Thursday

23rd Jan 2020

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).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Kosovo to Serbia: Time to face reality

Kosovo's foreign minister has said the end of supervised independence should make Serbia realise it can never divide Kosovo or get it back.

Interview

Kosovo PM attacks 'mono-ethnic' EU justice

Letting Serb war crime suspects go free while pursuing Kosovar ones only is bad for Western Balkans reconciliation, Kosovo's outgoing prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, has said.

Finland: EU 'not brain dead' on enlargement

EU countries have given a mixed reaction to French proposals on enlargement reform, but ongoing talks did not mean the process had stalled, Finland said.

News in Brief

  1. UK watchdog unveils online child-privacy standards
  2. Alleged 'bully' nominated for EESC presidency
  3. Greens/EFA fail to agree on accepting Catalan MEPs
  4. MEPs approve over 55 gas projects for EU funding
  5. Italy deputy PM Di Maio quits as Five Star party leader
  6. EU investment bank to keep pressure on Turkey over gas
  7. 'Rare' migrant boat from Belgium to UK sinks
  8. First annual rule of law report expected this year, Reynders said

Opinion

EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU warned on 'vigilance' after Davos spy fail
  2. What's Libya's impact on EU foreign policy?
  3. EU commission 'lacks ambition' on future conference
  4. Will US privacy-lite hollow out GDPR?
  5. Senior Polish member at EU body faces Belgian abuse probe
  6. Why isn't Germany helping gay rights in Hungary, Poland?
  7. US retiree, scammed by former EU official, awaits justice
  8. Vienna-Brussels night train returns amid EU green talk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us