Analysis of the News “In order to continue European integration, Serbia needs to give up the Jasenovac myth”

May 2022

As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

In order to continue European integration, Serbia needs to give up the Jasenovac myth

The pro-Russian portal conveyed the news about the document of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) on the “protection of Croatian national interests”, which is related to the accession of the region’s countries to the European Union. In the document it is stated that “in order for Serbia to continue the process of European integration”, among other things, HAZU believes that Serbia should renounce “Greater Serbian propaganda, such as the issues of Bunjevci, the language, the myth of Jasenovac and the attitude towards Aloysius Stepinac”.

“On the list is also the question of the border on the Danube, which, according to academics, was incorrectly determined. Therefore, an immediate return of the Croatian cadastral territory and Island of Šarengrad under the sovereignty of the Croatian state is necessary, claims HAZU. Protection of the rights of the Croatian minority in Serbia is also sought, as well as the need to define the position of the SPC (Serbian Orthodox Church) in Croatia,” writes.

Further, the HAZU document is cited, which insists on data submission from taken archives, primarily the archives of the NDH, JNA on the “Stations of the Cross” and concentration camps, and on the Croatian Spring.

Although many Croatian media, as well as politicians, have dissociated themselves from HAZU, which has no influence on the official policy of Croatia towards accession of Serbia to the European Union, still writes that official Zagreb has so far never failed to “stumble Serbia on the European path”.

“Despite the policy of Brussels that bilateral disputes should not be brought into the accession process, on several occasions, Croatia has hindered our progress with requests regarding the border, the cases of missing persons, the rights of minorities, jurisdiction over war crimes…At the same time, in the European Parliament, Croatian MPs are leading in proposing resolutions against our country, and they are the main critics of “glorification of war criminals”, attacks on journalists, close ties with Russia”, writes

Although Croatia has tried several times to resolve its bilateral disputes with Serbia during the accession process, it has never significantly blocked Serbia’s accession negotiations with the European Union. Writings about Croatian MPs in the EP who criticize Serbia are also “inaccurate”, because the number of MPs who criticize the rule of law is large and Croatian MPs certainly do not lead among them. Although the Croatian public condemned the HAZU document as meaningless, does not report such news, thereby encouraging inter-ethnic tensions.

The news about the HAZU document was reported by a large number of pro-government tabloids in Serbia, and none of them explained to the public that HAZU has no influence on Serbia’s EU integration process, and that the Croatian public itself condemned such document.

Author: Jovana Bogosavljević