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A rightful candidacy A rightful candidacy
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-12-23 09:49:24
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And at last it came Serbia’s turn to apply for an EU membership. It seems that this was the last act of the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as EU president to accept Serbia’s application from President Boris Tadic. The timing was perfect since from the 19th of December the Serbs can travel all around Europe without visa opening a strong trade pact for the long and for the wrong reasons isolated country.

Oddly Serbia has been isolated the last two decades and all that thanks to Milosevic. The Serbian people unfairly paid Milosevic crimes and the guilt that turned into revenge from the rest of the world who didn’t do anything to stop the crimes. There is nothing more unfair than the way Americans and Europeans treated the Serbian people the last two decades since the bombardment of the country. In just a few years the Serbian people saw their country turning from an independent state to the shame of Europe, the outcast nobody wanted to be connected with and an example to avoid and all that because of Milosevic who died before convicted and Karadzic who managed to escape arrest for too long.

Yes atrocities happened during the civil war and I have said it before but as I have also said before the full truth hasn’t come out yet. What we have learned is just part of the story and unfortunately in the years to come we are going to learn more horrible stories coming from the centre of the Balkans. At the moment it looks convenient to see the atrocities happened to the Bosnians from the Serbs and feel guilty about them but when the whole truth will come out the embarrassment will be just too high to hind it.

Serbia has all the geographic, political and historical reasons to be in the European Union and the Serbian membership will be beneficial for both sides always remembering of course that the road to this full membership is a long and difficult one and in the meantime a lot of things have to change in Serbia, so the country can harmonize with the European political, financial and even social structures and fundamentals. But then again did countries like Poland or Latvia had reached these levels before joining? To my opinion they hadn’t and that’s one thing Serbia will have to face.

In the last expansion of Europe not all the new countries were ready for the shock and neither Europe was prepared for them. It was all a political decision and the illusion that adding ten new members they were strengthen Europe in the international scene. Now we know that it was an illusion and that countries with doubtful transparency, shadow respect to human rights and questionable economics have enter a club proud for all the above. So Serbia now will have to prove itself two times, once because it is part of the application and once because the EU is scared of repeating the same mistakes. Sad for a country that has every right to be there and that has been proving again and again that it is a victim as much as anybody else the last two decades.

An even greater reason that makes necessity Serbia’s membership and perhaps the political involvement and decision is that a Serbian membership will help the unstable Balkans with all the minority problems. A Serbian membership and all the effect that it demands it will be a guide for the other former Yugoslav democracies like Bosnia and FYROM. And since I mentioned FYROM perhaps Serbia’s candidacy will help FYROM to clean up all the cancer that hosts, from drugs and human trafficking to inexcusable nationalism, fascist behaviour, unforgivable aggressiveness towards the neighbour countries and prejudice against the local Albanian minority. Actually FYROM as it is now is the cancer of Europe and a danger to wake minority problems that Serbia’s candidacy might help to clean it.

Serbia’s candidacy was expected and now Europe can show that can put aside old differences and intolerances versus a country that should not pay for the mistakes and crimes of a group of individuals. Milosevic is dead and the Serbian people are looking a for a future where by definition they belong. And perhaps while doing all the necessary negotiations the Europeans might be surprised finding out that the Serbs are more ready to become full members than some who are already members.


      
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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-23 11:09:31
Unfortunately, and one is tempted to say inevitably, the image projected by individuals with political power within a country, especially when democratically elected, does effect the overall image of their people internationally. One thinks of present day Italy and Berlusconi. The fact that Berlusconi has personally acquired the reputation of the “clown of Europe” inevitably tarnishes the image of Italy on the international stage; inevitably one begins to think of Italy too as the clown of Europe, and that is too bad because the Italians as a whole do not deserve such an image, but in a democratic system people by and large end up getting the kind of leaders they deserve. To go back in history a bit, Hitler was democratically elected, and so was Mussolini; they were adored and not repudiated by the majority of their people till after the war when suddenly and magically all Italians declared themselves anti-fascists and all Germans anti-Nazists. But the bad image persisted for a while. After the war Italy was kept out of the UN and it took a famous letter by the philosopher Benedetto Croce to remind the UN that to exclude Italy from the UN was to deprive itself as an institution of a people and a country without which history and civilization and Western culture as we know it makes no sense. Italy eventually did take its rightful place in the UN but not till the country stopped “misremembering” and courageously owned up to its past and its collusion with the crimes of Fascism, to wit the exiling of the king and the establishing of a republic. Indeed, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth can only be an ally in the rehabilitation of a people, any people of any culture, and the assessing of their sincerity in aspiring to democratic ideals.


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