Serbian mass media have been highlighting a new phase of “dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija” recently. President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić said governmental and non-governmental institutions shall be involved in that dialogue and the government should come out as the central “coordinator.” Talking to EADaily, Nemanja Šarović, vice chairman of the Serbian Radical Party (SRP), one of the oldest political parties in Serbia having 22 seats in the parliament, speaks about his party’s stance on this dialogue.
Šarović sees no “dialogue” in fact. The only place to conduct such dialogue is the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia, since the citizens have given their sovereign rights to parliamentarians during elections. “That sovereign right belongs to the National Assembly (parliament) of the Republic of Serbia. This is written in the Constitution,” said the vice chairman of the Serbian Radical Party.
He said the parliament is the key representative body, but it has held no discussions on Kosovo and Metohija for many years. “We have repeatedly asked them to put this issue on agenda, but the representative of the regime, both the Democratic Party (previous ruling party – EADaily’s note) and representatives of the ruing Serbian Progressive Party (SPS) refuse to do it. They avoid a true dialogue on this issue, as they pursue their own tasks, which they receive from the West, and just imitate a dialogue. In fact, there is no dialogue as such,” the Serbian politician said.
Answering EADaily’s question about the Serbian government’s response to the European Commission’s statement that the cases of Catalonia and the Serbian region of Kosovo and Metohija are “not comparable,” Nemanja Šarović said that Vučić’s ad hoc meetings with the Cabinet and the prime minister was allegedly for the internal audience. He is sure that official Belgrade will try to save face before the Serbian people after receiving “another slap in the face” by Europe.
“For the nth time, European Union has made it clear that the rules applying to others do not apply to us. EU’s stance on the Serbian people is clear: no rule that would bring any benefit to us applies to us. If something is not in our favor, it applies to us, indeed. We do not need to ask EU about its response. It’s evident,” the politician said.
He thinks it important how the Serbian leadership will respond to another humiliation by EU and to the fact that EU recognizes Kosovo and Metohija as an independent state. Brussels once again hinted that Serbia’s integration into Europe and Kosovo’s independence are different things for it, Šarović said. The Brussels Agreement says Serbia and Kosovo will not prevent each other from integrating into Europe, the oppositionist recalled.
Asked what the Serbian Radical Party expects Serbia to do to resolve the Kosovo issue, Šarović emphasized cessation of all kind of talks under aegis of Brussels, first.
“It is absolutely unreal that those who bombed us in 1999 and actively promoted for Kosovo’s independent may act as impartial mediators in the talks,” he said, recalling that his Party was against transferring the issue from the UNSC to EU. “We warned that all this will turn into blackmail and pressure and that we have nothing to do there,” Šarović said. “If international relations are critical for this issue, and at that moment we enlisted enough international support to settle the issue in accordance with the international law and national interests of Serbia, we should have waited for 20,30, 50 years…no matter how long it would take. It is better to wait for 50 years than to lose Kosovo and Metohija,” the Serbian politician said.
EADaily’s correspondent asked Šarović to comment his Party’s statement made at a press conference in Belgrade concerning the need to involve Russia and China into the talks on the future of Kosovo and Metohija. According to Šarović, if leading western countries supporting the self-proclaimed Kosovo are involved in that process, Russia as Serbia’s supporter and other friendly countries, such as China, should also be involved in potential talks.
“China along with Russia supported Serbia at UN Security Council and with its ‘vetos’ prevented decisions running contrary to the international law,” Šarović recalled. “Evidently, the Kosovo Albanians will not agree on it. Why should we agree on the talks being aware beforehand that we will lose them?” Nemanja Šarović asked rhetorically. He is sure that the only one way out of that vicious circle is to cease talks unilaterally. “I do not think we ought to do negotiate. Participation in talks is a political decision. There were no such talks ten years ago. Then, Boris Tadić (president of Serbia in 2004-2012 – EADaily’s note) decided to participate in the talks, though it was evidently a wrong idea. The talks can be stopped. The only consequence for Serbia may be termination of the European integration process, which would just make us happy,” Šarović said.
He said at least half of the Serbian citizens opposes integration into Europe, but almost 90% of these citizens’ representatives in the parliament support the pro-Western line. “At least look at Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić’s response to EU’s actions. ‘They deceive us!’ Dačić said. Of course, they do and not for the first time. What next? After ‘velvet revolution’ of October 5, the term of Serbia’s accession to EU was 2005. Then it was postponed to 2007, then to 2009, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2022 and quite lately we have learnt that Serbia will join EU by 2025. Ivica Dačić, the key Serbian diplomat, said: ‘It is unclear whether the EU will survive until 2025 or not. If it does, here we come.’ He doubts that EU will survive,” the SRP vice chairman said.
“So, why do we bear all this humiliation, why do we refuse from our national interests, if it is evident that EU will not survive?” the politician asked pointing at Brexit and the Catalan referendum. “There are some other countries where many advocate for leaving EU. Let’s wait and see how long this artificially created union will last,” he said.
In response to EADaily’s question whether it is so easy for Serbia to cease talks for accession to EU, given the economic cooperation with Brussels, Nemanja Šarović said Serbia is at the very beginning of the integration process. “It is not true that we are too close to accession to cease it. Britain was the founder of EU, but it has left it. Even if we were a full member, we would not be obliged to stay, since the countries that care for their national interests simply run from there. As to us, we are too far from accession, if we ever access it. I hope, we will never do it,” the politician said.
According to Nemanja Šarović, EU’s financial assistance is much less than the harm the cooperation with EU causes to the national economy of Serbia. “I’d like to recall a unique case when former minister of finance Božidar Đelić unilaterally applied the Agreement on Stabilization and Association and cancelled customs duties for the commodities imported from EU, by opening our market. Meantime, EU countries still impose duties on Serbian commodities. This cost us more than we receive from Brussels in terms of loans.”
The financial assistance is always linked to participation of their firms, contractors, advisors who as locusts eat most of this money that is provided to Serbia in terms of loans,” the vice chairman of the Serbian Radical Party said for conclusion.