The society as a whole needs to back Serbia’s
commitment to the membership of EU the incumbent government has
proclaimed its strategic goal. A proclamation could become a reality
only with popular support. Hence, the EU should rely more on
Serbia’s EU-oriented strata.
EU values should be promoted among citizens and
brought closer to each and every individual so as to enlarge the
pro-European front. This implies a public information campaign to
sensitize citizens not only to what Serbia has already received from
EU but also to the obligations this assistance implies.
In its approach to Serbia EU should take into
consideration the level of its democracy (likewise, the democratic
development of the region), specificities of its political culture
and historical legacy, and prevalent values; only thus could it
adjust its policy for Serbia to the realities and get prepared for
the challenges ahead.
Serbia’s civil sector on the one hand, and the
European Commission and the European Parliament on the other, should
establish intensive communication. Meetings, including parliamentary
hearings, assembling civil sector representatives and the newly
elected European MPs should be arranged considering the latter’s
inadequate experience in the region and knowledge of regional
The civil sector could become a major partner in
the implementation of the Brussels Agreement; EU could profit from
this partnership especially when it comes to integration of the two
communities – Albanians and Serbs – in Kosovo. The focus should be
on two groups of population: the youth and women.
The civil sector could play a major role in
accession negotiations between Serbia and EU, especially in
deliberations of chapters 23, 24, 35, 31, 10 and 26. Its experience
in the problematic these chapters cover could be most valuable.
The years-long difficult situation of Serbia’s
media has never been as problematic as it is today. Governmental
control of the media and suppression of critical thinking cause
anxiety and stand in the way of pluralism. Against the present
socioeconomic backdrop the media criticizing the government and
civil society organizations are easy targets. What Serbia badly
needs are free and constructive media and the civil society
resistant to governmental manipulation. Not long ago, the parliament
passed a set of media laws the proper implementation of which should
considerably unburden the media scene.
The escalating economic crisis could easily
generate social radicalization unless the present government works
out at least some of most pressing problems. Social radicalization
opens the door to other forms of extremism, especially to ethnically
motivated extremism at national and regional level.
Regional cooperation between civil sector
organizations needs to be intensified and involve younger
generations in particular. True, CSOs have been cooperation at
regional level so far: however, their activism has not yet produced
a critical mass of democratically capacitated leaders to be, the
people the EU could count on in the ten years to come.
Consequences of the ethnic concept for the state –
the origin of the 1990s wars in the first place – still negatively
affect minority communities: ethnic, religious and vulnerable groups
of population. Serbia’s civil sector has always worked on
confidence-building between the majority nation and ethnic
minorities (that have isolated themselves as well). They have been
trying to bridge the social gap radical ethno-nationalism had
The legacy of the 1990s wars and historical
revisionism weight not only the renewal of the Serbian society but
also regional normalization. The regional history of the 20th
century – and, especially the developments in 1990s – should be
continually interpreted from multidimensional and objective angle.
The EU should be more active against the ongoing revisionism and
fabrications of the history of the 20th century.
In today’s Serbia general confusion and
ideological disorientation negatively affect state-building. Denial
of anti-fascism – Europe’s fundamental value – cannot but cause
anxiety. With this in mind, the EU should specifically assist
Serbia’s civil society organizations that have been promoting
European values for long.