Comment 16 Jun 16

Vucic Hits a Crisis With His ‘Western Friends’

The Serbian PM is finding his East-West balancing act increasingly hard to maintain.

Milan Misic
BIRN
Belgrade
 Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic on meeting with EU and US Ambassadors. Photo: Beta 

It was to be expected, but it is happening rather sooner than later: Serbia’s delicate balancing act between West and East [Russia and, to the lesser extent, China] can be a tactical posture, but is not a long-term strategic option.

Proof of this came this week, after Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic abruptly cancelled scheduled visits to Brussels and New York and after a tense meeting with the head of EU mission in Serbia and the US ambassador, Michael Davenport and Kyle Scott.

No word of “crisis” was mentioned in the official release on their talks, but there were many indications that something serious is brewing in relations between the Serbian leader and his “Western friends”.

So far, Vucic has been eager to use every opportunity to show his pro-EU stand and to travel to both Brussels and Washington.

[He was to have been the most important passenger on Air Serbia’s inaugural flight to New York, where he was supposed to meet Samantha Power, member of Barack Obama’s cabinet].

What prompted him to demonstrate his anger, and allow a photographer to snap a scene that showed all three participants in Monday’s talks visibly upset?

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