May 29, 2020 - Montenegro opens its borders to Croatia on June 1, but Croatian borders remain closed to Montenegrin citizens. Serbia allowed the arrival of Montenegrin citizens, but Montenegro did not list Serbia among the first countries to whose citizens it plans to open its borders. Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be able to enter Montenegro, but Montenegrins are welcome to Bosnia.
The Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, stated today that the message of Podgorica that the citizens of Serbia are undesirable in Montenegro is "clear" to her. She assessed for B92 television that Montenegro's decision to open the country's borders to the citizens of several countries, but not Serbia, is wrong. It represents a "classic case when politicking obscures economic interest and what is good for your economy and citizens."
She also stated that she believes that Podgorica will change that decision under the pressure of the tourism sector.
"I believe that there will be a lot of pressure from hoteliers because tourism is the most significant part of their economy, and that is why our citizens are perfect tourists. Eventually, they will give in, and I believe they will invite us to come to Montenegro. I urge citizens not to go where they are undesirable, but wherever they go, the Government of Serbia will be open for cooperation, "the Prime Minister stated.
She reiterated that Serbia respects Montenegro as a neighboring country and advocates for regional stability and better connections to improve the citizens' quality of life.
"I do not understand that some colleagues in the region do not understand that we as a region can progress and raise the quality of life of the citizens of Serbia, BiH, Montenegro only if we work together, if the region is peaceful, stable, better connected," said the Prime Minister.
She stated that she does not want to interfere in the internal affairs of Montenegro, but also added that her constitutional obligation as Prime Minister and the requirement of Serbia as a state is to take care of Serbs in Montenegro, to protect their rights.
She assessed that by reciprocity, "we will not get anything" and that it is meaningless to close Serbia's borders for 28% of Serbs living in Montenegro.
"We do not want to participate in these games of the past, but we are facing the future. I invite the citizens of Montenegro to come to Serbia. We are an open country, we want people to come here, that is our policy and will not change because someone else's strategy is entirely different ", said the Serbian Prime Minister.
Asked about Croatia's decision not to open its borders to Serbian citizens, she said that Zagreb made that decision only for EU members and that she assumed that "something does not count excessively on tourists from Serbia."
"I think more about how to best present all the beauties of our country to our citizens who often know foreign countries better than our tourist destinations. I invite our citizens to stay during the summer in Serbia and rely on the beauties and services in their country because it is in terms of health security the safest, and thus directly help the domestic economy in a challenging year ", said Ana Brnabić.
Commenting on the absence of EU reactions to Podgorica's decision, she said that full membership in the Union remains Serbia's strategic path, but added that sometimes the lack of response is a reaction.
At yesterday's session of the Government, Croatia decided to open the borders for ten European countries, among which there is no Montenegro, Croatian media report.
At the beginning of the Government session, President Andrej Plenković said that this decision was made, as he said, due to the excellent results of Croatia in recent days. He said that the borders would be open for tourists from ten European countries, and the list will be expanded, he says, following the situation.
Previously, Montenegro did something similar, so Serbs are not allowed to travel there for now.
Croatian Minister of Health Vili Beroš stated that there had been no new infected with COVID-19 in Croatia for the last four days.
"We are among the most successful countries in the fight against KOVID-19 in Europe and the world - he said, adding that since the measures were relaxed, we have a small number of newly infected people and a favorable epidemiological situation," Beroš said. He added that he was sure that as the situation progressed, the list of countries would expand.
The Minister in the Government of Croatia, Davor Božinović, explained that citizens from ten countries on the list will no longer have to state the reasons for entering Croatia, but will enter the country as before the coronavirus pandemic.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is opening its borders for the entry of citizens of all neighboring countries as of June 1, the chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers, Zoran Tegeltija, confirmed on Thursday.
"We have decided to open the borders with neighboring countries from June 1 without any restrictions related to testing for COVID-19," Tegeltija told reporters in Sarajevo after the session of the Council of Ministers.
He added that all restrictions on passenger traffic with neighbors had been lifted even though some neighboring countries, namely Croatia and Montenegro, still retain restrictions on the entry of BiH citizens. "Unfortunately neighboring countries were not kind to BiH in the same way," Tegeltija said. All Bosnian airports will be open for international traffic, so from June 1, a complete renewal of air traffic is possible.
Montenegro annunced yesterday that its borders will be open from June 1 also to the citizens of Bosnia.