The reality is that Kosovo will never return into the arms of Belgrade, so keeping the illusion that Kosovo remains part of Serbia is political blindness. And in fact, only a strong politician like Mr. Vucic is able to start a discussion towards reality – said in the interview with IBNA Dr. Franz-Lothar Altmann, Associate Professor at the Bucharest University, and member of the board of Southeast Europe Association.
This week European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia David McAllister (CDU) will visit Belgrade. During the visit he will meet some representatives of Serbian opposition; others decided not to attend with some parties suggesting that both EU and Germany fully support President Aleksandar Vucic, neglecting, at the same time, the state of the rule of law and media freedom in Serbia. What is your comment?
I consider the visit of Mr. McAllister an important event! And his intention to meet people from the opposition should be seen as an attempt to get a broader picture of Serbia’s internal and external politics in addition to only listen to the government’s statements and announcements. If people have the impression that the EU and Germany are not enough aware of obvious negative conditions in the areas of rule of law and media freedom, then more than ever they should seek the opportunity to provide their views to the rapporteur of the EU Parliament!
How do you see Vucic’s initiative on “internal dialogue on Kosovo” in Serbia? In the West, including Germany, he received more or less loud support for his appeal to Serbian people to “face with the reality”?
President Vucic´s move is more than overdue! He rightly sees that at the end the door to the EU will only be open if a realistic arrangement in the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo is reached. The reality is that Kosovo will never return into the arms of Belgrade, so keeping the illusion that Kosovo remains part of Serbia is political blindness. And in fact, only a strong politician like Mr. Vucic is able to start a discussion towards reality. This does not mean that Germany should be uncritical and blind to Belgrade’s politics under President Vucic in general!
Following Montenegro’s joining to NATO and recent visit by US Vice President Mike Pense, analysts suggest that EU and NATO are gaining advantage in the Western Balkans, while Russia is in a kind of retreat. Do you share these views?
Certainly Montenegro is an important strategic partner for NATO which will be backed by EU membership, and it is a blow to Russia’s attempts to weaken the Western alliance by keeping at least one stone (Montenegro) in the Eastern Adriatic wall off from NATO´s edifice: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece are now a completed NATO front-line. However, at the same time we observe that Moscow has intensified its endeavors to reestablish influence in the Balkans, and to stop or at least slow down NATO’s and EU’s enlargement to the Southeast through the Western Balkans which – if completed – would mean that then the entire South Eastern Europe from Hungary down to Turkey will be firmly part of the Western political Hemisphere! And here the most important and to some extent willing partner for Russia is Serbia which still needs Russia’s backing in the Kosovo issue. Should, however, President Vucic´s dialogue on Kosovo lead to./ΙΒΝΑ