Eastern Europe between Victory Day and Europe Day
11 May, 2018
A Europe Day concert in Montenegro.
While EU Member States celebrated with more or less pomp the Day of Europe, non-EU Balkan and Eastern European countries stood divided between Victory Day and Europe Day. Some chose to celebrate 9 May as Victory Day over Nazi Germany, others marked the EU's Europe Day, while several decided to celebrate both, the Balkan Insight reported.
Moldova marked both Victory Day and Europe Day as a result of political divisions between pro-Russian and pro-European parties. Thousands of people rallied in the centre of Chisinau and marched to the Eternity Memorial Centre lead by the country's pro-Russian President Igor Dodon. In contrast, the pro-European ruling party arranged a major concert in the evening at the Great National Assembly Square in the city centre to celebrate Europe Day.
In Montenegro, a state delegation laid a wreath at the monument to fallen Communist Partisan fighters last Wednesday, while a day earlier PM Dusko Markovic and the head of the EU delegation in Montenegro held a Europe Day reception. Separately, the Montenegrin parliament organised a concert of anti-fascist songs for Victory Day.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic marked Victory Day alongside Vladimir Putin at the Red Square during an official visit to Moscow. In Serbia itself, the state marked Victory Day with a ceremony at the Monument to the Liberators of Belgrade. Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska celebrated 9 May as Victory Day, and local authorities staged a local version of the Russian “Immortal Regiment” procession in Banja Luka.
In Kosovo, state institutions took the day off for Europe Day celebrations. Although Kosovo citizens are not allowed to travel to EU countries without visas, Europe Day was enthusiastically celebrated as a national holiday. Macedonia also marked Europe Day, drawing an approving comment on Twitter from the EU ambassador to Skopje, Samuel Zbogar.