Can Serbia join the EU and avoid joining NATO, a military alliance which members are EU countries and that had been bombing Serbia in 1999 for 80 days running? Will Belgrade manage to protect its military sovereignty while being on the way to European integration, the way the other countries of the region are following? What advantages expect Serbia if it is finally granted the long-awaited EU membership and what hardships will the Russian-Serbian relations face in future? Director of the Belgrade-based Center for Geostrategic Studies Dragana Trifkovic answers these and other questions of EADaily.



The news that the court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has acquitted Bosnian “brigadier general” Naser Oric despite his crimes against Serbian POWs in Bratunac and Srebrenica has enraged the Bosnian Serbs. According to President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, this verdict is one more proof that crimes against Serbs remain unpunished. President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic ironized that the lives of Serbs seem to be not as precious as the lives of people of other nationalities but still urged the Serbs to try to build common future with their neighbors, the Bosnians.

The acquittal of Oric was not a surprise for either Serbian or Russian experts. They are unanimous that it is just one more display of the policy the world community has applied towards the Serbs since the collapse of Yugoslavia. According to Head of the Center for the Study of Modern Balkan Crisis, the Institute of Slavonic Studies, Russia’s Academy of Sciences, Yelena Guskova, the world community was unable to settle the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a result, it decided to form an international tribunal, which has been mostly anti-Serbian ever since. “Encouraged by the United States and the European Union, the Bosnian court has ruled in line with this policy. This is why Dodik has once against appeared with the initiative to conduct a referendum on whether there should be such a court in Bosnia and Herzegovina or not,” Guskova said in an interview to EADaily.


Serbian mass media have once again caused a stir in public with the news that the defense ministry plans REGEX-2018 military exercises in Serbia next year. The NATO presence in the country is a painful issue for most Serbians who still remember the Alliance’s aggression of 1999. The defense ministry was the first to respond to mass media reports. In an official statement published on the ministry website on August 9, Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin says that REGEX-2018 will not be a “NATO exercise”, but a “regional initiative” launched in 2013. “So far, this regional initiative has been implemented in Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Jordan, and next year it will be here,” he says in the statement.

Recalling that Serbia is a neutral country, Vulin says, “We will exercise with everyone from whom we can learn something, both with NATO and with CSTO, we will work bilaterally with the US Armed Forces, we will work bilaterally with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and will learn from everyone we can learn something from.”

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