- Accession of Serbia to the European Union
Infobox EU accession bid
status = Stabilisation and Association
nation = Serbia
national_denonym = Serbian
national_GDP_PPP = 81.982
national_area_total = 88 361
national_population = 10,150,265
Accession of Serbia to the European Union depends on several factors. While both the
Serbian governmentand the European Unionagree that Serbia could eventually become a member of the EU, the need for internal reform both within Serbiaand the EU means that Serbia will not join EU before 2012, and perhaps not before 2015.
Serbia is currently not recognised as a candidate country, but only as "potential candidate country". [ [http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/countries/index_en.htm Candidate and Potential Candidate countries] , European Commission web site]
On 7 November 2007 Serbia initialed a
Stabilisation and Association Agreement(SAA) with the European Union, i.e. agreed on the final version of the text to which no or little changes are to be made, which is the step immediately preceding the official signing that is expected to take place in 2008. This is a milestone in Serbia's accession negotiations, and was executed following the advice of chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Pontewhich advised the EU that the country was complying adequately with the tribunal, though that Ratko Mladićmust be in The Hagueprior to any official signing being able to take place. [ [http://setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2007/11/08/feature-01 Serbia, EU initial SAA (SETimes.com) ] ]
Among the issues which may hinder Serbia's accession includes freedom of the media, as several governments have protested against recent threats and hate speech used against Serbian journalists. [ [http://22.214.171.124/serbia/item_1_29106.html OSCE Mission, eight embassies express concern with media situation in Serbia, call for respect for media freedom] ]
Signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement was opposed by the Governments of the
Netherlandsand Belgiumwhile the Government of Spainlobbied on behalf of Serbia. [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=04&dd=23&nav_id=49669 Spain to lobby for SAA signing] ]
Deputy Prime Minister,
Božidar Đelićsigned the Stabilization and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008. [ [http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2008&mm=04&dd=29&nav_category=11&nav_id=296162 Srbija potpisala SSP sa EU] ] Vojislav Koštunica, Serbian Prime Minister at the time, said on 1 May that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrovwas right when he said that the SAA should have been signed. But one day later, on 2 May 2008, he vowed to annul the agreement after the election, calling it "a trick", "Solana's agreement" and "the Tadić-Đelić SAA signature". [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=05&dd=01&nav_id=49898 Koštunica agrees with Lavrov: SAA long overdue] ] [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=05&dd=02&nav_id=49912# "EU deal signature will be annulled"] ]
erbian government stance
The government of Serbia wants to prepare the country for EU accession between 2012 and 2015.Fact|date=September 2007 However, it seems much more likely that it would happen around 2015 due to many domestic problems and extensive reforms that should be implemented. The Serbian government has declared that the status of the
Kosovoregion should not be tied with the EU negotiations.
European Union stance
The European Union notes that the conditions of Serbia access to the EU are dependent on
Serbia's full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,, solving the ethnic tension in the region of Kosovo, dealing with povertyin the south as well as the widespread corruption. The current institutional crisis in the EU is another delaying factor.
European Unionhas been considering enlargement in the Balkanssince at least the late 1990s. [http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/potential-candidate-countries/serbia/key_events_en.htm on Serbia - Key events] at "ec.europe.eu". Retrieved on 20 September 2007.] The negotiations became serious after Serbia began the reform process after the fall of the Milošević regime in 2000, back then as part of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro[This state union was dissolved in 2006] when the EU officially declared that the Balkan states are potential candidates for membership, confirmed in 2003.
On 3 May 2006, the European Union suspended SAA talks with Serbia over its failure to arrest Ratko Mladić, stating that Serbia failed to fulfill its commitment to fully co-operate with
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.. This slowed the pace of Serbia's EU entry and the reform process in Serbia. In July 2006, an action plan for the arrest of Ratko Mladić was issued by the government, aimed to locate and bring the former general to justice, which is expected to improve relations with EU. In May 2007, Serbian parties reached an agreement on a new government, and placed President Boris Tadićas head of the newly created National Security Council. Within weeks of the Council's establishment, Serbian officials made two key arrests of indicted war criminals. As a result, on 13 June 2007, the European Union decided to reopen negotiations. On 21 July 2008, Radovan Karadžićwas arrested.
On November 8, 2007, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister
Bozidar Djelicand the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehninitialed in Brussels the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Serbia and the European Union. [ [http://www.seio.sr.gov.yu/code/navigate.asp?Id=106#697 The EU Integration Office > Latest News ] ]
Olli Rehn said that the EU decision to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia was the result of improved cooperation with the ICTY, as reported by the chief prosecutor of this Tribunal,
Carla Del Ponte.
Rehn underlined that full cooperation of Belgrade with the ICTY remains a precondition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which was initialed two years after the launching of the first negotiation round. On 16 January 2008 the
Netherlandsand Belgiumconfirmed that their countries would not sign the SAA (signatures are needed from all EU member states) until Serbia complied fully with the ICTY. [ [http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/1200499324.24 Netherlands stands firm in opposing deal for Serbia] ] On 14 January ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertzconfirmed that there was no change and Serbia was still not fully cooperating. [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL14167214 No change in Serbia cooperation view-new prosecutor] ]
Following this agreement, the EU plans to grant candidate status to Serbia as early as 2009, contingent on its full cooperation with the Hague tribunal. [ [http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3616069,00.html Serbia an EU candidate as early as 2009, ICTY cooperation needed first] ]
Kosovo's provisional government unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, on 17 February 2008. This was followed by several
EUcountries recognizing Kosovo as independent country. These events heavily influenced Serbian political landscape, and eventually led to the fall of Serbian government in spring 2008. The central topic on which the coalition partners diverged was Serbia's EU accession.
On 4 April 2008, Serbian Prime Minister
Vojislav Koštunica, supported by Velimir Ilić, Minister of Infrastructure, stated that EU membership is no longer on agenda for Serbia. Koštunica said that that before EU accession continuation Serbia and EU must discuss the matter of borders and Serbia’s territorial integrity. [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=04&dd=04&nav_id=49087 Koštunica: EU membership not on agenda] ] He said that Serbia must not by no means sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. He referred to the agreement as "Solana's agreement". [ [http://www.mtsmondo.com/news/world/text.php?vest=93149 Koštunica: Nikako ne potpisati SSP] ] [cite web|url=http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/9356/ |title=Serb President 'should resign' over EU deal |publisher=Balkan Insight] [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=04&dd=21&nav_id=49620 "SAA not in Serbia's state interests"] ]
At the same time President
Boris Tadićsaid that the Vienna Convention allows him to sign the agreement and that he will sign it if it is offered. [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=04&dd=11&nav_id=49298 Tadić to sign SAA, if offered] ] Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister, has been previously authorized by the Government to sign the agreement and is still willing to do so. [ [http://www.seebiz.eu/en/politics/tadic-i%E2%80%99ll-sign-saa-on-april-28,12846.html Tadić: I’ll sign SAA on April 28] ]
Deputy Prime Minister,
Božidar Đelićsigned the Stabilization and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008. The ceremony in Luxembourgwas attended by the President Boris Tadićand the Foreign minister Vuk Jeremić. [ [http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2008&mm=04&dd=29&nav_category=11&nav_id=296162 Srbija potpisala SSP sa EU] ]
On 1 May Koštunica said that Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrovwas right when he said that the SAA should have been signed but one day later on 2 May 2008 he vowed to annul the agreement after the election, calling it "a trick", "Solana's agreement" and "the Tadić-Đelić SAA signature". [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=05&dd=01&nav_id=49898 Koštunica agrees with Lavrov: SAA long overdue] ] [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=05&dd=02&nav_id=49912# "EU deal signature will be annulled"] ]
Serbian parliamentary election, 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed, and the SAA opposition was left without a political power. A new Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetkovicannounced “"One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification"” [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?mm=7&dd=7&yyyy=2008 Parliament elects new government] ] . On September 9 2008, a Parliament of Serbia have ratified the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. The European Commission (EC) welcomes the ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) by the Serbian parliament [ [http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2008&mm=09&dd=09&nav_id=53326 Parliament ratifies SAA] ] .
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