This time around we have also asked the representatives of the authorities, diplomatic corps, international institutions, business associations, media and many others to express their views on the possible re-arrangement of power in the world, the European and regional political scene, the influences on Serbia’s accession to the EU, economic development, investments in culture, and as an inevitable question this year, elections which are taking place in many countries, including Serbia. We talked to MILAN ĆULIBRK, Editor-in-Chief of NIN weekly
Serbia is facing another election year, with certain political parties announcing an election boycott. How good or bad can that be? Can it change the current situation?
The decision, made by part of the opposition, to boycott the April 26 elections will unfortunately not help to reduce the growing tensions in society and the political arena. On the contrary, polarization will continue after the election, where the winner is known in advance. This will surely be exacerbated by the election campaign because if the morning shows the day, ends will justify the means in fighting to win over the voters. Although the Alliance for Serbia and Sergej Trifunović’s PSG have decided to boycott the election even before the official decision was made, the SNS is directing its main attacks at that part of the opposition, which just goes to show that the SNS considers them to be their main political competitors and not those they will stand against in the election. This ‘battle’ will probably continue even after polling stations are closed, which will certainly not contribute to the much-needed stabilization.
In the light of the latest turbulences in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, as well as the elections in Kosovo and Croatia, what are the region’s prospects?
Unfortunately, the relations in the region are more reminiscent of the 1990s. The US pressure on authorities in Priština is likely to contribute to the abolition of customs duties on imported goods from Serbia and Bosnia after which it would not come as a surprise if the US administration exerts pressure on Belgrade, which President Vučić indicated it would happen in some way. At the same time, since the adoption of the controversial Law on Freedom of Religion, the Belgrade-Podgorica relations have hit the lowest point since Montenegro’s declaration of independence. The absurdity is all the greater when we believed, until recently, that the two presidents, Vučić and Djukanović, had good personal relations, which could not be said for the relations between Vučić and the new president of Croatia. The situation in BIH is becoming increasingly complicated following the announcement by Milorad Dodik that the Republic of Srpska might hold a referendum on separation. North Macedonia is also facing elections. Unless Brussels sends a clear enough signal to all WB countries that the door to the EU is still wide open for them, the future could be very uncertain. And without the certain future, the whole region will need decades of stable and dynamic economic growth to somewhat close the gap between them and the economically developed countries of Western Europe