On October 8, civilian security exercises known as “Serbia 2018” began in the Serbian towns of Mladenovac, Sopot, and Arandjelovac. Serbia was designated the “host country” of exercises organised by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) in co-operation with the Sector for Emergency Situations of Serbia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The President of Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, has visited Mladenovac in the company of NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg and made the following statement: “I want to thank the Secretary General for his support in organizing this exercise and for the fact that he never wanted to influence Serbia’s independent decision to remain neutral”.
The truth is, however, completely different. Serbia is neutral country, yet its authorities have signed many documents that bind her with NATO. A good example of the pro-Atlantic policy is the Treaty, ratified by Serbian Parliament and NSPA (NATO Support and Procurement Agency) in 2016, that provides logistic and material support from the Serbian side, immunity for NSPA officers and officials and freedom of their moving through the country.
Bit by bit — through an entirely unconstitutional process — Vučić’s regime is pulling Serbia towards NATO, despite the fact that 83 % of population is against NATO and wants to maintain the country’s neutrality.
The will of the citizens is frowned upon by Vučić, just like it was the case of “successful” referendum in neighbouring Republic of Northern Macedonia, where only 36% of the population voted (mostly for joining the NATO) while the rest of the country boycotted the referendum.
Such anti-democratic imperialism and militarisation of the region has to be stopped. To do so, we must support both Balkan and European progressives for the basic principle at the core of DiEM25: democracy — to respect the will and the needs of the people in these countries against the interests of the oligarchs. It’s time for change.
Aleksandar Novaković, historian and dramatist, member of Thematic DSC Military and Foreign Policy 1
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