Serbia Criticizes EU for ‘Hypocrisy’ After Catalan Vote

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  • President Vucic holds consultations with cabinet members
  • Brnabic to seek explanation during Oct. 11 visit to Brussels

Aleksandar Vucic

Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic criticized the European Union for “hypocrisy’’ after declaring the Catalan referendum on independence illegal, saying that the bloc was using a “double standard” in regards to Kosovo.

Serbia, a candidate for EU entry, has vowed never to recognize the independence of Kosovo, which unilaterally declared its secession from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by most states in the 28-member bloc. Vucic wants to launch a national dialog on Serbia’s position on Kosovo, as improving relations with its neighbor are key for entry talks.

“How come you’ve declared Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legal, violating international law and the foundations of European law,’’ Vucic said Monday in comments after meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Belgrade. “Those who redrew borders in the Balkans were playing with the fate of many states.’’

Belgrade-based newspaper Blic reported that Vucic called Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and members of her government as well as members of the security services for urgent consultations on the situation after European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said in Brussels that comparisons between Spain and Serbia couldn’t be drawn because “Spain is a member state.’’

“For the Commission, the situation is not comparable,” said Schinas. “For the recognition of Kosovo, there was a very specific context.”

Serbia wants to know if there are different international laws in place for EU members and non-EU states, Brnabic said after the meeting called by Vucic. 

“Being deeply committed to EU membership, Serbia has the right to know if the same norms are valid for all,’’ she said. “Alternatively, they can, I guess, say sorry, we made a mistake, but we will not go back to the past, we made a mistake and we apologize to the Serbian state and its people,’’ she said. The third option would be to discuss if “that Kosovo’s independence stands.’’

Spain sent in police to disrupt voting in Catalan in an unofficial independence referendum on Sunday, leading to violence and scores of injuries.

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