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1 Apr, 2024 07:16

Central European state’s leader invited to BRICS summit

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said he could attend the group’s gathering planned for Russia in October
Central European state’s leader invited to BRICS summit

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said he will consider attending the BRICS Summit scheduled for the Russian city of Kazan in October 2024, after learning that he has been invited to the gathering.

During an address to the nation on Friday, Vucic checked the date of the BRICS summit with Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who pointed out that the Serbian leader had been offered the opportunity to attend. 

“Was I invited as a guest of honor?” Vucic responded with surprise. “Thanks for the invitation, we will consider the possibility when the time comes.” 

As chair of BRICS for 2024, Russia will host the group's annual summit, announced by President Vladimir Putin for the regional capital of Kazan. The “top level” gathering will comprise over 200 political, economic, and public events. The exact dates of the summit have yet to be announced.

Last year, a group of Serbian MPs proposed joining BRICS instead of the EU, arguing that the organization would provide better prospects the country.

Serbia applied for EU membership in 2009 and was granted candidate status in 2012. However, its application has stalled over the bloc’s demands for “the normalization” of Serbia’s relations with the breakaway province of Kosovo. The Movement of Socialists, which acts as a junior partner to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, has accused Brussels of using “political blackmail” in an effort to force Serbia to give up its territory. 

“The indisputable fact that Serbia’s so-called European path has a clear alternative embodied in… BRICS,” lawmakers said last year, insisting on public dialogue on the matter.

Republika Srpska, the Serb half of Bosnia-Herzegovina, has also expressed a desire to join BRICS, arguing that it is a clear alternative to the EU. 

“Since Brussels keeps making new and vague demands, I think Bosnia-Herzegovina should apply to BRICS. I believe it would be admitted faster,” President Milorad Dodik said last August, after BRICS agreed to admit six new members. 

The BRICS group of major emerging economies was created in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India, and China, with South Africa joining in 2010. Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE become full-fledged members in January 2024, while dozens of other countries have reportedly expressed an interest in joining. 

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