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The fun and fuss as viewed from the Balkans

Mark Mardell | 20:52 UK time, Sunday, 20 January 2008

A busy, busy week. In London, MPs start debating the Lisbon treaty in detail.

Open Europe are trying to keep the argument for a referendum in the limelight, and compensate for some of the rather wonkish arguments that will ensue, by holding a series of votes in marginal seats.

They plan ten such campaigns at first starting in the seat of the Europe minister Jim Murphy in East Renfrewshire in Scotland .

The Government is pretty confident that it will win the votes that matter to it in the House of Commons and that any Labour rebellion will be of the “small explosion, nobody hurt” variety.

But the background for the debate is not auspicious for the Government: the Labour-dominated and important foreign affairs select committee has issued a report saying the Government has downplayed and underestimated the effects of the treaty .

This gives the Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague , the opportunity to use terms like “stitch-up”, “cynical spin” and “discredited.”

But the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister are in India so will miss the fun and the fuss, which is no doubt a side benefit to them of their trip.

Belgrade elections

In Belgrade, they will be absorbing the results of the Serbian presidential elections and working out where the votes of the knocked out candidates will go in the next round in early February.

Tomislav Nikolic, first-round winner in Serbia

Not only Belgrade: specialists in Washington and Moscow, Berlin and London will be doing their calculations too. The Russian deputy ambassador to Serbia was at the Radical rally I mentioned the other day and if they take power they are less likely to duck confrontation with the West over Kosovo.

I am never a great fan of the idea that party leaders can herd their voters like sheep but what the Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica says could be crucial. He backed the third-placed candidate.

Mr Kostunica is hard line on Kosovo and has a difficult relationship with President Tadic. But would he really throw his hat in with the radicals? Not an easy crystal ball to gaze into.

Climate package

In Brussels there is a long-awaited announcement of a big package of measures on fighting climate change . As far as I can see, on the end of a long lens from the Balkans, one of the main issues is a European mirror image of a debate that rages worldwide over carbon dioxide emissions.

Should less developed countries be allowed to pollute more that their richer neighbours?

The European Union’s answer is a resounding “yes”. “Burden-sharing” will be renamed to make it sound less burdensome. But the UK, France and Germany will be expected to make even greater cuts backs while some other countries like Romania will actually be able to pollute more. My carbon foot print will grow as I leg it back to Brussels midweek to listen to the details.

Kosovo's needs

In Pristina, Kosovo’s soon-to-be capital , amid the posters left over from the recent election , there are many declaring simply “Ramush: we need you now“ (in English).

Poster in Kosovo of Ramush Haradinaj
Ramush Haradinaj, a former Prime Minister of Kosovo could be sentenced this week at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague .

Prosecutors say that as commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s “Black Eagle” brigade he was responsible for the murder rape and torture of Serbs.

They are asking for a sentence of 25 years in prison. It’s a reminder to the West that in Yugoslavia’s civil war there were atrocities on both sides.

No such reminder is needed for the Serbs. I have just been to a village in central Kosovo, a mixed village before the war, which was painstakingly rebuilt as such, at huge cost, in 2004.

Nearly 50 houses were set aside for Serbs and were taken up. Now only around ten families remain. No one suggests they were threatened or intimidated so it is not clear why they came back and then left again.

The Serbian man who would speak to me, while stressing his belief in a multi-ethnic future, said he would be off if independence was declared. I don’t quite believe him: given that everybody knows it is only weeks away, unless things get really ugly, everybody who wants to go has already gone.

Given such a busy week it’s difficult to know where to go. So I am heading for Albania. It seems pretty quiet there .

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:52 PM on 20 Jan 2008,
  • the truth wrote:

We are not interested in the BBC's love of the climate change theory and the carbon footprint nonsense

We are interested in the attempt to force a dictatorship on the people of Europe

  • 2.
  • At 12:06 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Slobodan Matejic wrote:

"They are asking for a sentence of 25 years in prison. It’s a reminder to the West that in Yugoslavia’s civil war there were atrocities on both sides." (link to "https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7137210.stm")

Dear Mr. Mardell,
Although it is not clear what exactly you mean when you refer to "both sides", from the context one has to assume that one of the sides is Serbia. Ironically, 90% of the news piece that you link to talks about crimes committed by Serbs and only mentions Haradinaj without taking any stance. What kind of reminder is that? Is it really possible that there exists no BBC News article about war crimes committed against Serbs?
Feeling very sad and lonely.

  • 3.
  • At 12:53 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • lewel wrote:

It's true, "in Yugoslavia’s civil war there were atrocities on both sides."
Both Serbs and Croats committed war crimes against Bosnia. But over 90% of the war crimes were done by Serbs.

  • 4.
  • At 06:21 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Colin Ward wrote:

I think the village you visited was in central Kosovo - not central Serbia! As a one time Belgrade expat (from New Zealand) I suspect that the West (wherever that is) continues to underestimate Serbia. One thing is sure they don't understand the country or the people!
Thanks for the blog - it can be enlightening!

  • 5.
  • At 08:07 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Former Mayor Koch of NYC who is a supporter of Bloomberg's candidacy for President made an amazing comment on the Leon Charney Report today. He said Bloomberg should run on two issues, the economy and an ultamatum to Europe telling it that if it doesn't start pulling its fair share of the burden of security, the US will pull out of Iraq, Afghanistan, NATO, and presumably Kosovo among other places. He says these messes are much closer to Europe and they can deal with it themselves in the aftermath. Will Europe fight World War I again over Kosovo they way they almost did in 1999 before President Clinton had the US Air Force intervene? I don't know, I don't care as long as the US had nothing more to do with it.

Speaking about fairly sharing burdents, why should the US go along with the sacrifice of expensive cuts in its CO2 emissions if its large trade competitors India and especially China won't? And besides, the EU has failed almost completely to meet its promised targets under Kyoto, why should anyone think it won't fail equally under "Son of Kyoto?" How will the EU convince the US when the Senate voted Kyoto down in a sense of the Senate vote 95-0 during the Clinton administration? My advice is to sell your home and move to higher ground, that's what I did.

Speaking of home swapping, why is it that it seems like half the BBC staff are in the US at any one time lately? Are they here covering the Presidential election campaign...or shopping for new jobs and houses? They'd hardly be the first Brits to emigrate to the colonies.

  • 6.
  • At 08:54 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Joe wrote:

How I see west is terrified and will offer anything to Serbia just becouase they vote for men who will like half of the Bosnia and Croatia in Serbia. So I expect that in near future EU offer Serbia financial package of few billion EUR to shut up. It is wrong. Nobody in Balkan is scared of the Serbia. It is different from 90-s. Back in the end of the 1995 NATO saved Serbs in Bosnia and gave them half of the Bosnia even that teritory never was Serbian, now Russians there have much more influence than West, so I am kind glad that was happiend. Anywhere nobody in especially Bosnia are scared from that clown Nikolic.

Bosniaks and Croats from Bosnia will be glad if Serbs start to made troubles there so they will have excuse to finally destroy that genocidal thing in Bosnia.

So I think best what EU in this situtation is able to do is five minutes after elections in Serbia is over and declaration of the Nikolic like president, EU need to recognise Kosovo like independent state, and suspend all EU talks with Serbia. Also I don't know why Tadic for western media is "moderate" and "democrat"? ALL top politicians in Serbia are hard nationalist starting with current president to the Nikolic and Kostunica. The biggest nationalist and real Milosevic supporter is current PM. Nikolic is just honest and he tell excatly what he will like, and that is Great Serbia. Problem for them is that they don't have military power to create that sick thing. Especially in Bosnia, and if they try they will lost everything. Honestly I support Nikolic, even I am not Serb from Bosnia, but Bosniak. It is time to burn Great Serbia idea in Bosnia, once for all, so Bosniaks and Croats from Bosnia wellcome real president of the Serbia, hard nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, which idea is to take more than half of the Bosnia. I hope he will keep his words and try to do that. Cheers.

  • 7.
  • At 09:24 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Mark,

According to Saturday's edition of The Times "... the European Council had prepared a readable version of the jargon-filled Reform Treaty but was refusing [...] requests to publish it until after ratification. Critics of the treaty believe that this “consolidated” version is being sat on because it looks too much like the EU Constitution, which was supposed to have been ditched and upon which the Government promised a referendum.

Please do some good old investigative journalism and tell us whether or not this correct?

As for Albania being quiet: enjoy it while you can. Once Kosovo declares independence and then merges into a 'Greater Albania' things may become a bit noisier.

As for 'Climate Change' - that so 2007!

  • 8.
  • At 10:35 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David Roberts wrote:

Dear Mark,

Nobody is suggesting that "less developed countries [should] be allowed to pollute more that their richer neighbours."

Given that Romania's CO2 emissions per capita are less than half those of, say, the UK, what is actually being suggested is that less developed countries be allowed to pollute a little more than they currently do, but nowhere near as much as rich countries.

This is very different to being "allowed to pollute more" and is typical of the propaganda used by those rich countries trying to dodge their climate change responsibilities.

David

  • 9.
  • At 10:49 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Oscar wrote:

Indeed it would be a shame if the Serbs voted for Nikolic. Wouldn't necessarily spell disaster, but certainly make things a lot more difficult. However, you can't really blame the Serbs if they do vote for him considering how much they've been pushed by the West over things like Kosovo.

The voters of most countries would react in the same way if their country was threatened with dismemberment. Imagine the reaction of US voters if the EU and Russia supported Puerto Rican independence and demanded that senior US military commanders (and possibly also the President) be delivered to the International Criminal Court in the Hague!

More carrot and less stick is needed here.

  • 10.
  • At 11:32 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • john newson wrote:

Joe, in his reply number six in this blog, is interesting; he obviously speaks with the voice of true authenticity.

He makes the point that even the so-called 'rehabilitated' state of Bosnia is still a mess of small intra-hostile political and geographical entities of varying natures. His obvious hate comes across clearly; this historically instilled multi-generational instinct to xenophobia is the heart of the matter. I would venture to say that it is created by the fact that the Balkans have ALWAYS been hammered into turmoil by opposed and vast empires on whose elastic borders they have been unfortunate enough to be situated; even to the point of being the axis of all Asian/European invasions as well as being subject to the vagaries of local wars and politics.

Presumably Joe feels that Kosovo risks become another such example, albeit, as a result of being merely racially bi-polar, a somewhat simpler one.

The choices are stark: on the one hand there is the prospect of ethnic cleansing - segregation by race etc - which would sort things out eventually, but at a vast price. On the other hand there is the possibility of political balkanisation down to the smallest possible size of entity that can feasibly exist (say, 100,000 people) within the over-arching arms of the EU.

It's worth noting that this approach would work just as well for more 'settled' places which have a powerful identity(such as Scotland) as it would do in Kosovo in the Balkans. Slovenia remains a poster-child for the success of this process. Social friction is worth avoiding at any level - from minor irritations (eg, Corsica; Gibraltar) to lethal convulsions (Northern Ireland; Bosnia)- and in these days of Schengen, travel and other freedoms flourish as never before, so nothing will be lost.

Sadly, Russia's involvement can only be construed as malign attempt by Mr Putin to pursue what he sees as Russia's interests - which presumably involves engendering perceived hostility abroad in order to buttress popularity for his government at home. Perhaps he feels it's the only way to govern Russia - and who's to say he's wrong? (With all that that implies....)

Without Russia's contrary veto on the issue of Kosovan independence in the Security Council the Serbs could also be welcomed into the family.

With Croatian accession to the EU the job would be nearly complete and Bosnia would look far less tangled. Europe would start to feel secure within its new (Schengen) border, wealth transfer between EU states would continue until economic arbitrage forced parity of living standards across the region, and we could look to healthy organic expansion once more.

Why should the EU, the only true historical example of a functioning 'Empire of the Willing', not look to rule the world? What other entity exists that can offer such a large degree of security, comfort and freedom, not just for individuals - but for entire nations and all sub-groups thereof?

  • 11.
  • At 11:40 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • john wrote:

I am interested in the BBC's love of the climate change theory and the carbon footprint nonsense.

  • 12.
  • At 11:44 AM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Claire wrote:

Max Sceptic, the majority of Albanians have no desire to merge with Kosovo. The Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, stated at the weekend that the reason was:"Simply because the division from one century ago created two very different Albanian realities – one in Tirana, another in Prishtina. If the population of Kosovo could vote for independence or unification [with Albania], I'm absolutely certain that 98, if not 99 percent would choose independence. Reality must be respected."

Mark - enjoy Albania. I'm going at Easter and I can't wait!

  • 13.
  • At 12:35 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Ronald Grünebaum wrote:

@ Max Sceptic (#7)

Since Murdoch bought it, the Sunday Times can hardly be considered a useful source of information on the EU.

That aside, I don't get your point: The Lisbon Treaty has been explained up and down. What else do you need? As you are well known for your conviction that the Treaty will be used against the people, you are certainly looking for the "smoking gun". But there isn't any. There is just the bunch of evil-doers in Brussels that you have been denouncing time and again. Now they have a new tool and you can add a new chapter to your rants.

But if you want to study the treaty in earnest, you may find the analysis by the Schuman Foundation useful:

https://www.robert-schuman.org/doc/divers/lisbonne/en/10fiches.pdf


  • 14.
  • At 12:39 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Marcel wrote:

@lewel (3) & Joe(6):

Nonsense, the majority of war crimes was done by others than by Serbs. Look especially to Izetbegovic' mujahedeen 'friends' if you want to discuss 'war crimes'. You have bought hook, line and sinker into the anti Serbian propaganda by the western media. I suggest carving Bosnia into four states, one Croat, one Serbian, one Bosniak and one just for the fun of it. And while we are at it, lets pick a country every month and carve it up.

And I see that the EU is still trying to 'combat climate change'. What is it going to take for those people to realize that climate change is 100% a natural phenomenon (much like the earth revolving around the sun or the tectonic plates shifting). It cannot be stopped, anyone who suggests it can is lying. The only things than can be done is to adapt to the ever changing situation and fight pollution.

So why does the EU buy into this 'climate change can be stopped' nonsense? The answer is quite simple. They seen an opportunity to grab more powers (in the name of 'saving' the climate) and possibly get more money.

As for 'carbon footprint', that is probably the biggest load of nonsense I've ever heard of. I certainly am not going to go along with it, I do not feel guilty about my life style and have decided on one extra flight vacation just because the green ecozealots tell me not to. Those people tick me off and I vow to do everything they tell me not to do and vice versa.

And the carbon credit trading scheme? Well that is literally trading hot air, isn't it? Amazing, if you think about it, they have set up a market for buying and selling hot air and there seems to be no mass ridicule. Are there really so many sheeple on this planet?

Come to think about it, all those pro-EU (=anti parliamentary democracy) types would get rich if they could sell all the hot air they tend to spout off on internet weblogs and forums. Maybe that's what its all about.

Why is no one questioning the dozens of lies, propaganda and falsifications put out by the first minister of the church of global warming, Al 'hot air' Gore himself? I guess few are, because the followers of the church of global warming are like religious zealots, dissent they will not put up with.

Remember, the climate controls us, not the other way 'round.

  • 15.
  • At 01:16 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

the truth wrote:
We are not interested in the BBC's love of the climate change theory and the carbon footprint nonsense
We are interested in the attempt to force a dictatorship on the people of Europe

Who is we?
Are you claiming to speak for all Europeans, all Britons, or just you and your mates at the pub, indulging in conspiracy theories?
What evidence do you have to back up your claim? Who wants to establish a dictatorship and why would they?
If only europhobes could come up with coherant arguments based on established facts then maybe we could have a debate.
Maybe you have appointed yourself spokesperson for badly informed British readers of the murdoch press, in which case ask yourself a more interesting conspiracy theorists question:

Britain's most powerful press barons are adamently anti European and pro American, and British journalists have lots to say about Britains relationship with the EU and very little about Britain's relationship with the US. Coincidence?

Many people in Britain appear to have forgotten the importance of the word TRUTH.

  • 16.
  • At 03:53 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • said muminovic wrote:

Western authorities realy don't know how to deal with serbs. Lack of that knowledge coused all saffering to other nations in it's neighbourhood. They like to threat even when they don't have real power. They are like snake with no poisson in it's teeth.
You can not change those people by offering them anything. They have to sunk as nation all the way to the bottom, to reach the point of own decission to change themselves. Get Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania in to Europian Union Sociaty and isolate SERBIA with safe borders. Let Serbs change themselves in that special carantine.

  • 17.
  • At 04:04 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

Anybody concerned about a menace created by "Greater Albania" should see a very funny and witty American film called "Wag The Dog", in which Robert de Niro and Dustin Hoffman play leading characters.

Just a scene in which a threat created by Albanian suitcase nukes is being dicussed is worth a price of admission/rental.

The movie (an instant classic) is IMHO up there with "The Mouse that Roared".

  • 18.
  • At 04:57 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Bernie Mu8lligan wrote:

...mmm I am supposed to be a free and democratic citizen of the EU....what I can't get my silly little head around...is the fact that I can't ever remember voting for this bloke "Javier-nijad Solana-dad"...(European expert on Asian politics)....who is speaking in my name...as a "Foreign Minister" on Pakistans internal affairs...Musharaf might be naff but he is the only prospect to keep that country on an even keel....Solana wants to try an election himself before pontificating to ...? well me at least...

  • 19.
  • At 06:29 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mike Dixon wrote:

The United Kingdom is not going to leave the European Communitiy because it cannot afford to. The Balkan States are part of Europe and cannot afford not to join, however long it takes.

To Mark (the other Mark #5 above), I agree with Former Mayor Kock and if I were a U.S. citizen, I would vote for Bloomberg on the programme. The U.S.A. has tried to act as sheepdog to a flock of very unruly shhep. So withdraw and let them sort there own quarrles out or not. If they have to, they will.

  • 20.
  • At 06:40 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Philip Edwards wrote:

Reply to no. 7 (Max Sceptic):

Thank you for your selective, almost Alistair Campbellesque, reading of the Times article. For the benefit of other readers, I will clarify that it was EU Commissioner Margot Wallstrom herself who purportedly made the request.

I should also mention that this story is not reported elsewhere except, of course, "Open Europe" (or rather "Closed Europe" in their case).

  • 21.
  • At 09:20 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Eugene Katyukhin wrote:

It will be interesting to see whether EU drops all charges against Haradinaj if he swears to obey european interests and be convenient puppet, or not. It would be a good test of european commitment to human rights...

  • 22.
  • At 09:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Doni wrote:

Ecological footprint theory is a total non-sense. This is really forcing dictatorship on europeans.
Climate change is like the bird flu, all money collected get redirected to fund wars.

  • 23.
  • At 10:08 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Sean Schneider wrote:

I think one of the big problems with the "burden-sharing" arrangement is that those who are at the head of the class, like Sweden with 40% renewable energy has to go to around 50% while the UK only has to do 15%. It's bad policy to not recognise when the best in the class are miles ahead of the competition.

  • 24.
  • At 11:03 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Marco Borg wrote:

Nothing would please Europeans more than if the Americans got out of Europe, especially the "anti-missile thing" for which they are trying to bribe Polish and Czech politicians. But I doubt Americans will anywhere.

An empire is founded on cheap overseas resources, captive markets,and its currency as a medium of exchange. The US requires all these and in addition a big chunk of its economy is its armaments industry. The first three elements are very shaky so I expect the US to start a war somewhere.

Could it be Kosovo? I doubt it. Putin is not Yeltsin. But then again the Serbs are not likely to give up a chunk of their homeland because of Tito's actions and because Albanians have large families any more than the English will give up their ten largest cities because Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are outbreeding them in these sections.

So Mark is heading for a "quiet" visit in Albania. Quiet is not the word which Italians on the Adriatic coast attribute to Albanians. It would be interesting if Mark were to report on the secessionist movement in the (Greek) Albanian Christian south.

  • 25.
  • At 02:31 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Pavle wrote:

The tolerance in Albania may be the current state of affairs, possibly because it comes after so much torture in the past. As you mentioned it yourself, this is your first visit to Albania, so first impressions can be...off. As for the religious tolerance of the Ottomans, allow me to choke on that for a second and remind you of their brutal treatment of the Christians, their forceful conversions, destruction of many sacred sites, and, best of all, the dreaded "blood tax" ritual of taking away Christian boys to become janissaries.
Also, would you please have someone edit these posts for hate-mongering, or, at the very least, legible sentences. I refer here to Muminovic's smart comments about the Serbs as a nation. His rhetoric hardly belongs anywhere decent, least of all on a BBC website.
Thank you.

  • 26.
  • At 04:31 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

To this outside observer, the most curious thing about the debate over Britain becoming part of the EU superstate is that there isn't any debate. One would think that in an issues as basic as how the country is to be governed, a possible major change to the structure of who will wield power, how much sovereignty will be relinquished, there would be an intense vocal national discussion but no, there is nothing. There are a few protesting blog entries on message boards like this, a few letters to the editors of some newspapers but where are the Tories demanding open debates in Parliament? Where are the Lib Dems chastising the Tories for being so mute and insisting on debate themselves? Where are the newspapers with their acrimonious editorials or the independent networks like ITV (BBC would love the EU superstate so no surprise they don't bring it up much)???? One can only conclude that the overwhelming majority of Brits are happy with this proposed arrangement and agree with it, either that or they are resigned to it and feel the government will do whatever it wants to no matter what the majority feels about it. Now what kind of democracy is that?

  • 27.
  • At 07:07 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • bole wrote:

I think you westerners should stop trying to understand the Balkans, it is impossible for any of you to comprehend what really happened in ex Yugoslavia and what is happening right now so don't even try. Keep your mind on more local things that concern you and stay out of our business. We stay out of yours.

You might thing that we are underdeveloped but you are wrong, we have killed and died for our freedom and the last thing we need is a westerner explaining why.

  • 28.
  • At 07:21 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • MJB wrote:

James(8)
You ask who are the WE in the letter sent by Truth (1).
I think you can take it for granted that the WE stands for the vast majority of the British public whether they are for or against this treaty who want a referendum.You take any poll you like and they all say the same.Even the majority of MPs want some sort of referendum with the Liberals wanting one on our membership of the EU.
As for youR remark that some British have forgotten the word TRUTH you are correct.
The TRUTH is this treaty is more or less the same as the failed constitution. Who says so? Nearly every leader of other EU countries and a labour party dominated committee in the House of Commons.
The TRUTH is Brown and all other leading politicians promised us a referendum on this issue.
The TRUTH is this sleaziest of all our Prime Ministers has gone back on his word to the British public.
The TRUTH is i and i beleive the British Nation would go along with whatever the outcome of a referendum would be.
Is that enough TRUTH for you to be getting on with for the time being?

  • 29.
  • At 09:46 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Reply to Philip Edwards (#13).

According to The Times it was indeed Margot Wallstrom who who purportedly made the request. Vice President Wallstrom is - unusually for a EU official - very much in favour of transparency and the democratic process (and I say this as an 'arch-EUrosceptic' who disagrees with her about most things, yet I hold her in high regard for her openness and candor).

The interesting question is why no-one else has picked up on this story.

As for being Alistair Campbellesque, I fail to see how my reading of the article was 'selective'. At a time when our own Labour-dominated Commons Foreign Affairs committee says that the Lisbon Treaty is 'substantially the same' as the rejected EU Constitutional Treaty, surely access to, and inquiry into, the actual text of the Lisbon Treaty is imperative.


  • 30.
  • At 12:24 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

MJB (19)

I speak as an individual British citizen and don't pretend to speak for anyone else. Nor do I pretend to speak THE TRUTH, though I do believe that journalists have this responsibility, and there are many lies published about the EU in British newspapers. I am curious to know what motivates wealthy foreign press magnates like Murdoch to get so involved in Britain's ongoing 1000 + year old European story. Is it an attempt at colonial role reversal?

As to the Lisbon treaty: If member states held referenda every time there was a new treaty the EU would slow to a standstill. What's more the kind of public debate needed to take such an important decision requires balanced and objective press coverage - something that does not exist in Britain on this issue. Voters elect MPs precisely to take this kind of decision, in the national interest.

Of course the Lisbon treaty is similar to the failed constitution, but it is no more radical than Maastricht was in it's day (and which the conservatives ratified through parliament). It makes changes to EU institutions so they will run more smoothly after enlargement, and streamlines decisionmaking to allow for further integration: without this kind of reform the EU would not be able to evolve to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In other words: it's the kind of reform ANY institution must make: no institution can stay static and survive. As a country that voted by referendum to be a member of the EU club, it is in Britain's interests that the EU succeed otherwise what's the point in taking part?

There isn't going to be a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. If you are against the EU then save your energy and campaign for a referendum on MEMBERSHIP not on a treaty: I'm sure we can both agree that this is a debate that needs to happen.

The European bus is moving again mate, instead of trying to pull out the steering wheel and cause a crash Britain could do the decent thing, ring the bell and get off at the next stop. After all she can always hitch a ride or walk to the final destination, though latecomers risk missing out on the champagne...

  • 31.
  • At 12:57 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

bole #26
I agree with you 100%. Re-examining history in a book written just a few years ago, some Americans came to the surprising (first time most of us even considered it) conclusion that by getting the US involved in WWI, Woodrow Wilson was by far the worst President the United States ever had. Most Americans were reluctant (especially Republicans) to get involved in Kosovo in 1999. In American vernacular, "we didn't have a dog in that fight." The problem seems to be that all of the factions within the Balkins have their allies on the outside who are ready to back them up with military force if necessary. That is how World War I got started. In 1999, Greece and Turkey were ready to go at each other. It would probably have been helpful if we hadn't seen all of those brutal pictures of the Kosovar refugees being driven out into the snow on our TVs every night, out of sight out of mind. The kicker I think was the one with them boarding the trains, it brought Europe's darkest nightmare Auschwitz and the Nazi death camps they were trying so hard to forget for 50 years back in their face. They begged President Clinton to do something to stop it but the it should have stayed entirely a European problem. (Remember the axis of weasel's "European Rapid Reaction Force" Chirac wanted to create? The only thing Europeans can react rapidly to is a chance to write another treaty or code of laws...or to boast and bluster about the great things they imagine they will do.) I would be only too happy to see American troops withdraw completely from the Balkins and from all of Europe immediately for that matter. If the Europeans decide to refight WWI as WWV, I think we should just let them have at it even if they fight it out to the last man. On the bright side, the fewer Europeans there are left alive, the less global warming we'll have.

  • 32.
  • At 01:20 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Filip Bajagic wrote:

All in all the European Union is making a big mistake in its policy towards Serbia. it is in both parties best intrest for Europe to be one and united and not cut up in little hostile banana republics. Naturally if u supress and humiliate people for 2 decades like the EU has done to Serbia, it is only natural for the anti European radical nationalistic opposition to gain ground. People are in all actuality the same everywhere. They all want a better life for themselves and their children. But people have pride and that is one thing that we can not ignore when creating a policy towards a country and her nationals. I am afraid that the EU under the influence of the US has pushed the people of Serbia to far and lost its grip on the country which now might very well turn towards Russia, who as we all know never helped anybody throughout its history. All in all the US is sitting back and petting her whiskers because the TRIGGER HAPPY Europeans once again cant get along, its like taking a candy from a baby. So while the chineese, cambodians, african americans, guys, lesbians, and all kinds of other immigrants are all going to sunday school together, Europeans who are just a shade different are picking a fight again. WAKE UP EUROPE!!!!!!!!

As to the writer who naively said that the Albanians are not interested in merging wuth Kosovo one must ask why the Kosovars (of which 90% are Albanian origin)carry the "Albanian" flag as their own and yet Albania itself has never complained! Can you imagine the reaction of the UK (or even the USA)if Alquaida (terrorists) carried the union jack or the stars and stripes - there would be an uproar. Yet Albania is strangely silent. No, I do not believe that there would not be a merger - it is obvious that there will be a merger - after all, Abania has actively assisted the Albanian Kosovars over the last 20 years in their drive for independance and eventual merger.

  • 34.
  • At 04:56 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Philip Edwards wrote:

Reply to Max Sceptic (#28).

Selective in the sense that, in failing to mention the Commission's involvement, you seek to perpetuate the myth that the EU is a shadowy organisation with something to hide.

The Commission is now more transparent than ever, shown by the endless number of documents available on the internet and the increasing rights for citizens (as provided for by the Charter which the UK has opted out from) to request information from the Commission. In fact, there is more information available about how the EU spends its budget, than there is about how the UK spends is own!

The text of the Lisbon Treaty plus videos, webcasts, you name it, is available at: https://europa.eu/lisbon_treaty/index_en.htm.

You may not like the EU and we both may not like the decline in the UK's world power, but both are a reality. The EU has many faults, but the answer is not to perpetuate myths and play to people's anxieties, but to try and make it work to the UK's advantage.

  • 35.
  • At 12:30 AM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Victor L. wrote:

Reply to Claire (#11)

Whatever Sali Berisha says most of the Albanians want
united Albania and they will achieve it sooner or later. They are very smart and they knew and know how to influence and manipulate the Western press. Let me just remind you that all Albanians use the very same flag which flies over not only Kosovo and Albania but large part of Macedonia as well. And what the Albanian national anthem says:Rreth flamurit të përbashkuar,Me një dëshirë dhe një qëllim,
Të gjithë Atij duke iu betuar,Të lidhim besën për shpëtim (United around the flag, With one desire and one goal, Let us pledge our word of honor To fight for our salvation)and Se Zoti vet e tha me gojë,Që kombe shuhen përmbi dhé,Po
Shqipëria do të rrojë,Për te, për te luftojmë ne (For the Lord Himself has said,
That nations vanish from the earth, But Albania shall live on,Because for her, it is for her that we fight)
By the time the US and EU wake up they have to face a large, corrupt, criminal Muslim state in the middle of Europe which terrorizes her own Christian citizens as well as the remaining Serbian and Macedonian minority. Enjoy your Easter!

  • 36.
  • At 08:33 AM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • aerofranco wrote:

to Mirek Kondracki from Aerofranco:

Mirek, some days ago you have expressed some concern about the latest contracts on the gaz & petrol pipelines that Bulgaria had signed with Russia. You wrote that we, Bulgarians have sided with Russia thus sabotaging the european project 'Nabuko'...
My answer is very simple: the Russian projects will bring just another portion of profit & stability both to Bulgaria and to the EU.
However, I must congratulate you about your 'doubts' concerning the Russian choice of partners and the Bulgarian positive response: beside the orthodox religion & the cyrillic alphabet, there is another, more important historic reason for the mutual sympathie between the Russians and the remaining orthodox people (Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Greeks, Chypriotes, Bielorussians, Bulgarians, even Ukrainians, etc...) Guess what friend?

  • 37.
  • At 10:47 AM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Hannah wrote:

@Philip Edwards (#30)

I did try the links that you offered, with every intention of reading them with an open mind (I am neither Eurosceptic nor Europhilic, though probably erring closer to the first). However, the amount of jargon that I found in the first was off-putting (I have no idea what codecision rules or qualified majorities are, and I couldn’t find any definitions), and I don't have time to read through 48 pages to gain an intimate understanding of the Constitution, no matter how interested I am in who's running this country. I suspect that the only people who do have this sort of time are those that talk about the EU for a living.

As to the second link-I clicked on it and was told that the page did not exist. Am I missing something?

Finally, although I was able to read this information at work, I would not have been able to access it from home, as I do not have an internet connection. Many of the people that live in my area are in a similar situation, as it is fairly poor in terms of socio-economic background. Had this information been presented in some sort of pamphlet that was available to the general public (by “general public” I do not just mean “middle-class”), it would have been extremely helpful and would perhaps have dispelled some of the British backlash about the treaty.

Please understand that I am not criticisng the treaty here (I'll wait until I've managed to read through the information before forming an opinion) but merely saying that this information would have been more helpful if it had been provided in public before the treaty was signed!

  • 38.
  • At 02:22 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • George wrote:

The Serbs want to say during this elections,that they decide themselves for their future. Nobody can extort them with de facto recognition of Kosovo independence.The politic of the EU to support Albanian Kosovars against Serbians.These activities are against the Interntional Legality,the Resolution 1244 and than lots of Serbs want Russia than EU.Haradinaj cannot be free in Kosovo and he must send to Hague.EU has forgotten,that Bosnian Serbs are not war criminals.With this situation Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia and Serbians have human rigts in Bosnia and Croatia.It is terrible,that Americans are making a lot of propaganda,but EU support always them

  • 39.
  • At 02:54 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • FG wrote:

To bole # 27.

It was quite interesting for me to read your post...

I agree with you when you say that a lot of people don't know what happened in ex Yougoslavia, you had to be there to understand. And that makes the work in the region more difficult and not always successful. A lot of people working there right now don't understand what is going on now and how to respond better to the various needs.
And here I am mostly talking about Kosovo, because most of the international presence is there at the moment.
I would never say that the Balkans are undevelopped, it is not true. I lived there.
But Kosovo....shortage of electricity and water every day, garbages everywhere, stray dogs, low salaries, lack of jobs, corruption, should I carry on ????

When nobody is intervening,people complain that nobody cares, when people are intervening, they should stay out of your business.

"westerners" as you call them , brought a lot of money in the region and all the countries in the region are trying to get in the "westerners" club. So I guess it is not so bad to be one....

So what is the solution ?? Withdraw completely from the Balkans and let you kill and fight for your freedom ??? As if that though was not a sign of underdevelopment....

  • 40.
  • At 05:07 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • said muminovic wrote:

Nothing will happen when Kosovo proclaim independence from Serbia.They (Serbs) will scream and blame one each other and , after all, turn to the everyday problems this nation is full of. When Kosovo announce independence, Serbia will loose part of the territory on the same way as Serbia inlarged since Bolkan wars time.
Let us remind Serbs that Authonomus region Vojvodina have never been part of Serbia but for centeries was a part of Hungaria. They grabed it, armed and helped by British and Franch armies, after the collapse of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918.
After the WWII Tito's regime expelled about half of million Germans and Hungarians inhabiting their haouses and property by Serbs.
THat is how Serbia gain territory of Vojvodina which is bigger then Kosovo and which is considered one of the most fertile in the Europe.
Now they are about to loose Kosovo on the same way but this time great powers are on oposite side.
Beside Kosovo Serbia has one more ethnic problem....Sandzak, with it's capital Novi Pazar.That area has Bosniak majority. Until Congress in Berlin in 1878 Sandzak was official part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bosniaks lives under the brutal pressure of serbian authorities there Exghange of population inbetween Bosnia and Serbia should be taken in to consideration as people are already used to move from one place to another.

  • 41.
  • At 05:32 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

to Mirek Kondracki from Aerofranco:

Mirek, some days ago you have expressed some concern about the latest contracts on the gaz & petrol pipelines that Bulgaria had signed with Russia. You wrote that we, Bulgarians have sided with Russia thus sabotaging the european project 'Nabuko'...
My answer is very simple: the Russian projects will bring just another portion of profit & stability both to Bulgaria and to the EU. [#36]


If you want to believe it is beneficial to EU that's fine with me.
[BBC in its own report doesn't seem to - check]

However, and that's much more important, this is, as far as I know, not an opinion of EU leadership, growingly concerned about necessity to diversify its energy sources and means of fuel delivery in order to decrease European Union's vulnerability to political/economic blackmail.

Why don't you simply call Brussels and find out for yourself?

BTW I do know for a fact that not all Bulgarians think that their government's decision was a wise one or beneficial for their country's standing within EU. However I suspect that it'll be easier for you than for me to find out whether any reliable extensive poll has been conducted among Bulgarians regarding that issue. Or whether they care at all one way or the other.

  • 42.
  • At 05:33 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Ana K wrote:

To Marco Borg,
Although I have in mind that you are a Serb, just the serbish habit to change names :) Marko to Marco! You cannot compare Albanians in Kosova with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in UK, simply because Albanians in Kosova did not come form anywhere, they have always lived there, generations after generations! And do not be so concerned about Albanians large families, but worry about the Serbs that "landed" in Kosova from Croatia and other poor parts of Serbia. UK. France and Germany decided to give Kosova to, at that time Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians! Since then we have problems, and who is to blame?!!!

Marko or Marco, Albanians are loud but we are Mediterranean nation, full of life and emotions...very much like Italians ,Spanish:)

My English husband and his family LOVE Albania and we all enjoy our holidays there, although I am not from Albania myself! Go and see that beauty and then talk about it!

As for war crimes, for the illiterate ones, ONLY IN SREBRENICA 8000 MEN AND BOYS WERE KILLED BY SERBS!!! SREBRENICA ONLY!!!!
But ok, why don't you all help Serbs and take them all into your countries, and then you will FEEL the Serb saying: where is one Serb, there is Serbia= gde je jedan srbin,tamo je serbia :)

  • 43.
  • At 06:30 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Ana K wrote:

To Marco Borg,
Although I have in mind that you are a Serb, just the serbish habit to change names :) Marko to Marco! You cannot compare Albanians in Kosova with Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in UK, simply because Albanians in Kosova did not come form anywhere, they have always lived there, generations after generations! And do not be so concerned about Albanians large families, but worry about the Serbs that "landed" in Kosova from Croatia and other poor parts of Serbia. UK. France and Germany decided to give Kosova to, at that time Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians! Since then we have problems, and who is to blame?!!!

Marko or Marco, Albanians are loud but we are Mediterranean nation, full of life and emotions...very much like Italians ,Spanish:)

My English husband and his family LOVE Albania and we all enjoy our holidays there, although I am not from Albania myself! Go and see that beauty and then talk about it!

As for war crimes, for the illiterate ones, ONLY IN SREBRENICA 8000 MEN AND BOYS WERE KILLED BY SERBS!!! SREBRENICA ONLY!!!!
But ok, why don't you all help Serbs and take them all into your countries, and then you will FEEL the Serb saying: where is one Serb, there is Serbia= gde je jedan srbin,tamo je serbia :)

  • 44.
  • At 08:18 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Philip Edwards (#34), Methinks 'tis you who is being selective. The text of the Lisbon Treaty has been available for some time (on rather than the address you gave above).

It was clear from my first post that I was referring to a 'readable' version which, according to the Vice President of the EU Commission, is being held back from publication until after ratification. Having seen the text of the official treaty you must agree that it is anything but readable.

Some time ago Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister, and a central figure in the process of reviving the EU constitution said: “EU leaders had decided that the document to be drawn up by an intergovernmental conference should be ‘unreadable’. “If this is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any prime minister - imagine the UK prime minister - can go to the Commons and say ‘Look, you see, it’s absolutely unreadable, it’s the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum’. “Should you succeed in understanding it there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new.”

  • 45.
  • At 08:25 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Atdhe wrote:

@ Mirek Kondracki #17

Mirek, i think you didnt find the right place to post comments on your favorite movies.

You are taking in consideration Hollywood movies in order to get to some point, how ignorant is that?

Try searching on web for some forums, probably you will find a plenty of them, So you can talk about movies.

  • 46.
  • At 09:03 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

to Mirek Kondracki from Aerofranco:

Mirek, some days ago you have expressed some concern about the latest contracts on the gaz & petrol pipelines that Bulgaria had signed with Russia. You wrote that we, Bulgarians have sided with Russia thus sabotaging the european project 'Nabuko'...
My answer is very simple: the Russian projects will bring just another portion of profit & stability both to Bulgaria and to the EU. [#36]


If you want to believe it is beneficial to EU that's fine with me.
[BBC in its own report doesn't seem to - check]

However, and that's much more important, this is, as far as I know, not an opinion of EU leadership, growingly concerned about necessity to diversify its energy sources and means of fuel delivery in order to decrease European Union's vulnerability to political/economic blackmail.

Why don't you simply call Brussels and find out for yourself?

BTW I do know for a fact that not all Bulgarians think that their government's decision was a wise one or beneficial for their country's standing within EU. However I suspect that it'll be easier for you than for me to find out whether any reliable extensive poll has been conducted among Bulgarians regarding that issue. Or whether they care at all one way or the other.

  • 47.
  • At 03:47 AM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • MJB wrote:

James(30)
I will just let the readers of this blog decide which letter they think is nearest to the Truth!

  • 48.
  • At 11:11 AM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • Claire wrote:

Victor L. (no. 35) and Alexander Sterr (no. 33)
You don't need to remind me about the use of the Albanian flag by ethnic Albanians thank you, nor do you need to translate the Albanian national anthem (which was written when Albania was struggling for her own independence) for me. I have spent a great deal of time in Albania, so I don't believe I am "naive" in saying all of the Albanians I have met (and by Albanians, I mean living in Albania, not Kosova or Macedonia or Montenegro) have no desire to merge with Kosova - they just want to see them get their freedom. The use of the Albanian flag by Albanian Kosovars and Albanian Macedonians is to express their common ethnicity and language. Kosova has designed a new flag, incorporating the Albanian double-headed eagle (much as the Australian and New Zealand flags incorporate the Union Jack). And exactly how does Albania terrorize its Christian citizens? Take a walk down Rruga Kavajes in Tirana and you will see a Catholic Church, an Albania Orthodox church and a mosque all in the same street.

  • 49.
  • At 02:13 PM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • aerofranco wrote:

To Mirek from Aerofranco
Mirek, I agree with you that not all Bulgarians support the ‘South stream’ gas project and the Bourgas Alexandropoulos oil project. I have just expressed my own belief that both projects would of useful both to Bulgaria & the UE, at least for three good reasons:
First: Russia depends largely from the pay that comes from the gas supply to the UE. It is just condemned to be a correct trade partner…
Second: The ‘South stream’ will be just another option for gas supply as the ‘Nabuko’ project is. Both pipelines shall work in parallel, the former pumping gas from the steppes of Orthodox Russia and the latter from the wells of Islamic Iran…
Three: I don’t think we, member states have much choice in our search for trustworthy, reach of oil and gas suppliers who could match our high standards for freedom and democracy at home…
Shall be glad to have your comments. The problem is to be discussed within the EU parliament in order to avoid whatsoever misunderstanding on these matters … if need be!
Aerofranco

  • 50.
  • At 03:51 PM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • aerofranco wrote:

To Mirek from Aerofranco
Mirek, I agree with you that not all Bulgarians support the ‘South stream’ gas project and the Bourgas Alexandropoulos oil project. I have just expressed my own belief that the two of them would of useful both to Bulgaria & the UE, at least for three good reasons:
First: Russia depends largely from the pay that comes from the gas supply to the UE. It is just condemned to be a correct trade partner…
Second: The ‘South stream’ will be just another option for gas supply as the ‘Nabuko’ project is. Both pipelines shall work in parallel, the former pumping gas from the steppes of Orthodox Russia and the latter from the wells of Islamic Iran…
Three: I don’t think we, member states have much choice in our search for trustworthy, reach of oil and gas suppliers who could match our high standards for freedom and democracy at home…
Shall be glad to have your comments. The problem is to be discussed within the EU parliament in order to avoid whatsoever misunderstanding on these matters … if need be!
Aerofranco

  • 51.
  • At 12:22 AM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

Serbia is way behind emotionally and psychologically to be part of Europe just yet. All the neighboring nations Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, even Montenegro, have progressed immensely and apart from economic development, they can be already considered European equals in all values. Even though Europeans fear of Serbia becoming a Russian cancer in the midst of its body, that should not be cause for concern. It will be the people of Serbia who will overturn their fate, but only and only when they see their neighbors develop right in front of their eyes, while they are isolated and looked like freaks from the rest of us.

  • 52.
  • At 01:43 AM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • ZORAN PEJCINOVIC wrote:

We must understand thats Serbs have had enough of foreign countries deciding on the future of Serbia. Suddan Husien was tried before an Iraqi court while all Serb politians are heading towards Hauge. Why is this so? Why cant Serbian people decide the fate of there politians?Why cant we decide there fate by a Serbian court system?We are a democratic soverign country,
It just seems so unfair.

  • 53.
  • At 09:08 AM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

Re #50

Reminds me of an anectode from the Soviet times. When in the late 50s a Polish soccer team defeated Russians despite direct orders to loose as usual (that's a fact) Nikita Chrushchev [that's where the joke starts] sent a cable to the Polish Politbureau.

"Congratulations. Stop. Congratulations to the Polish soccer team. Stop. Congratulations to the whole Polish nation. Stop.
Oil stop." :-)

As you can see, concerns I've mentioned are not new. A possibility of a blackmail by Moscow seemed quite real even half a century ago.

Just as it seems quite real today not only to EU members, but to Belarussians, Georgians and Ukrainians as well, particularly in view of their quite recent difficulties in that department.

  • 54.
  • At 03:26 PM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • A. P wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean by "atrocities were committed by both sides," seeing as I have not been able to find an article that in which a serb was killed by a kosovar. The KLA were called rebels, much as the Liberation Army in Darfur who opposes the Janjaweed are being called rebels. Serbs stripped Kosovo's people of its rights and now refuses to give them independence. If that's not enough proof that Serbia is one sided I'm not sure anything can convince you. People were killed, women were raped and massacred and children were tortured. Look at the Racak massacre, I need not say more.
This was defenitely one sided, you can't fight tanks with rocks. Literally...this is not a metaphor.
But I'm glad you weren't fooled by the Serb telling you he was leaving...much as most of them like to deny anything in Bosnia or Kosovo, they deny all other sane facts. And honestly if someone had given anyone a chance anyone in Kosovo to leave before the Serbs came into their village, they would have. And this guy doubts independence, yet still stays?! If he was so afraid he would have left, right? I'm not bitter, but it is what it is. The truth is told by alot more than my words; by pictures, UN ambassadors such as William Walker who cried at the Racak massacre..and you know everything you can read about Kosovo on BBC.

  • 55.
  • At 05:21 PM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • said muminovic wrote:

I don't see the problem in number of oil and gas supply lines for EU, but the way Bulgaria made souch a stratigic move.
It would be nice to heare from Bulgarian authorities how they see the EU membership for Bulgaria. Is it only beneficial side or they consider certain obligations toward The Union too.
Reaching deal with Russia without consalting Bruxelles is not responsible act and should make EU's leaders to put finger on it's forehead and think about Bulgaria's role inside of Union.
Could Bulgaria turn in to Troya's horse that might be used from Russia in energy crisis in Europe or some other way.
Europe should know that traditional and specially religios relationships inbetween Russia and Bulgaria (not to mention Serbia)are deeply rooted in the past.
Ortodox church, subordinated to Moscow Patriarchy, plays a very strong role in Bulgarian sociaty and has influence in the political affairs.
I would keep an eye on Bulgaria and think twice before taking Serbia in to EU membership as Bulgarians and Serbs are of tha same trade....traditionaly siding to Russia.

  • 56.
  • At 09:07 AM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • aerofranco wrote:

To # 51:
Reminds me the cold war vocabulary when the mere mention of Russia or something dealing with the Russian people would be considered as an omnipresent image of Satan himself… I agree that the Poles may have many reasons of their own to mistrust the Russians, but I wonder how do they see the future of Europe without the Russian gas, oil and power supply. Can we allow ignoring Russia’s existence and admit the ridiculous situation that another anecdote of the past would perfectly describe: “According to the latest news bulletin of radio Erevan for the last 24 hours no one incident has been reported on the Chinese-Finnish boarder”…
To # 53:
One may keep an eye on Bulgaria day and night if he feels better... We Bulgarians shall be glad to take an active part in the construction of the “South stream” gas pipeline as well as in the purchase of shares of the “Nabuko” pipeline…

Vladimir Bozhinoff, Sofia, Bulgaria…

  • 57.
  • At 02:59 PM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • Jugoslav Rinas wrote:

Question: EU with Russia, possible or not?

  • 58.
  • At 07:41 PM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • aerofranco wrote:

To Mr. Mark Mardell from Aerofranco, Sofia:
I thank you for elaborating such genius mean of communication between the East and the West as your Euro blog is. It seems that after the last two enlargement of the EU with twelve new member states, including the former Baltic Soviet republics, the Central European countries and the two Balkan states, your blog is going to win the golden palm of the journalistic community of Europe and of North America. This is not a compliment, it’s just a personnel prediction… I shall be glad to take part in the dialogue no matter whether it would please to all of your readers or not…
Regards, Vladimir Bozhinoff, Sofia, Bulgaria…

  • 59.
  • At 11:29 PM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • Dejan wrote:

As Serbian who was the student in these times of ex Yu wars I was daily watching or listening different news about Serbs from all sides in conflict. It is true, there are atrocities done by some members of my nation and who ever killed inocent human, should be jailed for a life. As member of the Serbian nation I feel sorry for all victims in Srebrenica or whereever any civilians have suffered.
On other hand I feel sorry for hundreds of thousands Serbian refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. I feel sorry for dozens of thousands Serbian civilians killed in operations 'Storm' in Croatia, NATO bombings etc.
Its not acceptable for me to be blamed, just because I am Serb. I never killed anyone. I was fighting against the Milosevic regime more than anyone of you here. I was organizing students protests in 1992 and 1996. There are more Serbs suffered that regime than any others. I have hundreds of friends in Serbia. None of people I know is killer. I have Albanian friend who was coming in my house very often to play chess with me when I was living in Serbia.He was working with me closely in eastern Serbia while NATO bombing. He never even have a single bad word on streets of my town. He was very welcomed and still leaving there. His dauther has married Serb and his son is working in Serbian company.
Last four years I am living abroad and my child is attending the primary school with Albanian child, while its Albanian parents are very friendly with my family.
Everyone here who is capable of blaming all Serbian nation for attrocities is mindless and non democratic. I am very sorry to see the BBC moderators are accepting these blogs so easy. Many of posts are directly insulting all Serbian nation and so easy attached here.
DEAR FRIENDS DEMOCRACY IS NOT WHAT YOU ARE DOING HERE.

  • 60.
  • At 11:58 PM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • B Blairsdale wrote:

This really rattles me!

Go study the results after the a Finish led investigation on Rachak came up with something different.

The Finish pathologists found that most of the so called victims had sulphur burns on their hands and that most shots in the back of the head happened after death?

Srebrenica? Yes a massacre took place I will not doubt it, however after the massacre 38/39 thousand people survived the enclave, most NGO agencies estimated the pre-war population to be….yes you guessed it, about 40 thousand!

Nor do you hear any mention of the 3000 Serbs who were killed in villages surrounding the area by the Bosnian general defending the enclave before it fell or how he received a petty 2 year sentence.

I will not waste my time arguing that once it fell, there were no more pointless civilian killings by the Serbs, but please can we have some realistic facts and figures?

Every dead body has been counted in this 8000 figure, since a war has been raging of such nasty brutality I am shocked its ONLY 8000 dead (even then much of this has not been found) found in the area, especially if you take into account how its been built to be on par with WW2.

Also if anyone wants to, check the ethnic make up of what’s left of Serbia or even its refugee count? Then compare to Croatia.

As for Serbs did most of the killing, yes they did at about 60-65% if anyone cares to trudge through media figures to find independent ones. It was a one side war for a while folks, tends to mean casualties are higher on the side that’s loosing and not everyone had a uniform who fought.

In short I don’t care much for anyone in that mess of for the former Yugoslavia but I do about truth and how the BBC with the guardian struggles to understand it. Please, if you want to be brainwashed then believe the world is black & white and don’t comment on complex issues.

If anyone does care about such a thing as truth, then seek information from those where were on the ground and hold no biased.
For example Gen. Satish Nambiar, the UN general in Bosnia, or even the former Canadian Amb to Serbia.

That’s if you want to hear something different?

  • 61.
  • At 07:22 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • ves wrote:

to: b. blairsdale
truth is that it is convenient to blame war in balkans on serbs, and not at all on western powers who during demolishing soviet union demolished yugoslavia too.
in a similar way to iraq today, they did not stop and ask themselves what could happen if things dont go well. and so after 16 years balkan is still a mess when it really never needed to be.

to: ana,
if you want to understand why was there so many bad things happening in balkans, just look at the hate inside yourself. i am from bosnia herzegovina and most of my family was ethnically cleansed, but i dont hate croats or muslims.
as for kosovo being part of serbia only from last century, you should read litle bit more of its history, and try to find a book not in albanian language this time. maybe it will help you .

  • 62.
  • At 07:06 AM on 30 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

"truth is that it is convenient to blame war in balkans on serbs, and not at all on western powers who during demolishing soviet union demolished yugoslavia too." [61]

You still can't face reality, can you, comrades?

The inconvenient truth is that Soviet Union was demolished by Russian chauvinistic communists themselves, just as Yugoslavia was demolished by Serbian gingoistic communists.

Both of those artificially and forecefully glued together entities simply fell apart since peoples subjugated and opressed by communist regimes for many decades voted with their feet and walked away the moment they regained some freedom of movement.


Of course, you're free to rebuild those superstates and even reactivate Warsaw Pact if you can find willing participants in such an endeavour.

Good luck!

  • 63.
  • At 04:26 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • nO_nAmE_BG wrote:

Bulgaria is independent state and the EU is a organization-an alliance between europians countries!!! And the reason for this alliance is to challenge US and Russia because if the europian countries are not in this alliance they wiil be control by US or Russia by economic,energy and not on last place this alliance is requed for europians country to be "heard" in world problems (wars,wheather and many more)!!!
Bulgaria did this deal with Russia because it's good for Bulgaria and EU as well and Bulgaria do not need to ask EU what to do!!! I don't think that UK or France are asking EU for something!!! So don't blame us for the deal it's our right as independt state to do it without asking anyone (EU,US or Russia)

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