Serbia

Media Reports that Media is Not Free

On 8 November Andrija Rodić, the owner of the Adria Media Group – which publishes 18 magazines including the daily tabloid Kurir – came out with a public apology to Serbian citizens for his role in producing overly favourable coverage of the situation in the country, alongside 80 per cent of Serbia’s other local media owners.

Until that point he and his associated media outlets had been faithful supporters of Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, and his...

To UNESCO or not to UNESCO: Serbian Cultural Heritage in Kosovo between Sovereignty and Protection

No event after Kosovo’s unilateral proclamation of independence in 2008 has attracted so much public attention in Serbia as its failed attempt to become the member of the UNESCO. Despite victorious headlines in several Serbian media outlets, one could easily describe the result as the Pyrrhic victory for Serbia. On October 21 the UNESCO Board agreed to vote on Kosovo, which is still not in the UN but recognized by 108 of its members, for the UNESCO...

Modern Censorship in Action

When censorship exists it is also talked about. This is true in the case of 17th century England, when censorship was imposed by Parliament, and it is also true in the case of countries that call themselves democracies, or which aspire to be democracies.

During the English Civil War Parliament passed the Licensing Order of 1643. According to the Order, a team of official censors controlled, i.e. prohibited or approved, works before they went to print. It is in this atmosphere that the debate on the freedom of the press was ignited and only a year later John Milton...

ICJ dismissed Croatia and Serbia genocide claims: A chance to forget the past?

On February 3, 2015, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided to reject both the claim of Croatia and the counter-claim of Serbia. The outcome of this dispute is a logical outcome. The jurisdiction of the ICJ was limited to genocide, and this fearsome threshold was not passed. It is important to note that, as far as the conflicts in Croatia are concerned, the ICTY did not indict (let alone convict) any individual on the charge of genocide. Since the ICJ has based most of its fact-finding (just like in the Bosnian case) on the fact-finding of the ICTY, the outcome was predictable....

What does it mean that Serbia refuses to align itself with European sanctions against Russia?

The Russian annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol in March 2014 has caused a stir down to the Balkans. By refusing to align itself with European sanctions against Moscow, Serbia keeps infuriating Brussels. Increasing pressure on the government won’t help, on the contrary.

Serbia’s support for Russia is no surprise

During its two-year honeymoon with Serbia, the EU was starry-eyed about Belgrade’s leaders. The concessions they made to Kosovo, which led to the “historic agreement” of April 2013, put them on a pedestal. The fact that the government...

Mogherini and the Future of Rapprochement between Serbia and Kosovo: The EU’s New Role and How It Should Play Out

The implementation of the first Brussels Agreement (reached in April 2013) has considerably slowed down. Thusly, this questions the very purpose of the deal, whose aim has been to set relations between Serbia and Kosovo on a track towards normalization. The former EU Higher Representative, Lady Catherine Ashton, has brought together the prime ministers of the two countries almost two-dozen times, but this has hardly improved overall relations. The EU mediators have consciously used ambiguity to create a modicum of cooperation, and this momentum has certainly had a positive effect. An...

Media freedom in Serbia criticized in the EU Progress Report

The European Commission has published its annual Progress Report on Serbia today. As expected, the newest report has praised the countries’ efforts on the implementation of the agreement on normalization of relations with Kosovo, and the overall advancement in European integrations manifested in the official opening of the accession negotiations. The ruling parties in Serbia immediately did their best to...

Surviving the Belgrade Pride Parade

Last weekend Serbia’s LGBTI community appeared in public space, manifesting its existence and, more importantly, gentleness. Just to recapitulate, the attempt to stage the first parade in Serbia in 2001 was a disaster, dominated by a bloody confrontation between the police force and counter-protesters (supported by the Serbian Orthodox Church), with numerous participants seriously injured. Later (and a year after the cancellation of the 2009 pride gathering), Serbia once again left an impression of a place incapable of tolerating...

Where have all the fascists gone? Belgrade Pride 2014

Entering the Belgrade Pride Parade through the cordon sanitaire from the direction of the main train station, everything seemed to eerily resemble the last Pride held in October 2010 when the city was attacked by around 7,000 hooligans who wounded over 100 police and civilians. This year however, the worst injuries Belgrade Pride participants sustained was perhaps mild sunburn as they walked up Knez Miloš street from the Government of Serbia to the Belgrade City Parliament in sunny autumn weather.

One of the...

How Serbia Learned to Stop Worrying About Kosovo and Love the EU

When Serbia embarked on its democratic transition in October 2000, its main obstacles, on the way to liberal democracy, were the remnants of the former authoritarian regime and nationalist political forces coalesced around a strong anti-European discourse.  Serbia’s Europeanization process, until 2008, was slow and deeply contested as a result of deep symbolic divisions, an “identity divergence” vis-a-vis Europe (as Jelena Subotić termed it). When Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, Belgrade fiercely opposed it. Serbia was deeply divided between “pro-European forces,” who...

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