The Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC, is afraid of losing monopoly in certain areas. There’s no any kind of lawless society or attack on church property and provisions of the law guarantee that, said Montenegro’s foreign affairs minister, Mr Srđan Darmanović, in an interview for Voice of America, VOA.
Here are the key moments from Mr Darmanović’s interview with VOA
VOA: You were the participant at the gathering dedicated to religious freedoms here in Washington. Montenegro is currently facing disagreements over the church issue between the government and the SPC … What is it about?
Darmanović: It is about the new Law on Religious Freedoms that is finally amending solutions defined in the 70s of the 20th century and the period of socialism. All the religious communities in Montenegro, except for the SPC, have approved the Law. The SPC is especially interested in the property issue. However, the draft law was approved by the Venice Commission along with certain recommendations.
I have to emphasize that the Venice Commission would never approve of the law which is not in line with the European standards or which might be challenged before the European Court for Human Rights. Some serious people were considering this matter, and I think there won’t be conflicts that the SPC is continuously speaking about in Montenegro. I think the SPC is afraid of losing monopoly in certain areas.
VOA: How does this issue affect relations between Serbia and Montenegro?
Darmanović: It won’t affect our relations unless some additional problems between the SPC and the state of Montenegro occur.
VOA: Is this issue politicized?
Darmanović: The SPC is a political entity in Montenegro in the first line, and then the religious one. But I think even the religious leading bishops know there won’t be any conflicts.
VOA: The research of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights shows somewhat lower support of the citizens for the EU membership, as well as decline in public trust in the Parliament, Government and the President. On the other side, we have figures indicating high level of citizens’ trust in the Army and the SPC? Do you think the government is losing popularity and if so – why?
Darmanović: Public researches are often carried out. The results depend on the period of conducting researches. It all depends on the trends.
The most important issue here is, as you called it, a decline in trust in the EU …But it can also be returned fast. Maybe failures in the 2019 enlargement policy and some views of the high-ranking EU officials open issues not just among the politicians but the citizens of the Western Balkans as well.
I think the citizens’ reaction is expected as we all witness a certain slowdown in 2019.
Ramush Haradinaj’s resignation might affect new scenarios of the Brussels dialogue
According to Minister Darmanović, Ramush Haradinaj’s (Kosovo PM) resignation might lead to more effective Belgrade – Pristina dialogue between the two chief negotiators – Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vučić.
“As a matter of fact, it’s a matter of their internal relations and policy. Now we have to see who is going to set up the Government of Kosovo and whether the coalition run by Haradinaj is going to stay in power or not. There are many issues before us and we should not rush with the conclusions,” Mr Darmanović said.