Macron in Belgrade

Activities - Comments


The recent two days state visit of the French president Emanuel Macron, has marked new stage in Serbo-French relations. It was the first such visit in 18  years, after 2001. Belgrade visit of Jacques Chirac, French president at that time.
The visit is important, first of all for expansion and  strengthening of bilateral cooperation, but also as new impetus in the staled negotiation process on the status of the  Province Kosovo and Metohija. It has marked strengthening  of the international positions of Serbia as Emanuel Macron was the third head of state of UN SC, permanent member country and nuclear power, visiting Serbia in the last 3 years. Russian president Vladimir Putin, visited Serbia 2018. and Chinese president  Xi Jinping payed 3 days state visit to Serbia in 2016.
French investment in Serbia among 1.5 billion euro, while the yearly turn over  trade, amounts about 1.1 billion euro. Recently French company Vince, won  25 years concession 501 million euro of the „Belgrade Nikola Tesla international airport“.
During Macrons visit 22 new documents have been signed expending cooperation in investments, trade, environment, defends and cultural cooperation. It is quite is realistic  to conclude that French investment  in Serbia will be doubled in the near future and cooperation in another fills further expended.

The two countries have enjoy strategic partnership relations.
Serbia has already bought several airbus helicopters, „Mistral“ rocket, and some other defensive systems. In line with its military neutrality strategy. New arrangements  may include joint productions of parts, and maintenance services for airbus helicopters in Serbia. French partners are likely to be included in construction of Belgrade subway, which is of great importance for Serbia.
Common history was one of the main features of Macron visit to Serbia. The two presidents have visited the Monument to fallen fighters during the First Word War, Monument to sergeant Milunka Savic, the most decorated lady fighter from the same war, meeting her decedents.

President Macron have the speech  at the public meeting in front of the Monument of gratitude to France, erected in the thirties of the last centuries in the midst of medieval „Kalemegdan“ fortress in Belgrade, addressing thousand of  Belgradians  in Serbian language. Thus history of alliance between Serbian and France in the Two World Wars had important roll  in the efforts to bypass wounds caused in the newer history including such as French participation in the NATO 1999 aggression against Serbia (FRY) ad Franc's 2008. recognition of unilateral and illegal secession of Serbia's Province of Kosovo and Metohija. There was also incident during Versailles ceremony  marking 100 years of the peace after First World War, when Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic  was accorded in adequate (lower) treatment compering to other heads of states. This was later explained by Palace Elysee as „protocol mistake“. It was obvious that president Macron invested  time and effort to be well prepared for his visit to Serbia and for his mission to open a new stage of partnership with Serbia. He is messages have been well received especial once that Europe can not  go ahead without Serbia and that Europe has obligations toward Serbia. In parallel with overly positive receptions and pulsations after Macrons visit there is a feeling of  for apologies to Serbian people, at least for the human victims caused by the illegal 1999 NATO aggression in which France  participated. Reassessment  of that aggression, being the first war on European soil, after Second World War should be part of  of Europe's strategy „turning to her self“.

As for Serbia's aim to become full member of EU. Macron reiterated that both EU and Serbia should pursue necessary  reforms and at the end  become ready for expansion and member ship. He said that no dates/years should be fixed now.
Concerning solution of the future status of the Provence of Kosovo and Metohija, president Macron expressed the view  that only Europe can resolved it and that factors outside Europe may not wish stability in the Balkans. To confirm his resolve Macron, almost immediately upon his return to Paris has announce nomination of his representative for Kosovo negotiation process. This is first such decision among great powers and UN SC permanent member countries. It may be interpreted that Macron wishes not only to re-initiate negotiation process broken by Pristina's decision to impose 100% higher taxes on the goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but, also, to secure special role for France in this process. In this regard, Macron certainly is aware that preoccupation of Brussels, London, Berlin and Washington, with Brexit, growing political and social divisions and other problems, have created free space to be filed in. Although he has not publicly  mention Russia, China and USA, his general approach in public communication during Belgrade visit left clear reservations toward the roll and intentions of those countries in the Balkans. Macron's conviction that Europe alone could bring about balanced, realistic and sustainable solution for the status of the Kosovo and Metohija seams to be lacking due realism. The fact is that ending the 1999 NATO war was not possible without important if not decisive roll of Russia and of UN SC. That is why illegal secession proclaimed  2008., being the result of that war, can not be resolved without roll of Russia, USA and EU.
Essential, this means that the problem of Kosovo and Metohija should be returned for solution to the UN SC, and with in UN SC 1244 Resolution of June the 10th 1999. The time will prove what framework is the best suited to solving such problems in the reality of multi-polar world order.