Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Vučić Scandalises the Region with Revelations about a Plot against Montenegro

Adelina Marini, October 25, 2016

After a short break, we return again to reviewing the press in the countries of former Yugoslavia. Today, we singled out two hot topics – the refugee crisis, which made first page of the Croatian Vecernji list, and the thwarted attempt in Serbia for executing a terrorist attack in Montenegro, which is among the topics of most media in the region, including in Macedonia. At a press conference last night, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić announced that several people were apprehended in Serbia because of illegal actions aimed at Montenegro, including surveillance on the Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, reports Serbian national television RTS. Money and uniforms were found in the apprehended people’s possession. The Serbian PM admitted that in Serbia there is an increase of the activity of intelligence agencies from both Eastern and Western countries. 

The TV channel quotes Mr Vučić, who stated that it does not matter what the personal price that he will have to pay is, but Serbia will prosecute those "who think they are allowed to give operative data to foreign embassy personnel”. Vučić also said that some people are unable to respect small freedom-loving nations and do not distinguish between the large ones. He did refuse, however, to name the agencies envisaged. Danas newspaper is more specific in reporting that among the apprehended is a high-ranking official from the Serbian Criminal Police, who has been giving information to foreign agencies. The curious thing is that Vučić has stated that in this case it is not important whether the apprehended people will be sent to prison, but that their plans were thwarted. 

Some media in Montenegro replied with a song. Predrag Lucić composed a poem for the Montenegro office of Deutsche Welle, quoted by Vijesti, which begins so: “You have no idea, my Milo, who is playing you, who took euro to deal with you. You don’t know how much a foreign power paid to film the reality show ‘Not a day without Milo’”. The song ends with: “Now that you know who’s got your back, who’s your true friend, are you ready for a new reality like back in the day, two eyes on the head?”. The expression “two eyes on the head” is used in the region as a metaphor for the former union between Montenegro and Serbia. 

According to Cafe Del Montenegro, there was a terrorist attack on Montenegro soil being planned in Serbia. Most comments in Montenegrin media are diverse – some are ironic, hinting at a well played move by Milo Đukanović, while others are more serious. The subject is tackled by Macedonian Utrinski vesnik as well, which reports that there was a plot against Montenegro being prepared in Serbia. 

The subject is totally missing from Croatian media, where the headlines are about the new government, headed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the first quakes due to the upcoming resignation of a minister without portfolio, Goran Marić. Vecernji list’s headline, however, is occupied by a different subject: “Turkey will start letting refugees towards the EU”. The newspaper’s correspondent reports from Ankara that Turkey will no longer detain the refugees, who are attempting to cross the Aegean sea in order to get to Europe. The newspaper quotes the adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister Mehmet Akarca, who stated that Turkey has kept its part of the deal with the EU, but the Union has defaulted on visa liberalisation. The newspaper further reports that Slovenia is already busy preparing to build again wire fences along its border with Croatia. Bulgaria is also planning on building an additional 100 kilometres wire fence along its border with Greece and Turkey, for it fears a new wave of migrants from Turkey, reports Vecernji

The Turkish subject is present in the other highest circulated newspaper in Croatia, Jutarnji list. Newspaper columnist Inoslav Bešker writes about the ambitions of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a re-Ottomanisation. “Erdoğan’s ambitions are great and are now evident – Neo-Ottomanism” is the headline of Bešker’s commentary. Turkey is not guided by care for a Turkish national minority, but rather by "historic borders”. This is an adventurist concept, which has rendered damage to Croatia, behind which stands real policy of spheres of influence, re-Ottomanisation, intervention in former territories, writes the author. He is concerned that Bosnia and Herzegovina will once again turn into a key to stability and peace in Europe. 

Serbian Blic reminds in a lengthy commentary what Serbia’s commitments are under Article 35 of the EU membership negotiations, which covers relations with Kosovo. Text author Lana Gedošević writes that Serbia has 13 benchmarks to implement in the Kosovo dialogue with the negotiations growing more complex and difficult every day. In her opinion, the 13 points that need to be implemented so that negotiations could go forward are the union of Serbian municipalities, energy, telecommunications, elections (Serbia is expected to quit financing and supporting Serbian political structures), police force (payment of pensions to the members of the Serbian police force in Kosovo), justice, civil protection, liaison officers, customs office, freedom of movement, regional cooperation, recognition of university degrees, cooperation with the EU civil mission in Kosovo EULEX.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev

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