Alexandar Vucic attributed his gloomy forecast to both political turmoil and the economic crisis
The next six months will be the most difficult period for Europe since the Second World War, due to both the economic and political challenges, Serbian President Alexandar Vucic said on Wednesday.
In a speech closing a two-day parliamentary debate on the situation in Kosovo, Vucic stressed that his government “will not recognize the independence of the breakaway province directly or indirectly in any way” and will keep defending its position amid mounting pressure from the West. Speaking more broadly, Vucic, who earlier warned of the risk of a military conflict in the region, predicted “one of the most difficult years for the Serbian people and the citizens of Serbia since 1945.”
He has accused Kosovo of exacerbating tensions on its border with Serbia and some European nations of pressuring Belgrade to recognize its independence.
In addition to the Kosovo-related issues, Vucic cited as grounds for his gloomy outlook “everything that is happening in the world,” including “the recent reports from Armenia, Kyrgyzstan” and the Polish parliament’s approval of a bill demanding huge reparations from Germany.
Armenia and Kyrgyzstan were both recently involved in border clashes with their neighbors, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, respectively.
Vucic also mentioned the words of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who recently warned of the risk of a “full stop” of the European economy amid the energy crisis, exacerbated by Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Western sanctions against Russia, and significant cuts in Russian energy supplies.
“It was enough to hear the words of the Belgian prime minister, who said that the entire European economy will fall, and if it falls, what will happen to ours, which is less resistant to all external shocks?” Vucic said.
Although Serbia is not an EU member state, the country’s energy supplies transit through countries that are, meaning that sanctions imposed by the bloc on Russia also affect it.
Suggesting that the 1990s were a terrible time for his country, Vucic emphasized that the upcoming winter might not be the worst in recent history for the Serbians, but for Europe as a whole it definitely will be.
“The next six, a little more than six and a half months will be the most difficult for Europe after the Second World War as a whole,” Vucic said.
Earlier this month, the Serbian president claimed that while Europe is facing a difficult winter this year, “next winter will be polar.” Vucic’s remarks came as a reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the Eastern Economic Forum in which he said that Russia would not supply energy to countries adopting measures in breach of supply contracts and thus would leave them with just one option – to freeze.