Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.jpg
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic
Photograph: HINA / Milan OBRADOVIĆ / BETAPHOTO / mm

The European Union keeps its head in the sand and the reply by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic's letter in which he warns about an anti-Serb policy in Croatia and the region misses the point, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Wednesday evening after Juncker's reply was made public.

"Juncker did not answer any of the concrete questions raised by Vucic, he did not comment on the rehabilitation of the fascist Ustasha regime, the release of war criminals from the last war, the erection of a monument to Ustasha terrorist (Miro) Baresic, or insults directed at the Serbian state. He did not even tell us what we did not do. I said earlier that the EU is playing dumb when the anti-Serb campaign is concerned. But is it always prepared to lecture Serbia when it does not like something about it," Dacic said in a statement sent to the media late on Wednesday evening.

In his letter to Juncker of August 1, Vucic said that Croatia was pursuing "a blatant anti-Serb policy" which Serbia did not provoke in any way, except for expressing its disagreement with decisions in cases related to WWII Zagreb Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, Croatian member of Parliament Branimir Glavas and Baresic, underlining that Serbia could not accept the legacy of Nazism and support for terrorism.

In his letter to EU leaders, Vucic asked them to say if Serbia had done something wrong in the context of the latest events in Croatia, citing the quashing of war crimes verdicts for Glavas and Stepinac and the unveiling of a monument to Baresic, who was sentenced in Sweden for terrorism and for the murder of the Yugoslav ambassador to Sweden, Vladimir Rolovic, in the 1970s.

In his reply to Vucic's letter, EC President Juncker said that good neighbourly relations, regional cooperation and reconciliation were the basic principles that should be respected by all EU candidate countries, potential candidates and EU member-countries.

Juncker stressed that the EC had always strongly advocated, within its powers, respect for victims and remembrance of war crimes in Europe. EU law criminalises hate crimes based on ethnicity and incitement of violence or hate. Under EU law, member-countries are obliged to ensure the prosecution of those crimes, and countries aspiring to join the EU are expected to adjust to those laws, Juncker said.

"This can no longer continue. We did not ask you about world peace but about the anti-Serb policy of an EU member-country which jeopardises peace and stability in the region," Dacic said in his statement.

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