The former head of the DPA Southeastern Europe Bureau, Thomas Brey, has said that the way in which Germany will define its position on Serbia and other Western Balkan countries will depend on the outcome of the upcoming parliamentary elections, called for Sept. 26, but has noted that the party of outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not expected to continue determining Berlin’s Balkan policy in the future.
“One should not expect the party of the outing chancellor, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), to continue defining Berlin’s Balkan policy in the future, because whether CDU is to take leadership or be a junior partner in a new cabinet, it will definitely have to make compromises with its coalition partners. And they do not share the positions of CDU of Angela Merkel on the foreign policy for Southeast Europe,” Brey has told BETA.
According to Brey, Merkel has been supporting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic as the successor of Boris Tadic whenever she could have, she made him stronger during the previous election campaign (in Serbia) by receiving him at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin and has avoided any interference in Serbia’s internal affairs, but despite all this, two key goals of her policy in the Balkans have not been achieved.
“Merkel has given Vucic a free hand, although he has more often come under criticism of the opposition or international organizations over human rights issues. She has been pursuing this position for a number of years hoping that in return Vucic will assist in resolving a number of national disputes in the Balkans and in settling the Kosovo conflict. However, neither of the goals has been attained. This leaves enough tasks in the region for a government to be led by Merkel’s successor,” Brey has noted.
He has added that Merkel has failed to tackle the most urgent problems in the Balkan Peninsula during her 16-year rule, as relations between Serbia and Kosovo have not improved, Bosnia and Herzegovina has remained a country with a non-functional government, Montenegro has been shaken by the most serious internal political conflicts over the past few years, while Albania and North Macedonia have to wait for the launch of their accession talks with the EU.