Impoverished, autocratic and happy to receive vaccines from Russia and China, Serbia has surpassed almost every EU member-state in vaccinating its population, The Economist magazine has said adding that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's foreign policy strategy of not putting all of his eggs in the one basket has paid off.
Vucic has purchased vaccines in Europe, Russia and China and signed contracts on the production of Russian and Chinese vaccines in Serbia. Both China and Russia "hope that their vaccine policy will undermine faith in the EU," the British weekly said in its latest Apr. 1 edition.
Polls have shown that this strategy is working even though some Serbs believe that China expects commercial services in exchange. The weekly also said that EU had pledged recovery funds, but was not donating vaccines yet. Meanwhile, the magazine said, Vucic's success in securing vaccines in other places has enabled him to present himself as the region's leader.
"Serbia's neighbors have very few illusions about his well meaningness. However his "gangster-style street" political prowess, both domestically and internationally, make him a force that is not to be underestimated," Florian Bieber from the University of Graz has said.