Politico: EU condemns Croatia flag incident in Serbia19 April 2018 | 18:53 | FOCUS News Agency
As a result of the incident, which took place Wednesday, a delegation from Croatia canceled the rest of their visit to Serbia, whose aim was to improve relations between the Balkan neighbors.
“What we saw yesterday does not belong to a democratic institution,” a Commission spokesperson said, Reuters reported. “It is actually disrespectful of a democratic institution representing citizens and all of those who work on good neighborly relations and regional cooperation.”
The Croatian delegation was in the parliament when Vojislav Šešelj, of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party, trampled on a Croatian flag.
According to Balkan Insight, Šešelj also insulted the visitors by shouting “Ustaša” (a Croatian fascist movement).
The Croatian delegation was supposed to meet with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić on Thursday, but those talks did not take place.
Seselj’s act was a “brutal attempt to damage the dignity of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the delegation of the Croatian Parliament,” Serbian parliament spokeswoman Maja Gojkovic said in a statement.
“The disrespect towards Croatia’s state symbols … cannot be allowed, and also insults the Serbian people, who take pride in a tradition of hospitality,” she added.
The Serbian Radical Party, however, backed its founder’s actions. “Five members of security were unable to take the banner and the flag [from him],” it said.
Earlier this month, a tribunal in The Hague sentenced Seselj to 10 years in jail for inciting crimes by making nationalist speeches during the war in 1992 — although he won’t have to serve any jail time because of the time he has spent in custody.
According to Serbian law, such a conviction should disqualify an MP from having a seat in parliament. The opposition and civil society organizations have repeatedly urged the nationalist politician to give up his seat.
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