20th Aug 2019

EU, UK 'deplore' violence at Srebrenica memorial

  • Muslim woman at previous Srebrenica memorial (Photo: MyBukit)

A bottle, shoe, and stone-throwing crowd forced the Serb PM to flee the Srebrenica memorial in Bosnia on Saturday (11 July).

Aleksandar Vucic was whisked away by security after being hit in the face by a stone, which broke his glasses.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He later told media in Belgrade the attack was planned by extremists.

“I'm sorry that people didn’t acknowledge my sincere intentions to build friendship between Serbs and Bosniaks,” he said.

Serb foreign minister Ivica Dacic described the incident as “an attack on all of Serbia and its politics of peace and regional co-operation”.

Nebojsa Stefanovic, the Serb interior minister, said on TV: “It can be seen as an assassination attempt”.

Vucic and Dacic are nationalists who deny that Srebrenica, where Serb soldiers exterminated 8,000 Muslim boys and men in 1995, was genocide.

But Vucic has called what happened a “horrible crime” and backs EU efforts to improve Kosovo-Serb relations.

For his part, British foreign minister, Philip Hammond, said on Saturday: “I … deplore the way a few individuals have sought to ruin the solemnity of today’s commemoration”.

“Their action should not be allowed to detract from the sentiments felt by a majority; that the countries and peoples of the Western Balkans need to move forward together”.

EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini tweeted: “My solidarity to Vucic who made the historical choice of being present in Srebrenica.”

Earlier in the day, she issued plea against racism.

“Dividing the peoples of Europe among ‘us’ and ‘them’ will only originate new conflicts”, she said.

“Christian and Muslim, Serb, Croat and Bosniak. Migrant and local. Aiming for ‘ethnically pure’ states will not bring about peace”.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had also “welcomed” Vucic’s decision to go to Srebrenica in a statement prior to the stone incident.

“His decision is an example of the forward-looking approach that is required for the countries of the region to move ahead on their path to the European Union”, he said.

With two Serb generals on trial in The Hague, Juncker added: “We confirm our strong commitment to help bring the perpetrators to justice. European integration starts with justice”.

Saturday's event was attended by former US president, Bill Clinton, who was in power at the time of the Balkan wars.

Other VIPs included: Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu; the Macedonian and Slovenian presidents; and a minor British royal.


Srebrenica revisited

Twenty years after the massacre, Srebrenica still triggers dispute, and an endless stream of resolutions.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".


Pentagon: ISIS is resurgent in Syria

The US department of defence warns that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is working on a come back in Syria. It is regrouping and supporting activities. This might trigger a new refugee displacement to Europe.


Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  2. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  3. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  4. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  5. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  6. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  7. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  8. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us