The Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence and the European Movement in Serbia organized the sixth Belgrade Security Forum that took place between October 12 – 14, 2016 under the working title “Will Democracy Survive the Global Disorder?”
In my experience one of the most memorable panels was the one with Tanja Miščević‚ Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession to the European Union, Government of Serbia‚ Gordana Čomić‚ Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia‚ Pierre Mirel‚ Honorary Director General of the European Commission and Naim Rashiti‚ Executive Director, Balkans Group. They all had the opportunity to elaborate their point of view about Serbia’s EU accession process, which they entirely support but remain somewhat sceptical about certain elements. Tanja Miščević for example stressed that she had thoroughly studied the accession negotiations of several countries, however, neither of them had to face a chapter like their one about the relations with Kosovo. In this aspect nobody knows what to expect neither from Pristina, nor from Brussels as there is no previous practice.
The other extremely interesting panel took place between Aleksandar Vučić‚ Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Edi Rama‚ Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania. Both PMs began in a calm and diplomatic tone, however, the atmosphere became quite tense by the end of the discussion.
Of course, this is partly a consequence of Mr. Rama’s sense of humour: after Mr. Vučić declared that he strongly hopes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will remain in power, his Albanian counterpart said that he is sure about it and added that he cannot compete with Vučić for the heart of Merkel. When the Serbian PM asked how can he be so sure, Mr. Rama’s response came immediately: ‘Don’t worry, Aleksandar, we will ask you when it comes to elections in Moscow’.
Although some Serbian politicians demanded Edi Rama to be declared persona non grata, Vučić, together with Rama, stressed the importance of Serbian-Albanian good neighbourly relations not only during the aforementioned panel but also afterwards. Despite that the panel is likely to be remembered thanks to the jokes, the original message of both PMs should not be forgotten either.