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Back You are here: Home Social Justice People Why Serbia will not enter the European Union

Why Serbia will not enter the European Union

Serbia, a nation which once wished for a European future, is now filled with locals turning their backs on the European Union. Milly Stilinovic, on the streets of Belgrade, was faced with an evident hostility towards the reigning democratic government and abhorrence to the demands of the European Union.

23 October 2011

Thick clouds of smoke billow through a ground floor apartment in the heart of Belgrade.

This is not the byproduct of arson but a celebration of nicotine as the final hammer fell on the decision to shirk a luxury tax that would see Serbia entering the European Union.

This tax, which would have seen prices soar by 500 percent on a single packet of cigarettes, was part of negotiations imposed by the European Union (EU), keen to set a European standard within the country. “We smoke because of the current economic crisis we’re living in. It gives us some kind of comfort”, Bojana, a Serbian pensioner and smoker, said. “Honestly, what did they expect us to live off anymore?”

With prices already reaching unmanageable levels on common household necessities, these demands have caused a groundswell of anti-Union attitude amongst locals struggling on wages as little as 373 euros a month.

“Why don’t they increase the price of bread to three euros a day and starve us to death? It would be easier,” Darko, a Serbian activist and smoker, said.

It is not only the mention of a luxury tax that is shirking a positive attitude towards the EU amongst Serbs.

The past decade has seen Serbia, under pressure from the EU, extradite several of its former military and political leaders to the Hague Tribunal to face war crimes charges that allegedly took place during the Bosnian war and the unrest in Kosovo.

The most recent Serb expats are Ratko Mladic, the former General of the Yugoslav Army, who is facing charges relating to the atrocities committed in Srebrenica, and Goran Hadzic, the former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.

In addition to extraditing individuals that a majority perceive to be “defenders of the Serbian territory,” locals already cope with a 10pm prohibition on the purchase of alcohol, a legal drinking age of 20 and a 22.2 percent unemployment rate due to a law, recently approved in parliament, regarding the privatisation of the country’s utilities and infrastructure.

The largest contingent halting Serbia’s integration into the European Union is the acknowledgement of Kosovo as an independent nation.

Despite the union itself facing a questionable future, the President of Serbia, Boris Tadic, still believes that Serbia’s integration is the only solution. “I am certain that the EU is an idea that deserves respect and support from the majority of our citizens,” he told Serbian media. “We are working towards the EU – as a better option doesn’t exist.”

Independent Minister Vesna Pesic, who left the Democratic Party in April, told Serbian media that a quicker way into the EU would be to quash all notions of Serbian nationalism.

“Serbian nationalism defies European ideals, standards and the borders drawn from decisions made by greater forces,” she said. “Under constant pressure, Serbia must be forced to definitively conclude doubts over what its borders are.”

Several far right nationalist groups, such as the Obraz (Pride) and 1389, furiously defy claims that nationalism is hindering Serbia’s prosperity. They consider nationalism to be the only solution that will spare Serbia from a pending economic and existential crisis.

These groups have also made it a strong part of their agenda to discourage Serbia’s integration into the Union. Voters, once loyal to reigning Democratic Party of Serbia, are now handing over their allegiance to such groups.

“We bend over backwards to please [the EU],” a member of 1389 said. “What for? When were we ever a nation to bow down to the will of others?”

With both smoking, a favourite pastime amongst locals, safe from European pricing and locals unwilling to acknowledge both an independent Kosovo and demands from the EU, the steady dedication to smoking within Serbia – and its status as persona non grata in the European Union – will not change.

“Let me live with my Balkan ways. Just let us die peacefully with our habits,” Ana, a Belgrade local and avid smoker, said.

Milly Stilinovic has seen the overthrow of a communist regime, and felt the perils of war and NATO bombings. She is a Sydney-based freelance reporter who contributes to NineMSN, Red Scout, and American cultural magazine Belletrist Coterie.

 

Comments   

0 #6 Ognjen 2012-10-17 09:24
Image speaks volumes: http://www.euratlas.net/history/europe/700/index.html
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0 #5 Jules 2012-03-12 11:35
It is disgraceful that a nation that has committed genocide and countless atrocities during the 90's and has not even shown a will to except its responsibilitie s is trying to bargain it's way in the EU.
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0 #4 Yannick 2011-12-08 01:50
No genocide happen in Srebrenica. This case was one of many CONSTRUCTED stories and written movie scenery or theatre play script. Direct result: demonizing Serbs. Final goal: false legitimity for destructing Serbian people and contry which do not fit into plans of globalisation elite, whose striking fist is NATO.
There are a lot of people who are alive and who were declared dead in Srebrenica. They have different names and obligation to shut keep their mouth shut (or else).
This is the truth.
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0 #3 Robert Van Driel 2011-10-24 10:46
My dear Ruben, Get your facts straight. I'm a Dutch-Jew from Canada and I am heavily offended that you would ever even compare the Holocaust to the Former Yugoslav wars. And Kosovo is not a colony of territory that serbia invaded. Kosovo is literrally where Serbia became a country back in 700AD. The Serbs have always populated and controlled Kosovo until the Ottoman Turks took over in the 13th or 14th century. This was when the Muslim population started arriving in the area. And it seems Serbs have been Victims for close to a thousand years, yet here you are, Ruben, going on a biased tirade, trying to further demonize the real Victims.

And I promise you that if it wasn't the Serbs that had the largest and most well-equipped army during the conflicts of the 90's, then we would be sitting here discussing the innocent where thousands of Serbs were ruthlessly slaughtered by heartless, genocidal Albanians.
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0 #2 Robert Van Driel 2011-10-24 10:35
My dear Rubin, you must get your facts straight before going on a biased tirade like that.

I am formally a Dutch peace keeper with the UN. My hands were tied, along with my brothers in arms, to telephone poles in Srebrenica. I was forced to watch innocent people loaded on buses, separated from their loved ones. This was all part of what you described as the worst since the times of the Holocaust.

I am quite offended, as a Dutch- Jew to even here those atrocities compared to the Holocaust. In Srebrenica a militia separated and killed roughly 8-10 thousand people in a clear attempt to ethnically cleanse the region of non-Serbs. However, in my 2 years as a peace keeper in Bosnia, I noticed that the Serbs were not alone in committing atrocities. We had investigated over a thousand cases of missing Serbian men and women who would go off to run errands and then never return home. In many of these cases we found that an armed militia group of Bosnian-Muslim origin was preying on people who were out there, beyond the protection of the UN safe zone. According to some of the militia that physically tied me up, this was what sparked outrage among the Serbs in Bosnia, that to them, prompted action.

It is extremely unfortunate that an evil militia group had gone and killed thousands of mainly innocent people. I will never forget being present at the scene of the worst massacre since WWII. It is till today very unspeakable.

But what you must understand, Ruben, is that the Croats and Muslim Bosnians also committed horrible atrocities to the Serbs. Bad blood runs deep between the three groups as the Bosnian Muslims as well as the Croatians were both Nazi allies in WWII. Serbs however was the only allied country (apart from Greece) in the whole Balkan region. And many Serbs died defending Jews, and fighting for freedom.

The largest manual concentration camp during WWII was located in Croatia and run by the Fascist regime that gripped the country. There were thousands of Jews, Serbs and Roma (gypsy) civilians that were slaughtered like cattle in this place.

And the last thing you must know is that Kosovo, was never a Colony of Serbia. The country has never set out to colonize, and quite frankly never had the resources to do so, as they were occupied themselves, by the Ottoman Empire.
Kosovo is where the Serbs began. Kosovo was the very center of Serbia Geographically for the better part of a thousand years. However Kosovo heralds importance to the Serbs as they first fought for liberty and freedom on the plains of Kosovo against the Invading Muslim Ottoman Empire. Albania wasn't even a country until after WWI. And When the Turks came, most of the Serbs fled to the North, obviously fearing the Ottoman forces.

It was this act that prompted Albanians to move into the Serb heartland. The Albanians and Ottomans were both Muslim, and after the Ottomans came, created partnerships. The Albanians moved into the fertile farming lots that the Serbs had fled from.

After many generations, the Albanian population kept rising as the average Albanian household had 10 children, 3 of which (on average) would never see there teens. The Serbs however, sprouted 1-2 children per household, allowing the invasive population to eventually dominate the landscape.

It has been proven that the "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" camps were fabricated to persuade NATO to bomb Serbia in the wake of a counter-insurge ncy crackdown led by Serb troops in 1999. It has also been proven that the atrocities that were committed only started after NATO commenced its bombing. It has also come to light that Albanians committed the most horrid things like organ trafficking, and human trafficking, and still do to this day.

So in conclusion, I believe that Serbia has indeed lost Kosovo. However, Serbia will do all it can, as long as it exists, to constantly keep Kosovo down. This I am sure of. But unfortunately for Kosovo, only 80 countries have recognized its independence. albeit, the most important ones (U.S., most of the E.U.). This means that the majority of the UN does not recognize it's independence as it was taken away from a Sovereign Nation, against that nations' will, and clearly broke multiple rules outlined in the Geneva Convention and several UN resolutions. This means Kosovo's independence is not real, as Kosovo is still a province of Serbia, clearly self- governed, which will make a very big mess in the region, and the lives of Kosovans very, very difficult.

Kosovo, even under UN, EU and NATO administration, has by far the largest crime rate in all of Europe. Problems like Drug, Human, Organ and Weapons smuggling run rampant and seem to plague the rest of Europe. Its war-time leader is currently being charged for all kinds of Human Rights Violation, including Ethnic Cleansing, and ironically, just two years before the U.S. led NATO bombing of Serbia, the Kosovo Albanian leader was photographed shaking hands with Osama Bin Laden.
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0 #1 Ruben 2011-10-23 13:09
Despite committing some of the worst crimes ever seen in Europe since the times of Holocaust, the Serbs refuse to come to terms with the past.

I don't care if they don't have the money to smoke. I still think of another kind of smoke, the one which came out of the burning houses, churches and mosques, from the burning bodies in mass graves, from the thousands of rapes of innocent women, from the kids killed in cold blood.

Milly Stilinovic get some courage and write something that is not fashionable among your dear Serbs. Tell them to face the hard truth and understand that Kosovo will never be Serbian again, just like many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will remain independent, run by their local populations.

The old Europe came to terms with the truth and let their former colonies live in freedom. The Serbs should stop asking for preferential treatment and stay away from the land, they first occupied by force and then terrorized and impoverished.
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