While Brussels is reluctant to the countries of the Western Balkans closer to the EU closer, is the Kremlin. For example, in Serbia. They show mostly in the joyful expectation.
At first glance, a routine visit. The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will fly to Belgrade. This Sunday, the Serbs celebrate the liberation of their capital city from the German occupation troops 75 years ago. In this Offensive in the Second world war, thousands of soldiers of the Red army were killed. This is in addition to the common Orthodox Faith, one of the reasons why until today the Serbs feel emotionally connected with Russians and Ukrainians. Serbia’s Opposition has already announced to boycott the speech of Medvedev in Parliament. But that has little to do with the guest. Rather, this is once again the Protest against the authoritarian governing President Alexander Vucic.
Wants especially on economic issues, the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev speak:
Medvedev will address in his Belgrade Visit to economic issues, the Moscow journalist and Balkan expert Ivan Preobrazhensky, opposite the Deutsche Welle. In may 2014, Moscow and Belgrade have entered into a strategic partnership. The Premier particularly interested in progress in the construction of the 402-Kilometer-long Pipeline, which runs from Turkey through Bulgaria to Serbia (“Turkish Stream”). You should provide, as Moscow, the countries of the Western Balkans. It has a capacity of 12,87 billion cubic meters of Gas per year. In the Kremlin expect that the Serbian section will be completed as planned, by the end of this year, says Preobrazhensky. Problems with laying there but in Bulgaria. The Russian resource giant Gazprom does not want to use the Pipeline itself, must possess he, according to EU law, however.
No cheese from Holland
Particularly important, Medvedev is Prime Minister, the signing of a free trade agreement between Serbia and the Eurasian economic Union, Oleg Bondarenko, the Russian “Foundation for progressive politics”. Products from Serbia would have easier access to countries such as Belarus and the Central Asian republics. Serbia benefits now that the EU is not allowed to sell their Agricultural and food products to Russia. This is a consequence of the mutual sanctions between Brussels and Moscow in the last five years. In the super-market shelves of St. Petersburg or Vladivostok, no cheese is sold from Holland, but from Serbia. In order to seal the free trade agreement, continues Serbia’s Minister-President Anna Brnabic five days after the visit of her Russian counterpart in Moscow, so Bondarenko. Russia treat Serbia continue to be preferred. This was a Signal to the EU, writes Ivan Preobrazhensky. The Kremlin show that it has not only military, but also through economic means to maintain its influence abroad.
New US special envoy for Kosovo and Serbia: Richard Grenell
According to experts, one of the topics that will discuss the Russian head of government in Belgrade will be the Status of Kosovo. “The visit of Medvedev, is that Russia and Serbia are once again the commitment to stop using its Veto in the UN security Council that the breakaway province of Kosovo is a UN recognised state,” said Dusan Reljic from the Foundation for science and politics in Brussels. For Belgrade, this support in the negotiations with Pristina and the West was very important.
Kosovo Albanians and Serbs at the negotiating table?
Especially now. Because since the beginning of October, the US government is taking a new attempt to get Kosovo Albanians and Serbs to the negotiating table. To convey to the US Ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell. This task as a special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo, he had requested from the White house, say insiders. Earlier, the 52 year-old, says media reports to the vacant Post of national security adviser in the White house effort was in vain. “President Trump will be elected in the coming year, and for that he needs foreign policy successes,” analyzed Bondarenko. Russia could live with a division of Kosovo, he says. Prerequisite: Belgrade and Pristina would have to agree by consensus to an agreement, and the security Council of the UN would have to.
So far, the Kremlin considers the new US Initiative in the Balkans with mistrust. Grenell had spoken out in the past with sharp words against the Expansion of the Nord Stream Baltic sea Pipeline 2, a prestigious project in Moscow. The Federal government was not put under pressure. You will continue to support the construction. The first details of the meeting of Grenell with the President of Serbia, Alexander Vucic, a few days ago suggest that the disagreements remain. Vucic has praised the Serbian-Russian relations. You its excellent. He was looking forward to the Meeting with Medvedev, it said in the Serbian media.