According to Aleksandar Popov, the director of the Center for Regionalism, this year’s annual report of the European Commission on Serbo-Croatian relations paints too light a picture of those relations. The report, Popov believes, fails to recognize the recent straining of relations between the two countries, especially the harsh rhetoric of their respective officials.
Speaking for the Daily European Service, BETA News Agency’s new service, Popov has said that the report’s ascertainments are correct but that, being such a short document, it does not contain the nuances that explain the core of those relations.
Popov is of the opinion that the “trend of the souring of the relations between the four signers of the Dayton agreement [continues on and is] greatly aided by the high officials’ statements, as well as the media which are, to a greater or lesser extent, controlled by the governing structures.”
When it comes to Croatia, Popov believes that Serbia’s relationship with its neighbor was on the mend in the first decade of this century, but that the situation worsened when the parties which had ruled during the 1990’s in both countries returned to power.
“According to the statements of high officials on both sides, we now live in “an unfinished war” environment,” Popov has said.
The EU Commission's report, which is a part of this year's Enlargement Package, in the section titled Good Neighborly Relations and Regional Cooperation, states that the “relations with Croatia are increasingly under strain, with occasional political altercations.