Croatian Foreign Minister: “Belgrade Will Not Enter EU until It Gets Rid of Virus of Greater Serbia”

By 8 August 2016

Strong words for Serbia from Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač.

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miro Kovač said on Monday that Serbia has still not freed itself of the aggressive virus of Greater Serbia and Yugoslav communist system, adding that, until it does, it will not enter the European Union, reports Jutarnji List on August 8, 2016.

In a post on Facebook, Kovač said that every day there are statements by “those in the Serbian government who in the 1990s were part of the authorities and/or ruling parties at the time when Belgrade launched wars against Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, wars of conquest which Belgrade ultimately lost”.

Instead of finally facing up to its responsibility for starting the wars and for hundreds of thousands of victims, Serbia is intentionally spreading feelings of revenge, inciting the Serbian people against other peoples, preventing the establishment of long-term good-neighbourly cooperation in the European spirit, said Kovač.

According to Kovač, that was demonstrated by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić who on 4 August in Zemun, during his speech on the occasion of the “Day of Remembrance for the Suffering and Persecution of Serbs”, when during the Operation Storm the Croatian Army and police liberated occupied Croatian territory, called it “the criminal final solution”, and talked about “a lot of poked Serbian eyes”, “a lot of severed Serbian ears and noses”. Kovač said that Vučić’s speech did not mention that the area liberated during the Operation Storm was Croatian national territory, that hundreds of thousands of Croats were previously expelled from there, and that many Croats were killed and tortured.

“Is this rhetoric which leads to the development of good-neighbourly cooperation? Is this rhetoric which Serbia thinks it can use to enter the European Union? Serbia will have no luck with such vocabulary, with such ideology, with such approach”, wrote Kovač. “This way, Serbia will never join the European Union. Serbia will need a lot of help, a lot of painstaking reforms to adopt European values, European rhetoric and European behaviour. And this means that the government representatives in Serbia will have to forever get rid of the aggressive virus of Greater Serbia and the Yugoslav communist system”, concluded Kovač.

This is just the latest in a series of harsh statements and diplomatic notes being exchanged lately between Zagreb and Belgrade. The fact that on 11 September early parliamentary elections will take place in Croatia certainly does provide incentive for Croatian politicians to be less than concilliatory towards Serbia.