10:32 GMT23 January 2021
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    Serbian Prime Minister accuses the European Union of orchestrating a media-campaign to destabilize his government, while he is trying to reconstruct the Tamnava coal mine, destroyed by floods last year.

    MOSCOW, January 11 (Sputnik) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic accused European Union (EU) officials of organizing a campaign to destabilize his administration by funding anti-government media, Reuters reports.

    The Prime Minister accused the EU and Michael Davenport, the head of the EU mission to Serbia, of funding media organizations trying to destabilize his government after a regional news organization published an article criticizing the reconstruction of a coal mine, Reuters says.

    The quarrel started when the EU-funded Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) said earlier this week that the state-owned power monopoly Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) hired an inexperienced local company to work on the reconstruction of the Tamnava coal mine, allegedly increasing costs, Macedonian International News Agency (MINA) reports.

    Last year, 51 people died in floods in Serbia that caused more than $1.7 million in damages and destroyed the Tamnava mine, which supplied coal to TENT power plant that, in turn, generates half of Serbia’s energy, according to Reuters.

    Although the EU-funded BIRN is critical of how Serbia handles the post-flood reconstruction of its mine, the EU provided very little help to the country following last years disaster. Most of the help came from Serbia’s neighbors and Russia, MINA reports.

    Vucic also said that Maja Kocijancic, the European Commission (EC) spokesperson for neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, attempted to stop him from speaking with media regarding the issue.

    “I am shocked by the fact that Maja Kocijancic in the name of the EU is trying to shut me up, to forbid me to even answer the question of the journalists,” Vucic said, as quoted by Press TV. He further added: “I am refusing to be your puppet.”

    Kocijancic was quick to reject Vucic's claims.

    Vucic, the former information minister, served under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic in late 1990s. After Milosevic was removed from his office, Vucic changed his policies and embraced Serbia's path to EU membership.


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