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"Boris and Nicolas Are Redrawing Europe"

Published on 30 September 2016 14:20, Adelina Marini, Zagreb, Twitter: @AdelinaMarini
Last change on 30 September 2016 14:20

This is the headline of a commentary in today’s edition of the Serbian newspaper Politika. Due to the lack of serious regional and internal scandals, many of the large newspapers in the region are dealing today with … European issues. “Will Europe give birth to its Donald Trump following America’s example, or even two of them?”, asks the commentary’s author Zorana Šuvaković. In her opinion, there are many who find parallels between the contender in the French presidential election next year Nicolas Sarkozy and Donald Trump. Even Prime Minister Manuel Valls recently mentioned the Trump-isation of France and the minister of environment made a similar comparison before him. Otherwise media, writes Šuvaković, call Sarkozy “Trump à la française” because of his populist turn to the right and his rude statements, which are supposed to grant him the support of the low educated part of the French population. 

The other favourite for the European Trump, according to the author, is the British foreign affairs minister Boris Johnson, who used to scare people during the Brexit campaign with the possible EU membership of Turkey and now officially supports the said membership. “What will happen to Europe and how will it be redrawn if its future is decided by politicians of two large and powerful states? Nicolas Sarkozy supports Turkey staying in Asia and Great Britain returning to Europe. Johnson is for Great Britain exiting Europe and Turkey entering”, further writes Zorana Šuvaković.

While waiting for the resolution of the coalition negotiations between the HDZ and MOST NL in Croatia, where there already starts to appear tension, Croatian media turn their eyes towards Europe. In a commentary for Jutarnji list, Gojko Drljača asks whether the next step of the monetary “visionaries” will be helicopter money. In his opinion, the times of extremely low and negative interest rates, created with the help of “a large bureaucratic intervention by central banks” can easily end in an era of very high interest rates, or even the handing out of money. Mario Draghi is beginning to feel it that his policy does not work, so he began touring the continent explaining that it needs the support of structural reforms, pointed at productivity, writes Gojko Drljača. 

The main goal of the quantitative easing programme (QE), combined with a policy of low interest rates everywhere, was assisting fiscally irresponsible authorities or the even more irresponsible financial sector circles. The goal was masked with care about GDP growth, the unemployed and the poor, continues the author. 

Vecernji reports in today’s edition that Croatia has received a warning from the European Commission for running late with the development of the digital market and the over expensive fast internet. The newspaper quotes the Croatian national television, according to which the EC wants internet costs in Croatia to drop by 30%. As a user of internet in the country I can say that I share the Commission’s concerns in the assessment that internet in Croatia is too expensive, but instead it is terribly slow. What is even worse is that due to the lack of any real competition in the market, getting connected to the internet could take months. The Commission warns Zagreb for one more thing – Croatia has still not provided automatic transfer of data for DNA, fingerprints, and automobile registrations, which is part of the fight against terrorism. Croatia is lagging behind in this paragraph together with Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Portugal. 

The fifth day after the referendum in Republika Srpska (BiH)

The subject has practically dropped out of Croatian media attention and of the Bosnian as well, but it remains relatively high on the list of priorities of Serbian media. Serbian state television RTS reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dačić said in the course of a multi-hour debate in the foreign affairs committee of the Skupština that Serbia never supported the referendum of the Bosnian Serbs, but neither will it support sanctions against Republika Srpska, because this is not realistic. “We will not allow someone to play with Dayton. Those, who have been asking for Dayton 2 for 10 years, are now protectors of Dayton and it turns out that Republika Srpska is the one destroying it”, said Dačić. 

Blic, on the other hand, published a lengthy article, in which, not clear why, there is a discussion of the legal options of preserving the name of the Serbian BiH entity. Under the headline of “While there is Dayton, there will be Srpska as well”, the newspaper writes that the BiH Constitution is protecting the Serbs from the “blows” of the Bosniak politicians. According to Blic, this is the answer of politicians and experts to a possible “new Bosniak blow” at RS, which could be embodied in a request for a Constitutional Court ruling on the constitutional compliance of the entity’s name. “The name of RS as an entity has long been a thorn in the foot of Bosniak nationalists and this subject has once more become current after the Constitutional Court of BiH encouraged such actions, contesting January 9th as Day of the Republic. In case a miracle happens and the judges contest the name of RS, it would draw BiH in a yet unseen political crisis, because it would hit at the foundations of the peace agreement itself”, writes Blic. 

In Bosnia and Herzegovina itself they have other worries. Klix reports that BiH prosecution has no idea where it will hold the Milorad Dodik hearing, after officially calling him for an interview because of the referendum. The reason is that Dodik stated that he will honour the invitation, but only on RS territory. His arguments are that he does not feel safe in Sarajevo and he fears for his physical security. 

Beyond these problems, which hide within them the huge problem with the very statehood of BiH itself, the country’s discourse is already on a different level. In his column for 6YKA, Miodrag Živanović reasons on the political transformation of Milorad Dodik, but reveals the depth of political problems in the country, something that is discussed in Montenegro as well, but a bit later on that. “Political parties, since at least ten years ago, have been separated based on ethnic origin. They exist and function as Bosniak, Serb, and Croat ones. Everything is totally levelled. Today, there are no more nationalists (because nationalism has turned into the natural state of the political and societal conscience in general), nor are there social democrats, liberals, or even racists or fascists. We seem not to be attractive even to the latter two”, writes Miodrag Živanović.

Regarding Dodik, he is not a nationalist, nor a social democrat, liberal, or stalinist. He is, in fact, a technologist of power. This problem is especially pronounced in Republika Srpska, continues the author, where the political competition between the position and the opposition revolves around everyone showing themselves as a greater Serb and mightier protector of RS. A Montenegrin blogger reasons on a similar problem, his  text being reprinted by the most sold daily newspaper in the country, Vijesti. “The voter’s task is winning a party and not the party winning them”. The author dedicated his text to the choice available to minorities in Montenegro, more specifically the Bosniaks. Ever since the introduction of the multi-party system, he writes, Bosniaks have simply had no choice.

They have always voted under duress and much larger than other communities in Montenegro at that. During the 90’s, they voted under the duress of pure physical survival. Later, under the fear transferred to them that the 90’s will come back. This fear was fuelled by the regime, and perhaps (un)intentionally by the opposition as well. After the switch of the regime, not being with Đukanović, who turned from accessory to war crimes into a democrat overnight, meant you are a traitor. 

The Russian shadow on Montenegro​

Understanding that nothing in Montenegro is what it looks like, Pobjeda newspaper ran a huge material, entitled “The Russian shadow. Elections: the third big battle for Montenegro”. According to the daily, elections on October 16 are the last big battle for the true independence of Montenegro. The newspaper writes that the letter of Sergei Jelezniak, a high-ranking functionary of Putin’s United Russia, in which he demands the creation of a “United opposition of Montenegro”, reveals that the rude interventions of the Kremlin in the affairs of the sovereign state of Montenegro have entered a new, even more brutal phase. 

The repertoire of the Russian imperial policy towards Montenegro is quite diverse: open financial, diplomatic, propaganda, even intelligence support is granted to the anti-Western, pan-Slavonic and Greater-Serbian parties, the Serbian Orthodox Church, anti-NATO NGOs and media, and also the so called independent newspapers and TV channels with pro-NATO rhetoric and American capital, as well as influential NGOs, which have millions in grants from the EU and America. Russian special warfare experts, retired KGB officers, aided by experts from Israel, have the goal of instilling a sense of feebleness and fear in public opinion regarding NATO, writes Pobjeda.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev

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