EU: what to do with Serbia?

There is still no consensus in the European Union regarding the signing of a stabilization and association agreement with Serbia. At the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, the Netherlands reaffirmed its veto on this issue. This country does not intend to sign the document until Serbia extradits Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, accused of crimes against humanity, to the International Tribunal in The Hague.

The European Union today decided to invite Serbia to sign an interim cooperation agreement on February 7, after the second round of Serbian presidential elections.

EU Commissioner for the Enlargement of the EU, Olli Rehn, believes that at present the Serbian people “choose between the European future and the nationalist past.” According to him, “it is necessary to send a strong signal to the Serbs, having decided to sign the agreement soon.”

The Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia is the first step in the process of admitting a country to the European Union. The EU expects that the agreement could help the pro-Western president Boris Tadic during the second round of elections on February 3, where he is opposed by Tomislav Nikolic, who is in a nationalist position.

A number of EU countries, in particular France and the UK, also believe that this step could be a compensation to Belgrade for Kosovo. The EU has completed preparations for sending to Pristina a civilian police and judicial mission in the amount of 2 thousand people. In Brussels, however, they do not want to officially announce this yet, in order to increase the chances of Tadic’s “Westerner” to be re-elected.

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