Sitemap

Jelena Puzović, Ph.D., Head of the JVP Srbijavode Public Relations and International Cooperation Sector

Serbia Must Ensure the Conservation of the Precious Resource That is Water

Public Water Management Company Srbijavode engages in numerous activities aimed at overcoming the challenges brought by climate change – implementing projects to develop and...

Uroš Đorđević, Account Executive, Dell Technologies

Pioneer in the New Era of Digital Tech

Dell Technologies is a corporation that’s oriented towards technological innovation and keeps pace with technological trends in every sense, which includes AI Speaking in this...

Ana Toskić Cvetinović, Executive Director, Partners for Democratic Change Serbia

The Rule of Law is Vital Ana

Partners Serbia is an organisation that’s dedicated to advancing the rule of law and developing civil society and institutions in Serbia and around the...

Ioanna Batsialou Ph.D., Director and Owner of the Ioanna Regen Polyclinic

Passion is Key to this Job

Ioanna Batsialou Ph.D. is the director and owner of the Ioanna Regen Polyclinic, which specialises in physical medicine, rehabilitation, mesotherapy, aesthetics and anti-aging treatments Our...

Maja Marić, Country Manager Operations, CPI Property Group

Retail Parks Remain Fashionable

A key part of the company culture at CPI Property Group Serbia, which forms part of a family firm that was founded in the...

Strahinja Subotić, researcher at the European Policy Centre - CEP

Zero-Sum Game And Covid-19

The now famous statement of the president of Serbia that European solidarity is just “a fairy tale on paper” has caused a shift of gears in the geopolitical competition. In this game, as China grows, so the eu loses, but also Russia.

A zero-sum game is most often defined as a situation in which the gani of one player corresponds to the loss of another or other players. In the context of geopolitics and Serbia, this game has increased in intensity since Serbian decision-makers imposed the state of emergency as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They then revealed their cards when it comes to their cooperation with external actors. It was the pandemic in particular that revealed that this is actually a situation in which one player cannot win without the other simultaneously losing. So, in this game, as China grows, so the EU loses, but also Russia.

Specifically, the now famous statement of the President of Serbia that European solidarity is just “a fairy tale on paper” has caused a shift of gears in the geopolitical competition. In this context, China has emerged as the main winner and the EU is the main loser. On the one hand, this showed that distant China is actually very close, because it showed a readiness to increase its presence and an ability to project its influence in Serbia. On the other hand, if times of crisis show who can be trusted, the European Union then certainly gleaned that Serbia is not a credible partner, especially considering that its president kissed the Chinese flag during the reception of medical care from a country that’s characterised by the EU as a “systemic rival”. This is also recognised by the European Commission in its report on Serbia that was published in October 2020, in which it points out that during the time of the pandemic Serbia has had rhetoric that’s distinctly pro-Chinese and simultaneously Eurosceptic.

In realising that Serbia views the European perspective through the prism of transactions, and not through a pattern of values, the EU attempted to increase its geopolitical engagement and media visibility by announcing a stronger influx of investment. The key measures adopted by the EU in order to increase its level of influence are the financial assistance package of €3.3 billion for the Western Balkans in response to the pandemic, as well as the €9 billion Economic Investment Plan (in the period from 2021 to 2027). Regardless of that, for now the extent to which this will succeed in restoring the shaken position of the EU remains questionable, considering that none of that deserved the significant attention of Serbian officials and the media. In contrast to that, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s confirmation of his visit to Serbia means that Serbian-Chinese relations are only expected to continue growing.

The pandemic revealed that europeanism in Serbia is just a thoughtful noun and that the EU will remain a geopolitical loser without more active engagement

However, geopolitical competition during the time of the pandemic didn’t only damage the image of the EU, but also the interests of Russia. Although it has long been considered that China and Russia can develop their influence in Serbia in parallel – Russia in terms of soft power and China in the economic domain – the pandemic showed that Russia is no longer the “favourite” foreign partner of Serbia’s decision makers. In other words, by shaping the official public discourse with the idea of “fraternity” with China, the president of China, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, while at the same time pushing Russian medical aid to background, Serbian officials made it clear to Russia that it no longer enjoys the same degree of importance as was the case during the past decade. Moreover, this also represents an attempt to reshape Serbian public opinion, in which Russia has traditionally enjoyed very high support, while China has generally lagged behind. Surveys show that this strategy has borne fruit.

Namely, the survey that was published by the Institute for European Affairs in March 2020 shows that a majority believe China is the largest donor to Serbia, with that number having doubled compared to the same survey conducted a year prior. In the same poll, the number of those wConsidering all of theseho view Russia as thel argest donor fell by ten percentage points. Additionally, a survey published by the Faculty of Political Science in May 2020 shows that, when it comes to the impact of international aid on fighting the virus, most respondents believe that Chinese medical care is of the utmost importance, placing Russia in second place. The same research shows that the number of respondents who believe that Serbian foreign policy should be more closely liked to China than Russia also rose by a few percentage points. Although Russia still has significant capital in Serbia, as a result of a high level of soft power, these statistics indicate that even Russia won’t be able to continue to acting towards Serbia in auto-pilot mode.

Considering all of these changes, which happened in a relatively short period, it is important to point out that the pandemic itself didn’t lead to a change in the geopolitical balance of power; it only revealed, or actually accelerated, what was already happening on the ground. Serbian-Chinese cooperation has been on the rise since 2009, when a strategic partnership was signed between the two countries, and it has produced the economic benefits that Serbian officials had been hoping it would. In contrast to this, the issue of Kosovo’s unresolved status remains a key determinant in Serbian-Russian relations. In that light, the more Belgrade shows a willingness to compromise on dialogue with Priština, the more murmurings there will be in relations with Moscow, especially bearing in mind that this issue is a key source of its blackmailing capital. Finally, the pandemic also revealed that Europeanism in Serbia is just a thoughtful noun and that the EU wlil remain a geopolitical loser without more active engagement.

Slađana Prica, retired ambassador, member of the Forum for International Relations and honorary president of the UNA of Serbia

Diplomatic Response Overdue

The issue of the so-called ‘self-proclaimed’ Kosovo joining Europe’s oldest political organisation has long been an open question. Attempts have been made and lobbying...

Slobodan G. Markovich, Institute for European Studies and Faculty of Political Science

U.S. Elections More Critical for EU Future than EP Elections

While the EU’s right-wing parties are expected to make gains, these gains shouldn’t be expected to substantially alter the composition of the Parliament or...

Ivana Radić Milosavljević, Assistant Professor in European Studies at the University of Belgrade - Faculty of Political Sciences

Not all Right-Wing Parties are Likeminded

The outcome of the European Parliament election is unlikely to cause a dramatic shift in EU policy, particularly foreign policy, but it could hamper...

Rajko Petrović, Research Associate at the Institute of European Studies

The EU Idea is Stronger than the Outcome of Less Important Elections

The electorate’s shift to the right won’t change the nature and essence of the idea of the European Union, and thus neither will it...

DM Celebrates 20 Years of Business in Serbia

On the occasion of its significant anniversary, two decades of successful operations in Serbia, dm drogerie markt organised a...

New Joint Venture Forms to Revolutionize Balkan Logistics

In a strategic move to enhance logistics operations in the Western Balkans, Transfera, a leading logistics company in the...

Concept Mercedes-AMG PureSpeed

Exciting, energising and breathtaking – the Mercedes‑AMG PureSpeed concept is the highlight in the run-up to the Formula 1™...

Western Balkans Chambers of Commerce Sign Tourism Cooperation Memorandum in US Congress

A landmark Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed at the US Congress, uniting the Chambers of Commerce of the...

Serbia Ascends as Key Trade Partner for Germany

Serbia is set to become a net exporter to Germany by 2025, overtaking its imports from the economic powerhouse,...

Concept Mercedes-AMG PureSpeed

Exciting, energising and breathtaking – the Mercedes‑AMG PureSpeed concept is the highlight in the run-up to the Formula 1™...

Western Balkans Chambers of Commerce Sign Tourism Cooperation Memorandum in US Congress

A landmark Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed at the US Congress, uniting the Chambers of Commerce of the...

EU Sets Global Standard with World’s First Artificial Intelligence Act

The European Union has taken a pioneering step by adopting the world's first Artificial Intelligence Act, setting a potential...

Montenegro’s Independence Day Celebrated

Celebrating Montenegro's Independence Day with an Exhibition on Montenegrin Cyrillic Printing from the 15th and 16th Centuries. In commemoration of...

Business Event Hosts Serbian Employment Service Presentation

In Belgrade on the 15th of May, the Slovenian Business Club, in collaboration with the National Employment Service of...

Concept Mercedes-AMG PureSpeed

Exciting, energising and breathtaking – the Mercedes‑AMG PureSpeed concept is the highlight in the run-up to the Formula 1™...

Western Balkans Chambers of Commerce Sign Tourism Cooperation Memorandum in US Congress

A landmark Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed at the US Congress, uniting the Chambers of Commerce of the...

EU Sets Global Standard with World’s First Artificial Intelligence Act

The European Union has taken a pioneering step by adopting the world's first Artificial Intelligence Act, setting a potential...

Montenegro’s Independence Day Celebrated

Celebrating Montenegro's Independence Day with an Exhibition on Montenegrin Cyrillic Printing from the 15th and 16th Centuries. In commemoration of...

Business Event Hosts Serbian Employment Service Presentation

In Belgrade on the 15th of May, the Slovenian Business Club, in collaboration with the National Employment Service of...
spot_img