European Western Balkans

Vučić received an invitation to the EU-WB Summit, Serbian authorities decided Brnabić will attend

Photo: FoNet

BRUSSELS – For the first time, Serbia is presented at the EU-Western Balkans Summit by the Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić. It has been officially confirmed for European Western Balkans portal that President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić received an invitation to the summit. It is added from the European Council that the decision of the authorities in Belgrade was for the PM to attend instead of President Vučić.

The reasons for Vučić not being present in Brussels today are linked to the election campaign, EWB learned unofficially. President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić is not a candidate for any position in the December elections, while Prime Minister Brnabić is the second on the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) list for parliamentary elections.

Official statements from Belgrade have not yet provided reasons for President Aleksandar Vučić’s absence from the summit, as initially expected. The government only briefly announced on Wednesday that the prime minister would attend the summit and engage with several European officials on the sidelines. According to the Serbian Presidency, Aleksandar Vučić will address a pre-election rally for the “Aleksandar Vučić – Serbia Must Not Stop” list in Novi Sad.

The first EU-Western Balkans Leaders’ Summit took place in Sofia in 2018, and since then, President Vučić has represented Serbia at all such meetings. Other countries in the region have typically been represented at the presidential level in similar gatherings.

Two summits at this level were held last year, one in June in Brussels and the other in December in Tirana. Ahead of both summits, President Vučić hinted at the possibility of not attending. In June, he suggested it was due to Serbia not making progress, but he ultimately appeared at the summit alongside leaders from the Open Balkans initiative.

In December, the official reason for announcing a boycott of the summit was the perceived mild reaction of the EU to the appointment of Rada Trajković and Nenad Rašić as ministers in the Kosovo government. President Vučić referred to them as “terrorist scum” and “Serbian scum from the bottom of the barrel.”

“No one from Serbia will be in Tirana on December 6. You come nicely, take your per diems, travel by plane, talk nonsense, say whatever you want. All of you from the European Union and all of you from the Western Balkans” said the President of Serbia in a televised statement on TV Pink. However, as he stated at the time, at the request of the Prime Minister, Vučić decided to attend the EU-Western Balkans Leaders’ Summit in Tirana.

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