Comment 10 Nov 17

What Kind of Neutrality does Serbia Want?

At a time when ‘neutrality’ can be just a cover for close ties to Russia, Serbia must start an open debate about what this concept truly means in the Balkan context.

Vesko Garcevic
BIRN
Podgorica
Aleksandar Vucic speaking on the 100th anniversary of Finish independence. Photo: BETAPHOTO/MILAN OBRADOVIC/DS

Some weeks ago, I came across an article in Politico, addressing an old Finnish dilemma – whether or not to join NATO.

Hannu Himanen, Finland’s former ambassador to Russia until 2016, was quoted as saying that Finland “deserves an open debate when it comes to foreign and security policy”.

In his opinion, Finnish politicians deliberately avoid a candid debate about this sensitive issue, being concerned about their political future if they openly advocated Finland’s inclusion in NATO.

Finland and Sweden, both states that do not belong to any security organization, have, however, intensively cooperated with NATO for years. Both have joined NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and, in their case, NATO is very interested in getting them fully on board, as members.

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