Serbian government re-elected

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and his right-wing conservative SNS party have emerged as the clear winners of Sunday's elections. With the snap vote Vučić aimed to garner more support for closer relations between his country and the EU. The European Union must now take a greater interest in Serbia, commentators stress.

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Népszava (HU) /

Vučić has changed for the better

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has undergone an amazing transformation in recent years, the daily paper Népszava comments approvingly:

“Vučić was once a passionate ultra-nationalist. But he mutated into a 'progressive' politician from one day to the next by renouncing the plans to create a new Greater Serbia and campaigning for his country to join the EU instead. Admittedly such metamorphoses are not a rare occurrence in these parts of Europe. … Vučić, however, has proven that he is serious about EU membership in recent years. … The Serbian prime minister has made several important gestures. He has made efforts to improve relations with Croatia and Bosnia and he also attended the ceremony commemorating the Srebrenica massacre. Bringing the Balkan peoples closer together really seems to be an important goal for him.”

Polityka (PL) /

EU must stop neglecting Serbia

In her blog with the centre-left news magazine Polityka Jadwiga Wilczak urges the EU to pay more attention to Belgrade regardless of its current priorities:

“Serbia has become an important country for the EU in the refugee crisis because it lies at the centre of the Balkans. And the Union is also fighting with Russia over who will wield more influence in the region. Today we know that it was a big mistake to neglect Serbia. The Western sanctions have led to Russia becoming a key partner for this country. Life doesn't forgive any mistakes. … And Belgrade didn't support the sanctions the EU imposed against Moscow over the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbass.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Šešelj's failed political comeback

Fears that Serbian politics could be radicalised after Vojislav Šešelj's acquittal have not been confirmed, writes the daily paper Dnevnik with relief:

“Sunday's elections brought nothing more than the return of Šešelj and his radical party to parliament - with a modest eight percent of the vote. The fears that after Šešelj's acquittal by the UN war crimes tribunal, so incomprehensible to many, Serbia would make a comeback and shatter the fragile political stability in the Balkans were unfounded. … While he was locked away in Scheveningen prison Šešelj clearly overlooked the fact that the world out there and above all Serbia had changed.”