analysis 14 Mar 16

Serbia Finds Juggling NATO and Russia a Struggle

Serbia’s recent agreement with NATO has angered nationalists and unsettled its Russian ally - and raises questions about whether its doctrine of military neutrality is still sustainable.

Dusica Tomovic, Sasa Dragojlo
BIRN
Belgrade
Anti-NATO protest on February 20 in Belgrade | Photo: Facebook

Protesting against Serbian government's recent agreement with NATO and its continued EU aspirations, leader of Serbian radicals and war crimes defendant Vojislav Seselj on Thursday burned the EU and NATO flags in front of Belgrade’s Special Court.

This action reflected a fierce public debate which is taking place in Serbia after its government has taken a step closer to NATO by granting freedom of movement and immunity to NATO troops.

The atmosphere in Serbia is also heated up by the early election campaign ahead of the local and parliamentarian elections that are scheduled for April 24.

Without much public debate, parliament on February 13 ratified an agreement with NATO’s Support and Procurement Organization, NSPO, granting NATO members diplomatic immunity and freedom of movement.  President Tomislav Nikolic signed the agreement into law a week later.¸

After burning the EU and NATO flags, Seselj told journalists that signing of this agreement meant that "Serbia has lost its neutrality."

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