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Those who push for Serbia to be European

The support of 47% of the population at the entry of the country in the EU shows a growing modernization of the society, although so slow that sometimes it costs to appreciate it

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Those who push for Serbia to be European

Serbia has all ballots to be next country to enter European Union as a full member. The politician who leads accession, President Aleksander Vucic, did not need to go to a second round in April elections to endorse his presidential victory; His triumph was overwhelming. In an attempt to modernize country and emit positive signals to Brussels, it named First minister to Anna Brnavic, European convinced and first openly gay leader in an eastern country.

The polls support adventure. 47% of citizens support entry into bloc, compared with 29% opposed, according to a survey by Serbian Integration office in EU. That poll has anor more hidden fact that is also interesting: 25%, largest number in this case, believes that Russia is largest benefactor of country since year 2000, which is not true. EU members have been largest donors by far, with an investment of 2.7 billion euros. MORE: The investments of European companies (12.7 billion) surpass by seven Russians (1,600).

Natase Dragojlovic, 43 years old, believes that if you stop to look an instant, Serbia is transforming even though it is so slowly that it is sometimes difficult to appreciate. It's not a fixed photo, even if it looks like it. "We are a very conservative society and that makes any change take a long time." "But believe me, we are constantly evolving," adds Dragojlovic, coordinator of NCEU, a citizen platform that participates in negotiation process between Belgrade and Brussels.

Natase Dragojlovic, a pro-european activist, in a cafeteria in Belgrade given DJILAS

She believes that re is still much to be progress in terms of press freedom (re are hardly any means critical of government) or fight against corruption, to put two examples, but it was a glimpse of loopholes by which opinions of civil society are straining in Discussions of power. "For first time y listen to us." If we have a critique of something concrete we are considered. This a few years ago was unthinkable, "he balances."

There are those who believe that Serbia must walk decisively towards Brussels, but it is desirable that EU will also take crucial steps, even before it fulfils all requirements. A development of nation by osmosis. Orwise process could be overstretched and worn up to most enthusiastic. "We will not be prepared in short term." "The EU needs to get inside and from re Finiquitaríamos reforms," says Vladimir Peric, a political science activist and PhD student who occasionally appears in Serbian press for ir judicial battles with government.

Vladimir Peric, 36 years old, faces a trial for insulting president of Serbia given DJILAS

Peric, 36 years old, is prosecuted for walking around Belgrade with a banner and a megaphone calling dictator to President Vucic. He sees in this case a judicial persecution for his ideas, which in his opinion speaks of poor quality of freedom of expression in Serbia, something that can only be solved, he explains, with more democracy and openness. He says he has no money to pay fine in case he is convicted and most likely ends up in prison. It is European even though his grandfar fought shotgun with Russians during World War II. Isn't re a contradiction here? "No, my family always fights for freedom, no matter whose side." "And that ideal is now European," he replies.

Although it does not happen to him, a part of country seems immersed in a paradox, especially younger ones. At 42% would like to see implemented Russian political system Vladimir Putin in his country, according to a survey of Euro-Atlantic studies (CEAS), but at same time 70% chooses United States or Europe as ideal place to live. Two latent tensions, on one hand ideal of an autocracy, a nation with great leaders of messianic dyes; And on or democratization of society and rule of law.

Vucic himself, a friend of Putin, may seem dubious between Brussels and Moscow, an ambiguity that has sometimes been reproached by European leaders, but his statements and reforms undertaken to meet union standards go in one direction. Minister during last government of Slobodan Milosevic, former dictator who led his country to war, as a young man was a Serbian ultranationalist drenched in warlike and patriotic rhetoric. It created a more moderate, albeit conservative, party in its essence, and began a personal and political shift that seems destined to end in Brussels. Its goal is to gain access to club of 27 in 2022, although European leaders see 2025 as a more realistic date.

Some political analysts consider that president makes a double game. It embraces European values, shows itself as a reformer, and at same time, from doors to inside, teaches Serbian nationalist that makes him so popular. Last week, Vucic criticized Bosnian Muslim's condemnation of genocide of Ratko Mladic, and at same time asked Serbs to look to future and not to regret more about what happened in past. At no time did you regret what happened.

"Parliament is full of people who were with Milosevic," says Gavrilo Vucetic, a 21-year-old film and television student. He is accused, along with Pavle Terzic, 22, a student of dramatic art, of organizing "illegal" protests against victory of Vucic in April, which took thousands of people to street in Belgrade. They are a kind of local heroes who have defied system, which y consider "a dictatorship." Vucetic explains that when y were born y were immersed in a traumatic war and, now that y have become older, y live in a nation where wages are not good (less than 300 euros minimum), enchufismo prevails in public administration and only way out, in Chances are to emigrate.

Pavle Terzic, a student prosecuted for organizing massive marches against government in March, portrayed in Belgrade given DJILAS

Vucetic is not a supporter of joining EU, Terzic yes. One of doubts that both are dragging is wher Brussels club will look at m badly, as only barbarians guilty of what happened in Nineties in Balkans. But on second thought, y say, it's time to erase those ghosts and find a reconciliation. For that, y believe, young people, like m or those who dance in U-turn, have to have ir space and that ir word is taken into account. Something is moving in Serbia, even if it is not seen at first sight.


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