VIDEO INTERVIEW | Vuk Uskokovic, journalist: The Serbian people look at the Macedonians as their brothers, relations with the EU are like a stick and a carrot
Simply put, the relations between Serbia and Macedonia are good and everyone is happy about that. The Serbian people look at the Macedonians as their brothers. The situation we all remember during the vaccine pandemic was even dearer to us when we as a country helped by donating vaccines against Covid-19. It was just an indication that a true friend is one who is there for you when you are in trouble. Therefore, in that context, I want to emphasize that Macedonians can always count on Serbian help. That is my opinion as well as the opinion of the ordinary people in Serbia. This, among other things, was emphasized by the long-time Serbian journalist Vuk Uskokovic during the guest appearance in the show "Morning Stamp".
Uskokovic, commenting on the move of the Serbian Orthodox Church SOC towards the Macedonian Orthodox Church - OA on the recognition of autocephaly, says that it is only a confirmation of the long-term work of diplomacy between the two countries and churches.
- My personal opinion is that calling the MOC by the SOC is a good thing. In the public, that information was greeted with surprise. Not in the sense that relations between the two churches will be strained, but in the sense that there was a certain distance, especially in the public. So when the news about the reconciliation between the two churches came out, everyone was pleasantly surprised in a way that it was possible to continue building good relations. This is just another good indication of the ability of both countries that something that was a stumbling block between the two sides has been overcome in a good way. All the credit for this step, in my opinion, should go to the diplomacy of the two churches - said Uskokovic.
Uskokovic, a former journalist at the Serbian national TV station RTS, says that it is difficult to assess whether the media in Serbia is completely independent.
- Today, no country in the world has totally independent media. You can often hear that the media in Serbia, at least most of them, are not free. That they are under the control of the state, that they are under foreign influence, regardless of whether it is Russian or American. However, in my opinion, this issue is viewed too one-sidedly. Unlike the majority of countries in Europe where the Russian media is censored or banned entirely, the Serbian people have the opportunity to be informed from multiple sources. Here I want to emphasize that it is not about how much and how the Russian media are present on the domestic airwaves, but about the possibility for the average citizen to choose for himself from where and how he will be informed. In my opinion, that is a good thing because it is always good for a democracy if you hear thoughts and writings from several sides about some information - pointed out Uskokovic.
The Serbian journalist referred to the policies of the EU towards Serbia, but also to the issue surrounding Kosovo.
- People in Serbia for many years hoped that Serbia would join the EU at some point. The majority of the people share European values and that was the goal on which more or less everyone agrees. However, as the years passed, everything turned into that well-known game, popularly known as the stick and carrot game. The EU always criticized us with a stick that we should be good and with a carrot they told us that one day we will enter the European Union. However, as time passed, the carrot was further away and the stick worked flawlessly - says Uskokovic.
The Kosovo issue for Uskokovic is a problem that can be prolonged for many more years, although the latest signals from Belgrade say otherwise.
- Who would have known at this moment how the Kosovo issue would be resolved. I hope it will not be solved on the principle of cutting the Gordian knot. A lot of patience and wisdom is needed here. President Aleksandar Vucic skillfully balances the situation. Challenges are always answered with calmness. There are no hasty reactions and no thought-out steps. Serbia's attitude towards all the problems that happen to it is that it solves them calmly and thoughtfully. This is evidenced by the steps taken after all the provocations coming from Pristina. I expect the Kosovo issue to be resolved, but when it will be is difficult to predict, although the latest signals from Belgrade say that we may soon have some kind of movement from the deadlock - Uskokovic concluded.
The Serbian journalist also spoke about the Open Balkans initiative, the economic and cultural relations between the two countries, but also about the developments in Ukraine and Russia.
You can see more of the conversation with journalist Uskokovic in the video below.