Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Prague that Croatia said itself that it takes credit for the fact that the Western Balkans countries are not exempt from European Union’s (EU) sanctions banning the import of Russian oil, and added that Zagreb is just doing its job, the same one “it has been doing since 1941.”
The Serbian President noted that Serbia had asked for the Western Balkans to be exempt from EU’s ban on Russian oil imports and that this was included in EU’s draft decision, but “then our neighbors boasted” that they take credit for the fact that this did not happen.
“Some EU countries were exempt, like Bulgaria, Hungary…not Serbia. Croatia was just doing its job, the one it has been doing for decades,” said Vucic prior to the beginning of the summit in Prague, and accused Croatian media of making up his statement that Zagreb is to blame.
“I repeat. Croatia was just doing its job which it has been doing since 1942. Croatia is just doing its job, everything it did in the past 70, 80 years. I am not laying blame, at all,” said the Serbian President arguing with Croatian journalists.
Asked why he holds Croatia responsible when Serbia is the one refusing to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Vucic said that Zagreb will not conduct Belgrade’s policy.
“It will be conducted by the citizens of Serbia through their freely elected representatives, and against all those who think they can impose their will on Serbia,” said Vucic, adding he was proud that Serbia is, as he said, a libertarian country that makes its own decisions.
He said his response in today’s meetings with European officials in Prague will be “decent, responsible, serious and far-reaching” and dismissed the possibility of negotiations on Serbia’s EU membership being suspended.
A meeting of the European Political Community is under way in Prague, with 44 countries participating. The Serbian President’s office said that Vucic will also have bilateral meetings with French President Emanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said earlier in the day that the “introduction of sanctions” against Serbia by the EU in the energy sector, at Croatia’s “explicit request” and on the basis of “its ultimatum”, directly causes hundreds of millions of Euros worth of damages to Serbia and its citizens.