Emmanuel Macron surprised the Serbs who came to listen to him in Belgrade on Monday, partly saying in their language the speech in which they called them to "be brave" and to "seek the right compromise" with Kosovo.
Rematch of an odd committed last November
The French president was speaking in front of thousands of people in Kalemegdan Park, in front of a monument dedicated to the Franco-Serbian friendship, founded on the Eastern Front during the First World War. A French expeditionary force had gone to the rescue of the Serbian army, and French and Serbs had fought together.
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This friendship has recently been undermined, including an odd French protocol that placed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in a secondary forum during the Armistice's centenary ceremonies on November 11, 2018. Hashim Thaçi, President of Kosovo , a former Serbian province of which Belgrade does not recognize independence, had been placed in the main stand, with Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin. This had angered many Serbs and the monument to Franco-Serb friendship had been vandalized.
The "Long live France!" a crowd
"Thank you for your exceptional welcome," said the Serbian President in French on Monday, in front of a surprised and delighted crowd, from whom "Vive la France!" "You thus show that the message written on this monument 'Let's love France as she loved us' is still alive, 100 years later," he continued. "It is my turn to tell you in the name of my country: France loves you as you have loved," he said under the eyes of Aleksandar Vucic. The official visit of Emmanuel Macron is the first of a French head of state since that of Jacques Chirac in 2001, a few months after the fall of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.