Last week, Slovenia hosted the 12th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) of Balkan States under the aegis of the EU and its key Atlantic partner, U.S. As anticipated, one of the key issues on agenda was integration of the Western Balkans into EU. It is not surprising, since U.S. and EU seek to maintain their influence on that territory and bring the countries that are not yet EU members into their political orbit. On the other hand, the countries of the so-called Western Balkans seek clarity on their European prospects. Specifically, they need to know the date when they become EU members. Addressing BSF, Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić said: “Serbia hopes to join the EU before it falls apart.”
EADaily has requested comments from Milan Damjanac, a Serbian expert, philosopher and political analyst. Are things really that bad in the “European Kingdom”? Is there sense in joining EU anticipating it collapse at the same time?
Milan Damjanac believes that Dacic’s statement was a result of post-euphoria state of the Serbian government and people. “Most of the population in Serbia understand now that EU membership will bring no special dividends to them and it will be good for the country to retain its neutral stance, given the problems the EU is facing now,” Damajanac says.
He thinks Serbia is losing patience and no longer wants to fulfill the requirements necessary for EU membership, the more so as, it may not be granted membership eventually. At present, politicians tell the people that EU membership is necessary not for prosperity, but for involvement into Brussels’ projects. “Of course, it is a step forward as compared to the policy of previous Serbian governments. Unfortunately, the government is still unready to choose another path,” the political analyst says.
According to him, another path would mean cooperation on the basis of cultural commonness and alliance with “like-minded” countries. “Preservation of cultural identity is very important. Meantime, EU is losing its identity under pressure of the U.S. interests. Every European country needs to preserve common values, traditions and the desire to prosper. The EU we can see now is, in fact, a supranational formation with the only goal to multiply capital. This affects the nations, societies and states, and the unity of the society, first,” the Serbian expert says.
In this context, it is necessary to form a new Europe based on traditional values, Damjanac says. France and Russia as “cultural drivers” and Germany as “economy driver” shall form the axis of the new Europe, and there should be no influence by U.S. Anyway, the first thing to do is to create a union of orthodox countries that would help each other and become stronger, the expert says. It should be done now, since it has become evident that EU is divided into developed countries and less developed ones, whose opinion is ignored. “Serbia’s neighbors that have already become EU members have received nothing but problems. Security problems are still there, the living standards are low, birth rate is low, while migration from those countries into other EU countries has endangered the statehood of the Balkan and Eastern European countries. This part of Europe is turning into a cheap labor force camp. This is not what we need,” Milan Damjanac says.
He is sure that Serbia needs to develop surrounded by friendly states to use its own capacities. “It cannot become a branch of foreign firms and a recruiting center of other countries. It needs its sovereignty back, but this is possible only through development of own capacities, native economy and industry, and more involvement of the state into economy,” Damjanac told EADaily. All this is impossible without strengthening of the public and the government values.
“Money shall not be the only factor uniting the society. Quite the contrary, it would just speed up bankruptcy of the Serbian society we are witnessing now,” Milan Damjanac says for conclusion.