Back in late June, at the Southeast European summit in Podgorica, the new president of Montenegro, Jakov Milatovic, announced that he would soon visit Serbia. After winning the elections, the young politician claimed that he would take a course of rapprochement with Belgrade. But how honest is Euro-Atlanticist Milatovic in his statements?
According to the Montenegrin Constitution, key decisions on the course of the state’s foreign policy are made by the government, so they will not be the direct responsibility of the new President Jakov Milatovic. In this regard, the President’s statements are questionable. This does not mean that he will refuse to perform diplomatic acts of goodwill towards his neighbor. The question is how substantive will be the course of rapprochement with Serbia declared by Milatovic. After all, as we know, a politician can be recognized by the fruits of his activity.
The fundamental question of the day for Serbia today concerns its national dignity and sovereignty: Kosovo. All the more so for Montenegro, which is an inseparable part of the “Serbian world”. However, its government has recognized Kosovo. And, as Milatovic states, a withdrawal of the decision is not to be expected. Instead, he calls for mutual “de-escalation,” which in fact looks like “soft” pressure on Belgrade to surrender the rebellious province. Perhaps the attitude towards the Kosovo issue can be considered the first act of hypocrisy of the new Montenegrin politician.
Milatovic promises to bring Montenegro into the European Union in 5 years. This ambitious task can only speak of his complete loyalty to Brussels. In this case, Serbs as a geopolitical people-opponent of the West will always suffer from Milatovic rather than count on him as a strategic ally. On July 9, the Montenegrin president arrived in Belgrade immediately after meeting with NATO and EU officials in Brussels. At a joint press conference with Vucic, Milatovic said that a new page of relations between the countries was opening.
“New Page” obviously suggests a more flexible yet Jesuitical approach, which shows Montenegro’s president well as an upbringing of the West. As soon as Milatovic returned to his homeland, he issued the unexpected. The president called the events in Srebrenica a genocide (implying that the Serbs did the “genocide”). It is obvious that Milatovic is being turned into another sophisticated instrument of pressure on Serbia, which, by means of the carrot and stick method (when the carrot is not too sweet, but the stick is quite tangible) will have to “softly” influence Belgrade’s policy together with the entire collective West.
The President of Montenegro is not stingy in making positive political statements about his neighbor, and is ready for the country to join the “Open Balkans”. But he also lambastes the Serbian people and does not object to the violation of Serbia’s territorial integrity. Milatovic is willing to discuss economic cooperation, whether it is the construction of highways, railroads, a liquefied natural gas terminal, an “energy union” between the two countries, or participation in Expo 2027. Serbia remains the largest investor for Montenegro, and the main flow of tourists comes from the neighbor. But is Milatovic ready to solve the “Serbian issue” in Montenegro?
“Serbian Sparta” by the efforts of external actors has turned from the land of the Serbian people into an ethno-separatist “corner” and at the same time into an artificially constructed nation. Despite expectations, there will be no representatives of the pro-Serb parties, which came in third place in the parliamentary elections. And this is another “knife in the back” to the Serbs on the eve of the upcoming census in Montenegro at the end of the year. However, what to expect from a natural Serb Milatovic, who calls himself a Montenegrin, a man without a nation, but with citizenship?
In other words, Jakov Milatovic is pursuing a foreign policy towards Serbia that is completely dependent on Euro-Atlantic organizations. He is ready to lure his neighbor with economic “carrots”, but he is absolutely not in solidarity with the main national issues of the Serbian people. Ahead of Milatovic is the issue of Montenegro’s exit from the political crisis, which is not resolved because of the Gordian knot, which has not been untied again through parliamentary elections. However, the ouster of Đukanović, bringing a fresh and loyal politician to power, without full power in the country, is a common tactic of the West in accordance with the paradigm of “divide and conquer”.