BRICS invites Serbia to summit in October

Various media sources have reported that the BRICS bloc has invited Serbia to its next summit in Russia later this year.

Russia holds the BRICS presidency in 2024, with the central event of its presidency being the summit of BRICS leaders in Kazan in October. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has stated that he will consider participating in the BRICS summit in Kazan. If Serbia does attend the BRICS summit and join the alliance, it will be the first European country to do so.

Serbia is a strong supporter and active participant in the Belt and Road Initiative, and was one of the first Central and Eastern European countries to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation on the BRI with China.

Serbian President Vučić confirmed in late February 2024 that Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Serbia this year. It is suggested that the visit will be in May and coincide with the 25th anniversary of the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Xi will also visit Hungary and France.

President Vučić attended the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing 6 months ago in October 2023, and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping – and had a brief discussion on the sidelines of BRI Forum with Russian President Putin.

Xi said China firmly supports Serbia in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity – a reference to Western insistence that Serbia must recognize the “independence” of the Kosovo region. During this visit Serbia and China also signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with Serbia becoming the first Central and Eastern European country to enter such a deal with China.

Vučić said that “Serbia fully supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and will continue to actively participate in the joint building of the Belt and Road and deepen friendly cooperation with China in various fields”, according to China Daily.

Serbia has been waiting to be admitted to the European Union since 2009 but this has not progressed as the EU sets the recognition of Kosovo’s independence as a condition for Serbia joining the EU – a move strongly rejected by most Serbs. Serbia has not adopted Western sanctions on Russia, and the US and EU have increasingly sought to bully Serbia for this and its ongoing good relations with Russia.

In December 2023, Serbia held parliamentary elections resulting in the convincing re-election of the Aleksandar Vučić’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) achieved an 8% increase in its vote with 48% of the vote, which enabled it to form a government on its own. The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), the junior partner in the ruling coalition, won approximately 7% of vote. The main pro-West opposition force, the Serbia Against Violence coalition, won 24% of the vote. The Western backed opposition “denounced” the election outcome and mounted unsuccessful “colour revolution” style demonstrations.

See the interview below (in English – 27 min) with Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vučić, from CGTN on Apr 23, 2024.