On 20 June Serbian Prime Minister to be Aleksandar Vucic (Serbian Progressive Party, SNS) met with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic in the border town of Dalj. This is an important step for the countries to improve relations. In the afternoon Vucic and Grabar will sign a declaration on minority issues and those related to missing persons, borders and succession.
Visit to Serbia
First, Vucic and Grabar Kitarovic met on a bridge between both countries at the Bogojevo-Erdut border crossing, from which they went to Dalj. After this visit, the declaration will be signed in a town in northern Serbia, Subotica. For President Grabar Kitarovic this will be the first visit to Serbia since she became president in 2015. However, this is not an official visit but a working visit. A Croatian news agency said that “the fact that the declaration will be signed by the president of one country and the prime minister to be of another stems from the fact it was concluded that Vucic is the real leader on the Serbian side who has the power to finally start addressing the specific problems.”
Croatia stalls EU negotiations
On 7 April the European Council postponed negotiations with Serbia on chapters 23 and 24 of EU legislation. The postponement came after a complaint from Croatia about the treatment of Croats in Serbia and more action on war crimes. This worsened the relations between both countries. According to Vucic this is "the first step in the thawing relations between Croatia and Serbia". He also added: "I think we have achieved a great result. The agreement deals with essential, serious, strategic issues for Serbia and Croatia. We should try to talk more with each other, show greater respect for each other. Previous Presidents of the two countries, Josipovic (Croatia) and Tadic (Serbia) put a lot of effort in improving the relations between to two countries. However, with right wing parties and presidents in power the relations have worsened over the last few years.
Sources: Balkaninsight , TotalCroatia
Photo: Medija Center Beograd