Faced with protests against a lithium exploitation project, the Serbian government is taking a page from Hungary and Russia's book and labeling non-governmental organizations foreign agents, reads an article in the Austrian daily Der Standard.
Belgrade sees "conspiracies against Serbia" everywhere, the daily reported, noting that Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic had recently pointed a finger at USAID and the Open Society Foundations, but also at the German Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Austrian River Watch NGO for orchestrating and bankrolling protests in Serbia.
Pretending that revolt over lack of transparency and expropriation, as well as environmental concerns, are not coming from Serbian society, but from outside is a mistake, the Austrian daily noted, according to a Jan. 24 post on the Euractiv Serbia website.
Additionally, calling out the Heinrich Boell Foundation indicates that the government in Belgrade, which enjoyed the support of Angela Merkel's administration, was not thrilled with the presence of Greens in the new government in Berlin, the commentary read. The daily reported that finger-pointing at traitors in foreign pay was a well-known trope from Hungarian or Russian politics.