In addition to being Russia’s security stronghold, Belgrade has also became China’s regional economic center, writes Blerim Reka, former Kosovo Minister of European Integration in a Facebook post.
According to Reka, Vucic’s Serbia has currently replaced Enver Hoxha’s “Chinese brotherhood” and “Soviet friendship”. “Globsec Policy Institute” finds that Serbia has become a country under the biggest Russian and Chinese influence. Its citizens see Russia (94%) and China (91%) as their main allies, while they show the least trust on the EU (53%).
“Chinese credit diplomacy, following the one with the vaccines, is rapidly expanding to at least three out of six Balkan countries. Following rapid billion-dollar loans on infrastructure to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, these three countries have slipped into Beijing’s credit slavery. Albania and North Macedonia are part of the Chinese “16 +1” initiative, while Kosovo, fortunately, is out of such Chinese credit expansion,” Reka wrote.
Former Minister explains that “Chinese loans also “exported” to the region the model of authoritarian governance. The Center for the Study of Democracy states that together with Chinese loans also comes an unaccountable governance. Consequently, this leads to money laundering and institutional kleptocracy, to the level some American scholars call a strategic corruption, as an instrument of the national strategies of Russia and China.”
Reka underlines that Chinese money also brought authoritarianism as a governing model; while the Russian gas brought Putinism – as the rule of the individual over the law. “The exports of their democratic deficit and autocratic surplus, fed the local Balkan authoritarians, to govern with the maxim that: everything is forbidden unless allowed by the authoritarian; rather than everything is allowed unless prohibited by the law.”
Reka adds that Kosovo, is the only country in the Balkans which remained immune to such authoritarian eastern exports; remains the most pro-western country in the region, and unconditional neither from Russian-Chinese vaccines, Russian gas, nor by Chinese loans. “Maintaining the Euro-Atlantic course is a state interest and a matter of national security, in the face of the regional landing authoritarianism coming from the east,” concludes Reka.