay me as little as little I can work.” Or, with the favorite motto of small and big businessmen – “It there is not other way round, do it by the law.” Who can change this?

The second circumstance – most problematic in practice – is playing on the fear of Russia. Serbian politicians are aware that Romania and Bulgaria were admitted to EU out of any turn just to prevent them from wandering away to Russians. This is what Serbia obviously trades on – wisely and successfully as Boris Tadic had – while trying at the same time to cheat both Russian and EU.

Serbian politicians’ self-flattery for cheating anyone hundreds, even thousands of times bigger and stronger than Serbia, is simply amazing. Hence these days they wanted to convince Brussels that Serbia could really go over to Russians and join the membership of their collective stability pact. So it was only logical that they needed some Russian bigwig to visit Belgrade and support Serb-Russian friendship and plans. But like in an old joke, who came to visit was not Nikita, but Nikolay Petrushev, “until recently the president of the Volleyball Association of Russia, according to the website of “The Voice of Russia” Presently Nikolay Petrushev is the president of the Security Council of the Russian Federation – ergo, a competent figure by all means. Having expected someone more famous, Serbs saw this visit as yet another humiliation by their “Russian brothers.”

“In the field” everyone minds his own business. Kosovo introduces visa regime for “less important” countries that have not recognized it, while Serbia freely promotes its parallel institutions in Kosovo, the same institutions it is duty bound to dismiss under the Brussels Agreement. Judging by the situation in Serb parts of Kosovo, nothing is further from locals’ mind than dismissal of these institutions. Judging by statements by Belgrade-seated politicians, this is also far from them. What remains as the only logical solution? Should the government of Kosovo be the one to implement its and Serbia’s obligations laid down in the Brussels Agreement?


NO 175-176

PAGE 1/3 ::: 1 | 2 | 3










Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - 2008

Web Design * Eksperiment