Serbia's envoy to EU says his replacing was ill-considered

Dusko Lopandic, who has been recalled as Serbia's ambassador to the EU, says this occurred "hastily, outside the usual procedure."

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

As he stated in a letter sent on Wednesday to Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic, it also happened "without consultation and consideration.

Lopandic said he was replaced "under Serbia's caretaker government and at a delicate moment of the (accession) negotiations with the EU."

Lopandic said that the usual procedure involves a diplomat being warned about an omission in their work and invited to consultations that would then "weigh" the gravity of the case or seek that they declare themselves more broadly on all the circumstances of the issue.

The ambassador said that the decision to recall him urgently "annulled and ignored the thirty years of his professional career."

"It would also be devastating for any professional officer that there are now publicly stated tactless classifications of 'more serious omission in my work,' which refer to the alleged insufficiently prompt notifying that a private exhibition was being organized at the European Parliament - which was prepared on their personal behalf by only one (out of 754) members of the European Parliament, with a completely marginal and insignificant influence," said Lopandic.

According to him, "the minister knows that dozens of exhibitions and gatherings are organized daily in the European Parliament building, which have no official character and are often organized also contrary to the official position of EU member-states."

"I responsibly claim that the interests of Serbia and Serbian citizens on the occasion of the organization of the exhibition about (Alojzije) Stepinac were adequately protected by the prompt reaction of the Serbian Mission to the EU - in writing and orally - in all relevant instances of the European Parliament," Lopandic stated in the letter, adding that "the drastic sanction" that has been applied to him "does not correspond to the level of the so-called omission, much less to the non-existent consequences of that failure."

"The minister knows from the ambassador's reports that almost none of the officials in the EP knew about the exhibition or had ever heard about Stepinac before our reaction," said he.

Asked to comment on the decision to replace Lopandic with Ana Hrustanovic, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Wednesday said he could "neither confirm nor deny" the news, and added the reason was "diplomatic practice, and the rule not to announce the name of a candidate before the country they will be posted in has sent its agreement."

As for the decision to recall Lopandic, Dacic said:

"This has been planned before, too, I would not talk about the reasons. He was in the fourth year of his mandate, in a way these are regular changes, that will certainly (also) be happening in the coming period."

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