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News 03 Mar 17

Serbian Radical MPs Boo EU Foreign Policy Chief

The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini managed to deliver her speech to the Serbian parliament despite constant interruptions from hardline nationalist Serbian Radical Party MPs.

Natalia Zaba
BIRN
Belgrade
Federica Mogherini (left) and the president of the National Assembly Maja Gojkovic. Photo: Beta

Mogherini delivered a speech to parliament in Belgrade on Friday despite booing by the MPs from the Serbian Radical Party who shouted: “Serbia, Russia, we don’t need the EU.”

MPs from the far-right Dveri members meanwhile held up posters with the slogans: “Serbia doesn’t believe in Brussels.”

Mogherini however encouraged Serbian lawmakers to continue pursuing EU membership.

“Serbia has done so much, and now you can continue doing the same. You can be a partner for stability and help your country to progress in EU integration,” she said.

Mogherini said that Serbia’s role was “crucial” in a region that suffered from ethnic polarisation.

“You have a great responsibility. Serbia has always been placed on the crossroads of different worlds,” she said.

The booing was instigated by the head of the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, who was acquitted of war crimes by the Hague Tribunal last year and is now running for the Serbian presidency in polls on April 2.

 

This isn't the first time that Serbian Radical Party members and Dveri have disrupted presentations by senior EU officials in parliament.

In November 2016, the head of the EU delegation to Serbia, Michael Davenport, was unable to present an EU report on Serbia’s progress because of the right-wingers’ obstruction.

The special parliament session was held on the initiative of Mogherini, who is visiting Serbia as a part of a Balkan tour, which started on Wednesday in Montenegro and will end on Saturday in Tirana.

The EU's foreign policy chief is visiting all the Western Balkan countries in a bid to ease tensions and encourage reforms.

In Serbia, she is meeting Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, opposition presidential candidates Vuk Jeremic and Sasa Jankovic, as well as government heads and opposition MPs.

Mogherini is expected to brief EU foreign ministers on the visit at the Foreign Affairs Council on March 6.

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