At a press conference with Serbia’s prime minister, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that “there is no place in Europe for genocide denial” or the glorification of war criminals.

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EU Warns Serbia Against Genocide Denial

Serbian premier Ana Brnabic (left) with Josep Borrell (centre) and EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi at the press conference in Brussels on Tuesday. Photo: EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ.

Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said after an EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday that genocide denial and the glorification of war crimes “is not compatible with European values”.

He was speaking at a press conference with Ana Brnabic, the prime minister of EU aspirant Serbia, whose top state officials deny that the Srebrenica massacres constituted genocide, despite the rulings of international courts. The Belgrade government and the ruling Progressive Party have also offered platforms to some Serbian war criminals after their release.

Borrell also warned that “those who undermine the territorial integrity and unity of their country not only threaten regional stability and regional reconciliation but this is also not compatible with European values and aspirations”.

His comment appeared to be a reference to Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik, whose secessionist moves have been described as a threat to the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dodik is also backed by the Serbian government.

“We shared these principles with the prime minister of Serbia, and we are sure we will continue advancing on the European path of Serbia,” Borrell added. Serbia has been having accession negotiations with the EU since 2014.

Brnabic also spoke at the press conference, saying that “big part of our talks here was dealing with regional relationships, regional connections, improving regional relationships, and what Serbia is undertaking to make the region more stable, more safe and to make it even closer to Europe”.

A joint press statement issued after the meeting said that the “participants underlined the need for meaningful regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations as essential elements of the enlargement process, including in the handling of war crimes”.

“They agreed that further efforts are needed to overcome legacies of the past and to constructively foster mutual trust, dialogue and tolerance in the region, avoiding actions and statements that go against this goal,” the statement added.

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