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.”



In his last article in Blic newspaper, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic urged the Serbian society to start “an internal dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija.” And by saying this, he has opened a Pandora’s box. His article has caused serious controversy among the Serbs, and this is natural, according to Serbian experts, as the problem of the future of Kosovo and Metohija is vital for Serbia as a state.

In an interview to EADaily, Serbian political analyst, expert at the Belgrade-based Institute for European Studies Stevan Gajic said that unless expected, Vucic’s article would be really shocking. “But this is a consistent policy: since 2013, our government has been engaged in the so-called Brussels dialogue, which implies granting Kosovo attributes of a state, like borders, telecommunications, courts, cadasters, and forcing the Serbs to recognize passports, car numbers and other documents in that unrecognized territory. But neither we nor our compatriots in Kosovo and Metohija have received anything in exchange,” Gajic said.

He pointed out the fact that the article was published in mid-summer, when most of the Serbs were on holidays. “It was an attempt to feel the people’s pulse, to see how they would react. Until now, we have endured all kinds of humiliations but now we may lose a big territory. This is probably why Vucic wants first to feel our pulse,” Gajic said.


Although people in Serbia are less and less supporting European integration, “new old” government is setting up a separate ministry to deal with integration issues, Dragana Trifkovic, head of the Belgrade-based Center for Geostrategic Studies told EADaily on June 28. The European community has been experiencing domestic crisis for a number of years already, as even its founding states are leaving it, Trifkovic recalled. Officials in Brussels think Brexit will pave the way for reforms inside the EU and integration of the Balkans, which is a wrong idea, as it may aggravate the crisis inside EU, the expert says.

According to her, the EU is not able to settle even the current problems, so it will hardly manage to cope with new challenges.

The steps Serbia has already taken on the way to Europe have brought no breakthrough in settlement of any of its problems (economy, legislation, freedom of media, anti-corruption measures etc.). Brussels conceals this carefully drawing a false picture of the state of affairs in the country, Dragana Trifkovic says.


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