For ten years now, the main mantra of all Serbian governments reads: “EU does not have an alternative”. This is what we were told by the previous government under Boris Tadić, Democratic Party and its colorful coalition, and this is what the current government, Aleksandar Vučić, Serbian Progressive Party and his colorful coalition is telling us today. There are no other policies, no reforms, just this slogan and corruption that its covering. Behind this slogan many different things are and were hidden: corruption at all levels of goverment, starting from the very top, money laundering, criminal privatisation process, complete, not just partal, abolishment of the three independent branches of governement and the rule law and replacing them with one branch: party branch; devastation of all independent institutions, as well as our legal system; destruction of the freedom of the press, extinction of independent traditional media and the dawn of the complete traditional media darkness era; employment policy based cronyism; corruption; false university degrees purchased for money; plagiarised PhD degrees; poverty; manipulation of electoral process; transformation of Serbia into a cheap labor country; and exodus of young people who are leaving Serbia to the West in search of dignity. All of this was happening, and is indeed still happening, under the ‘watchful’ eye of the EU administration, mainly Germany, and its magical ‘accession chapters’. EU bureaucrats keep sending out the message that ‘Serbia is moving in the right direction’, while they are supporting this government and its way of governing. How is this possible? How is it possible that EU is supporting such complete media censorship, devastation of our state, criminal activities? Aren’t they the good guys that are all about “European values” whatever that means?
Let us first state a few very important facts. Just as it is the case with all other countries that exist on the European continent, Serbia is also a part of Europe. Serbia always was and always will be a part of Europe. Europe always existed and will continue to exist. It’s a continent. EU is not Europe. EU is a political project, an attempt to create at first economic and security system during the Cold War allowing free flow of people, goods and services, providing security against Soviet threat, but also a project that was supposed to keep Germany at bay after two world wars. The EU project lately turned into a super-state political system on the most part of the European continent. When it comes to the EU project, however, it is a big question whether it will survive in the future, given the distortion that it suffered. In this shape and form, its survival is almost certainly impossible.
EU has radically changed within the past ten years. It no longer resembles that which it promised both to its own citizens, and the citizens of the aspiring EU countries. The bureaucracy of the EU turned itself into the supranational super-structure that is governed by those that nobody ever voted for. In its attempt to become the new world power, with the unique foreign policy, its own currency and army, the EU has become the playing field for German domination. Smaller countries have completely lost their own identity. Euro has become the chain around the neck of their local economies. Euro-group keeps dictating the economic policy to the member states, regardless of the fact that the federal, democratic parliamentary system is non-existent. This is unsustainable and, as many european thinkers stated on more than one occasion, this amounts to the end of democracy within the EU. In its essence, this is no longer a democracy, but a dictation. The result of this is the system that favours Germany, but creates huge debt crisis in Greece, Spain, Italy and even France, although French economy is still strong enough to carry the burden of it.
Euro is the main instrument of German domination. Via the loans that it provides to the mostly southern and overly indebted member states, Germany is financing the purchase of its own goods and services, especially within the automobile industry.
At the turn of the century, both USA and Britain have let the Germany take the lead role in the Balkans. Within the past ten years, the whole Balkans including Serbia has been under complete German control. Germany is pulling almost all the strings. Germany invested itself into Serbian media very early on, both the print media and electronic ones. This media support was the key for former president Tadić’s ascension to power, as well as for his later fall from grace and installation of the Serbian Progressive Party into government offices. The support that the president of the Serbian Progressive Party enjoys from the German Chancellor Merkel is complete. Chancellor Merkel invites him into the official audiences during the Serbian election process, even if the corresponding practice is strictly forbidden in Germany. The “Enough is enough” MPs are witnessing as observers in the EU and NATO parlaments, as well as in OECD and the Council of Europe, that German politicians keep beautifying all reports about the state of affairs in Serbia, and these reports always end up with the rather strange conclusion that ‘Serbia is moving in the right direction.’ The question is: Why?
Balkans is the source of the cheap labor for Germany. Not only Serbia, but the whole of the Balkans. No other world power invested itself to a significant degree into Balkans, but Germany. Let us do a simple calculation. A German company that employs 1,000 people will be paid 300 € per month for the same work that in the EU they would be paid 2,000 € per month. Annually, this brings it the extra profit of around 20 million € on netto salaries alone. A 100.000 employees thus generate around two billion € of this extra profit per year. Additionally, it also saves approximately an additional billion € on taxes and contributions. This calculation provides us with the simple answer to the question of why Germany is not really much interested in discussing the lack of rule of law in Serbia. The only thing Germany is interested in is political stability and autocrats in power that can guarantee for its investments. This is why it provides them with political support. Besides banks, German capital also has an interest in taking over all of the big systems in the Balkan area. In Serbia, these are primarily Telecom (telecommunications company) and EPS (Electrical Power Supply company).
Another important thing for Germany and Chancellor Merkel is the support of Serbia to the resolution of the migrant crisis. Over 600,000 people were allowed to apply for the asylum in Serbia, the number that is simply disproportionate with the country’s size. Only a small fraction of them has their applications approved so far, but according to the EU rules, all those that will be deported from the EU will be deported back to the country in which they originally submitted their asylum application. These people need to be helped, but Serbia cannot provide that help in this way. Migrants should have applied for the asylum in the first country in Europe that they arrived to. It is inexplicable how they first arrived to Greece, then passed through Bulgaria and Macedonia, where they were not allowed to submit their asylum application, only to then arrive to Serbia where this was an option. It is obvious that the Serbian government has struck a deal with Germany regarding this policy, a deal that Serbian citizens have no knowledge of.
For years now, Serbian citizens have been fed with the dream of social welfare that we will experience once we join the European Union. We have been fed the dream of the good-natured EU, the community of nations in which all member states enjoy equal rights and jointly decide their own destiny. The story about huge EU donations and help is also being sold, convincing Serbian citizens that we cannot do without them. (Donations indeed exist and majority of them do come from the EU, but only a minor fraction of them ever reach the citizens in need, and they primarily end up being spent by the consulting agencies and management of humanitarian help.) The story of the altruistic EU that will sort out Serbia for us, so that we can live better lives, is also being sold to us. Behind these romantic stories, Serbian government is hiding its own incapability, corruption and criminal activities.
What do Serbian citizens see in the EU on a practical level? Great many just look at its own personal benefit, as they recognize the chance to leave Serbia for some other country where they can create a dignified life for themselves. Because they see no chance for it in Serbia. They also see the EU as a protection against a possible new war in the Balkans. Wounds are still fresh. Great many people recognize that our politicians are incapable, arrogant, greedy and only after their own personal interests. Corrupt politicians in government do know that citizens are aware of this and that an attempt to convince them otherwise is futile. Thus, they apply a different tactics: instead of convincing people that they are not corrupt, they use the media that are under their complete control to keep sending the message that all politicians are the same, so changing them will accomplish nothing much. It would only bring to power other politicians who would behave exactly the same. After all, it does not really matter, since the only important thing is that we are in the process of joining EU, and that this is the only salvation for Serbia: to let EU sort our country out for ourselves. Is this realistic? What is the self interest of the EU countries to do this for us?
What we see on the ground is much more clear: we see obedient autocrats throughout Balkans. These autocrats are much better answer to the interests of the German dominated EU, than a democratic society with a rule of law, and these autocrats are receiving its support. Media freedom and the rule of law are mentioned just in passing, without the existence of any political will to change anything in the current state of affairs. Do you think that the kind of autocrat that is in power in Serbia right now would be able to survive in power without the unconditional support of, first and foremost Germany, but then also of the rest of the remaining EU members? One of the pillars of his longevity in power is the phrase that almost all EU politicians keep repeating: ‘Serbia is moving in the right direction’.
Having all this in mind, it is incomprehensible that great many Serbian politicians, despite this obvious support that the Serbian Progressive Party government in Serbia enjoys from Germany and the rest of the remaining member states, still think that EU will get rid of president Vučić as soon as he closes the Kosovo issue for them. If Vučić ‘closes the Kosovo “issue” he will certainly continue to hold power for a long time, as Germany will continue supporting him. Partners that comply are indispensable. These Serbian politicians are either suffering from the false hope, or something else is in play. Enough is Enough political organisation has spent the last two years in Serbian parliament, and via its MPs it participates in the work of all major parliamentary forums in Europe. During this time, what is actually happening has become crystal clear to us.
The European Union in this shape and form, dominated by German interests, will not survive. United Kingdom was the first one to leave. The conflict between USA and Germany, i.e. the conflict between USD and EUR currency, will certainly end up with the victory of the USD. It is quite interesting that recently the Embassy of the USA in Serbia invested a lot of money and energy to emphasize the historic ties between Serbia and the USA. They are also aware where their allies are. You can think about Trump what you will, but Trump is neither crazy nor a fool. It is not up to Serbia to either love or hate Trump, but to understand the world geopolitical relations and their changes, so that it can assume a position in regard to them. The bombing of Serbia by American Democrats and British Labourists will never be forgotten by Serbian people. However, that does not mean that we should sleep through these tectonic geopolitical changes, forget who we fought with through two world wars and that we should not protect our own interests within the frame of these changes.
Germany has never been the Serbian ally, nor will it ever be. Germany will not protect Serbian interests in the Balkan region. It is in German interest for Serbia to be as weak as possible. This is what history teaches us. Germany has other allies in the region, the same ones as during the two world wars. It will protect their interests. Alliances are not some ad-hok choices. They exist within the wider historic frame. German ancestors spilled their blood on the same side as the ancestors of their allies. These alliances were very obvious during the fall-out of ex-Yugoslavia, when Germany played a critical negative role in its destruction and the chaos that resulted from their actions. Today, almost thirty years later, the ruined economies of ex-Yugoslavian republics are penetrated by German companies. Some might say: we are the only ones to blame for that. It is true that the greatest responsibility lies on us, the Balkan nations. However, the role and interests of the imperial powers, above all Germany, cannot be disregarded.
Serbian citizens need to snap out of the daydreaming about the romanticized EU and realize that this dream has turned into a nightmare, that Serbia is turning into a camp for cheap labor, governed by the obedient and servile autocrat. All of our young people that can escape from the country of cheap labour and crony employment policies – do so at an alarming rate of over 100.000 a year. The electoral body is reduced to the combination of pensioners and uneducated cheap labor population. Voters needed to carry out the necessary political change are leaving the country in droves and consist only the minority of the electoral body.
It is ironic that, eighty years later, both USA and UK again see the relations within Europe much more clearly than Europeans themselves and are aware of the dangerous attempts to turn Europe into the playing field for the domination of a single country. Various new movements are springing within Europe, as Europeans are becoming aware that EU is now devoid of democracy, that it has alienated itself from its own citizens and that core changes are needed. The community of nations on the European continent is needed not only because of the free cultural exchange, flow of goods, services, capital and people, but also because of the joint security. However, unique foreign policy is neither needed nor possible, as is the case with European army and currency, because they also imply the extinction of member states and eradication of their sovereignty. This is something that, in Europe at least, was never possible, nor will it ever be possible.
Sasha Radulovich, MP, Political movement “Enough Is Enough”