Launched in Brussels
Sonia Biserko, Chair of the Serbian Helsinki Committee and author of the book “Yugoslavia’s Implosion” published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, visited Brussels on 19-20 March to launch the book and take part in discussions around the topic of “Serbian nationalism still alive: what impact for EU enlargement?”.
A key moment was the presentation on 19 March of the book at the European Parliament, in the framework of the Foreign Affairs Committee Working Group on Western Balkans. Sonia Biserko explained that she wrote the book in an effort to find out what had actually happened to Yugoslavia and Serbia, and to make her findings available to all who are themselves trying to make sense of the terrible breakdown.
After looking into past developments, she concluded that the main problem today lies in the fact that Serbia has so far been unable to face the truth about the crimes committed in the name of the Serbian people and about its own responsibility for the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and that it has not acknowledged the new reality in the region.
The prospects and active support offered by the EU are the integral and crucial factors making possible and facilitating the transition of the new states in the region into democratic societies, and as for Serbia in particular a fixed date for EU accession negotiations will generate political energy if all pro-European forces join hands to attain the goal – accession to EU – and initiate social transformation with enthusiasm and faith in a European Serbia.
At an event in the office of the International Parternship for Human Rights (IPHR), NHC's liason in Brussels, Sonia Biserko explained to the Brussels and The Hague-based NGO representatives that Serbia defines itself as a multiethnic society – which it actually is with its numerous ethnic, religious and other minorities. But these minorities are not integrated into the society. Neither is there a policy for inclusion of minorities nor do these minorities have a say in the process of identity building.
It is not easy to find a way out of Serbia's trap: it is trapped in nationalism and populism and it is not strong enough to realize the European vision by itself: it needs a helping hand from EU, which should be more concerned with Serbian society, and with the Serbian youth in particular.
Sonia Biserko's visit also included meetings with the European Commission and European External Action Service, where the book was discussed as well as views about Serbia's integration into Europe.