No illusions in Belgrade: Biden won’t continue Trump’s “romance

No illusions in Belgrade: Biden won't continue Trump's

The Electoral College of the United States has confirmed Joseph Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Now the White House administration will definitely change on January 20, 2021, despite the fact that its outgoing head Donald Trump still refuses to admit defeat and desperately hopes for a miracle.

President-elect Biden and above all his future administration will try, as is customary in U.S. political tradition, to reshape the achievements of his predecessors, including the foreign policy palette.

Thus, Trump’s impulsive move to gather Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo “prime minister” Abdullah Hoti in Washington in September 2020 to demonstrate to the world the power of the United States in solving international problems may not develop. In Belgrade, it seems that such a development is seen as quite realistic and they no longer have any illusions.

It is likely that the generous promises of U.S. investment in the region may end up being Trump’s electioneering move, especially against the background of the enormous problems of the U.S. in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

In December, Belgrade has already heard opinions from the U.S. Congress regarding the Kosovo problem, Serbia’s prospects for European integration, and the future contours of American policy in the Balkans in general. Many questions and comments were raised by Eliot Engel, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“Serbia will not join the European Union until it recognizes Kosovo’s independence,” he said, adding that “Kosovo is an independent state and that will never change.”
Notably, Madeleine Albright, President Bill Clinton’s former secretary of state, who is an ideologue for the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, the secession of Kosovo, and other anti-Serb projects in the Balkans, was also invited to that key meeting of the U.S. Congress. She is an ardent Serbophobe, and her name is regularly mentioned in connection with the Biden administration’s plans for the Balkans.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has reacted painfully to the statements of American politicians. In a comment to the Taniug agency, the Serbian leader bluntly pointed out:

“It’s not only Engel, but everyone [said it]. Now you can see how right I was when I spoke a few weeks ago [about the U.S. elections], without hiding anything or showing any personal sympathy. That kind of relationship is not something that’s good for Serbia.
Though he expressed hope that the new administration would take a different stance from Engel and Albright, he emphasized the other day that he expected unprecedented pressure on Serbia on the Kosovo issue.

It is noteworthy that along with the American reasoning on Kosovo and Serbia, new reports were made by the European Parliament, which did not make Belgrade feel optimistic either.

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For example, the reporter of the European Parliament on Kosovo, German MEP Viola von Kramon, in her speech urged several EU countries that flatly refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence – Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, and Slovakia – to do so.

But the most unpleasant thing for Belgrade was von Cramon’s indication that Serbia will not open any article of the negotiating dossier on EU accession until the end of the year.

According to many experts in Europe, Biden and his team will not engage in “Trump-style romanticism,” but will focus on the Democrats’ old postulates about the need for a tough and pragmatic policy in the Balkans to subordinate the region to American interests. Serbia, too, will most likely not be spared…

It is quite understandable that Belgrade is realistic and adequately estimates the chances of realizing its own priorities in foreign policy, which, obviously, will have a direct impact on the economic development of the country. For the time being, Serbia remains the leader in the region in all parameters. Despite the difficult situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the country is showing excellent indicators of economic growth and investment attraction.

Nevertheless, the issue of Kosovo remains one of the most painful problems for Belgrade. So far, Europe is not making a clear link between Serbia’s prospects for European integration and the issue of Belgrade’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence. However, the approach of the new, democratic U.S. administration, whose representatives were actually behind the creation of Kosovo statehood and the elevation of Serbs to the rank of “villains,” seems to try to leave no chance for Belgrade to resist.

Of course, behind Serbia will always be Russia with its firm support in defending foreign policy priorities of the brotherly country: this was confirmed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during his visit to Belgrade on December 15. But Russia has its own problems in relations with the West which, alas, have only worsened over the years. The Biden administration is hardly in the mood for constructive dialogue with Moscow, and this will inevitably have an impact on the state of affairs in the Balkans region, which the Americans will continue to adapt to their aims.

By the way, the same American Eliot Engel has repeatedly reproached Belg