I have had a sudden rash of inquiries from Serbian media about a trip I made last month to Belgrade, so rather than deal with them all individually, I thought I would put a short statement on here. Apologies to the journalist who asked first a couple of weeks ago.
‘At the government’s request I was asked to meet government ministers and officials and to discuss strategic and communications challenges. In particular we focused on Serbia’s continuing efforts to achieve EU membership and the role that effective proactive communications could play in helping meet that goal. We also discussed the way the media landscape is being transformed by technology and globalisation and the challenges and opportunities they present.’
It was particularly interesting for me to go there, because my main prior experience of Belgrade was when I was overseeing NATO comms during the Kosovo conflict, and the current PM was involved in the Milosevic information campaign. Indeed it is not that many years ago that I was advised against travelling there. But I received a warm welcome and found the short trip fascinating. I got the sense the government is serious about the reforms needed to make progress towards membership of the EU.
I find the Balkans a particularly interesting region. It is also hugely important to some of the big challenges facing the world more widely. I hope to go again.
AC, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to post comments onto your site, why don’t you remove or disable the comments section?
It would save some of us the time spent on reading the blog post and taking the time to write a comment. And another point, waiting 3 or 4 days and sometimes even longer to see a comment appear is not acceptable in these days of instant communication.
Snail Mail is quicker than you. I can’t say that I won’t be bothering you again, because I might. Never say never………….
Alastair, it would appear you’re the front page news in Serbia hence the recent calls you’ve been receiving from their media aka government mouthpiece. In particular, they seem to have picked up on your fascination with the place. Care to elaborate? I sense Vucic looks up to you and just as well coz he’ll need every trick in the book to divert attention away from the impending economic catastrophe and his own lack of tangible achievement since coming to power. Could be a nice little fee earner that one. Here’s the article http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2015&mm=02&dd=20&nav_category=11&nav_id=960081
EU is lost. All old central belt countries should have their own union, helped by Russia AND the EU to set up. But yes, that takes actual imagination, so fuck that idea! We are sleep walking to a crap sandwich in central Europe. Greece will kick off soon, when Russia offers them terms.