Saturday

21st Jan 2017

Serb leader bashes EU ahead of key report

  • Srebrenica memorial. Nikolic: "No Serb recognizes that genocide took place ... and I am no different" (Photo: Ayuto)

Srebrenica was not genocide and Serbia will not bow to demands for Kosovo recognition, Serbia's leader has said on the eve of a key EU report.

The Balkan country's head of state, Tomislav Nikolic, a former confidante of Serbia's notorious war-time leader Slobodan Milosevic, made the remarks in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Seraon Tuesday (9 October).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Genocide did not take place in Srebrenica. This is about individual guilt of members of the Serb people ... No Serb recognizes that genocide took place in Srebrenica and I am no different," he said.

"In case it is necessary to renounce Kosovo, then it's more acceptable for us to forget about Europe ... Now a recognition of Kosovo and Metohija is being made a condition [for EU membership]. The question is not whether we want Europe. The real question is whether they want us," he added.

The inflammatory words come ahead of a European Commission report on Serbia's progress on pro-EU reforms due out on Wednesday.

Early drafts of the paper obtained by EUobserver indicate that Brussels will not recommend a date for starting accession talks with Serbia in a snub to Belgrade.

The text does not mention Srebenica or Kosovo recognition.

It says instead that Serbia must abide by pre-Nikolic agreements to improve day-to-day relations with Kosovo and to do more about corruption and organised crime.

The commission on Wednesday is also to publish a study on signing a pre-accession pact - a so-called Stabilisation and Asssociation Agreement - with Kosovo despite the fact five EU countries do not recognise it.

Nikolic earlier in June said on TV in Montenegro that Srebrenica was not genocide.

The commission does call the event - where Serb soldiers murdered 8,000 Muslim boys and men in 1995 - "genocide," even though it shies away from the term in other areas, such as Turkey's genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915.

Commission spokespeople could not be reached for a comment on Wednesday morning.

Nikolic's latest remarks also come after Serbia last weekend cancelled a gay pride march in Belgrade in the teeth of EU complaints.

"Screw the kind of Union for which gay pride marches are the entry ticket," Serbia's Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, said in the run-up to the defunct march.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey