As soon as it took over the presidency of the EU two weeks ago, Germany moved sharply towards Serbia. However, not officially, a request came from the government offices in Berlin, but from the “German wave” (Deutsche Welle) – to suspend negotiations on EU membership with Serbia, while Aleksandar Vučić is in power. It is not particularly important that the German presidency has just begun, because it presides over the European Union no matter who has the formal semi-annual presidency. It is important that Germany, its officials, its public, experts, and especially the media, have been leading the wave of disqualification of Serbia as a possible member of a large European family for a long time. In the last one, the one in “Deutsche Welle”, Serbia is marked as an “undemocratic country”, and that conclusion is reached with the help of one, all the same, wrong (intentional) premise: for example – the demonstrations in Belgrade were “massive”, “tens of thousands of people” demonstrated against Vučić, and he “sent troopers” on them (these are the policemen who prevented the vandals from demolishing the Assembly). And as a real treat from the column “It didn’t happen”, DW states that Vučić learned this manner from Slobodan Milošević, who was his mentor (!?), because like him he “mutated from communist to nationalist”!?
It is pointless to argue with the author of such a meaningless text, but it is quite meaningful to point out that in the German public, and even in politics, there is already a very clear regularity in treating Serbia, and especially Aleksandar Vučić, as unworthy of European, and especially German, efforts to integrate them into Europe. Only two months ago, the German media led the European outrage over Vučić’s gratitude to China and its president for the help they sent to Serbia, when the EU closed its borders for the purchase of health equipment. They repeated that it was a strategic turn of Serbia from the EU to China, only to immediately turn out to be the most common nonsense, and that even in the days of the pandemic, Serbia firmly held all its European ties, from the highest level, to receiving but also sending humanitarian aid (to Italy for example). At the first possible moment, the Serbian president met face to face with the highest European officials in Brussels, but also with the president of France in Paris, as well as through a video connection with Chancellor Merkel.
Regardless of that, the German wave of suspicions towards Serbia does not subside. Regardless of the more than clear, and at the highest level, Serbia’s repeated focus on the European Union. Not only in public, the German influence on issues concerning Serbia, and above all in Kosovo, has recently become visibly destructive. The torpedoing of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, under the auspices of the United States, was undoubtedly conducted from Berlin. The goal was to end Washington’s engagement in resolving the most complicated Balkan crisis and return the process under the auspices of the EU (i.e. Germany) at any cost. Hashim Thaci pays that price most directly, which we are not too interested in, but Serbia also pays it by drastically slowing down a promising process, and maybe even stopping it completely. Timothy Less is right when he says that the job of Miroslav Lajčák is not to find a solution for Kosovo, but his job is to prevent the United States from resolving the issue by dividing Kosovo. Should it be pointed out that Lajčák came to the position of envoy for Kosovo with the support of Germany, and should it be reminded that Berlin is a leader in opposing territorial demarcation, as a model for resolving the Kosovo issue?
Serbia in Germany should no longer seek the main promoter for its European path. It should not even see in it a strict class teacher, who constantly disciplines us and forces us to work, all with the good intention of passing with success at the end of the year. Germany is neither, it is an open and increasingly active advocate of slowing down the Serbian path to Europe, and according to the votes from Deutsche Welle, it is also an advocate of its complete exclusion from the European story. Things, of course, can be reversed, even overnight. It is not easy for Serbia to have as an opposition to its own strategic interest number 1 (joining the EU) by far the most powerful European country. But the price of that turnaround for Serbia is simply not acceptable, and that is – the recognition of Kosovo within its existing borders. That is all that Germany expects from Serbia, but it cannot get that from Serbia, whoever its leader is.
The Brussels talks on Kosovo, which have continued, are an opportunity for Serbia, as before, to demonstrate full cooperation, seriousness and responsibility, seeking a solution, but at the same time preserving its supreme state interest. It has succeeded with such a policy in recent years to reverse its international position on Kosovo and to bring back to the negotiating table what was lost. Such a policy is respected even in Washington, by far the most influential promoter (and initiator) of Kosovo’s independence, but not in Berlin. Its attitude towards Serbia, and especially towards its leader Vučić, has not been a partner, promoter, or even well-intentioned for a long time. It already reminds too much of the German position from the beginning of the 90s, when it strongly agitated for the international recognition of Croatia, which, for example, was opposed by Great Britain, which undoubtedly led to the escalation of the conflict in the Balkans. However, we should trust that the attitude of the rest of Europe towards Germany is different today, especially the attitude of the USA towards Berlin, and the most important thing is that today’s Serbia has absolutely no connection with Serbia from three decades ago. Luckily. And Aleksandar Vučić is a welcomed guest and partner in Washington, London and Paris. I am convinced in Berlin as well, if they think carefully about what they want in the Balkans. And no matter what Deutsche Welle said about it.