It is more than visible that parliamentary elections are coming in Croatia. Although Croatian-Serbian relations tend to decline before each and every elections no matter which country they take place in, the recently used harsh rhetoric from both sides clearly reflects the intention to mobilize voters and gain pubic support.
It would be foolish to think that Serbia actually expected the European Union to at least criticize the Croatian government. However, this does not necessarily mean that Croatia was right and behaved correctly. The usual remark following statements like Milanovic’s ‘miserable people’ during any campaign is that we have to take into consideration that the person in question is ‘only’ the leader of the opposition (and does not represent the Government or the country). Nevertheless, in this case one should not forget how Milanovic spoke about Hungary while he was the incumbent PM of Croatia.
Meanwhile Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic stated that neither him, nor his government is going to reflect on any accusation arriving from Zagreb. No matter how constructive this looks at first glance, he did so when he met all representatives of the diplomatic corps and heads of foreign missions and institutions in Serbia – with the exception of Croatia. His exclusion does not fit in the good neighborhood policy either.
The announcement of Vucic that he will not attend the Dubrovnik Forum came as no surprise under the abovementioned circumstances. As the crisis was further escalated by the alleged spy case, official meetings of political leaders do not seem likely in the near future, which means that the biggest role and value of these conferences or workshops would be to help them sit at the same table – both literally and metaphorically.