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Serbian EU accession bid
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EU Serbia
PPP GDP ($bl.) 15,247,000 79.798
Area (km²) 4,324,782 88,361
Population 501,259,840 7,334,935
Status
Stabilisation and Association
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Serbia

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Accession of Serbia to the European Union is the process of joining the European Union by the Republic of Serbia.

Serbia officially applied for the EU membership on 22 December 2009.[1] The government of Serbia has the goal for the EU accession in 2014 per the Papandreou plan - Agenda 2014.[2][3] European Commission's Vice President Jacques Barrot seems to back this initiative, predicting Serbia's EU accession within 5 to 7 years following its formal application.[4]

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 was expected to take place in 2008. This was a milestone in Serbia's accession negotiations, and was executed following the advice of chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte which advised the EU that the country was complying adequately with the tribunal, though that Ratko Mladić must be in The Hague prior to any official signing being able to take place.[5]

Signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement was opposed by the Governments of the Netherlands, and Belgium while the Government of Spain lobbied on behalf of Serbia.[6]

Deputy Prime Minister, Božidar Đelić signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008.[7] Vojislav Koštunica, Serbian Prime Minister at the time, said on 1 May that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was 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".[8][9] After the Serbian parliamentary election, 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed, and the SAA opposition was left without political power. A new Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetkovic announced “One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification[10] As of January 2009 the Serbian government has started to implement its obligations under the agreement unilaterally.[11] The effects remain to be evaluated by the European Commission. Despite its setbacks in the political field, on 7 December 2009 the EU unfroze the trade agreement with Serbia[12] and Serbia entered the Schengen visa free regime on 19 December 2009.[13]

Contents

Serbian government stance

The government of Serbia wants to prepare the country for EU accession between 2012 and 2015.[14] 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 Kosovo region should not be tied with the EU negotiations.

According to a survey by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, as of November 2009, support for accession among Serbians was 71 percent.[15]

European Union stance

The European Union (EU) notes that the only [16][17][18][19] pre-condition and obstacle for Serbia's access to the EU is Serbia's cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY),[20] and the object of that obstacle and condition is the extradition of indicted Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić for crimes against humanity, the last two persons sought by the ICTY.

A strong opponent of Serbia's signing and ratification of the SAA is the Netherlands, which stated that it will not put the SAA in force until Ratko Mladic is in ICTY custody. On Sept 15, 2008, the Netherlands froze the trade-related part of the SAA with Serbia[21][22].

Currently, Serbia and the EU are at odds over implementation of the EU's EULEX mission to Kosovo. The EU wants to implement its mission in Kosovo according to Martti Ahtisaari’s Kosovo status proposal, but Serbia wants EULEX to be first approved by the UN Security Council in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.[23][24]

Principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Serbia, including the status of Kosovo, are defined by 2008/213/EC: Council Decision of 18 February 2008.[25]

Negotiations

The European Union has been considering enlargement in the Balkans since at least the late 1990s.[20] 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[26] when the EU officially declared that the Balkan states are potential candidates for membership, confirmed in 2003.[20]

Negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement started in November 2005.[20]

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.[20]. 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 Tadić as 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 Karadžić was arrested.

On November 8, 2007, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic and the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn initialed in Brussels the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Serbia and the European Union.[27]

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 Netherlands and Belgium confirmed that their countries would not sign the SAA (signatures are needed from all EU member states) until Serbia complied fully with the ICTY.[28] On 14 January ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz confirmed that there was no change and Serbia was still not fully cooperating.[29]

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.[30][31]

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Stabilisation and Association Agreement

Kosovo's provisional government unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, on 17 February 2008. This was followed by most EU countries recognising Kosovo as independent country. These events heavily influenced the Serbian political landscape. 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 before EU accession continuation Serbia and EU must discuss the matter of borders and Serbia's territorial integrity.[32] He said that Serbia must not by no means sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. He referred to the agreement as "Solana's agreement".[33][34][35]

At the same time President Boris Tadić said that the Vienna Convention allows him to sign the agreement and that he will sign it if it is offered.[36] Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister, has been previously authorised by the Government to sign the agreement and is still willing to do so.[37]

Deputy Prime Minister, Božidar Đelić signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008. The ceremony in Luxembourg was attended by the President Boris Tadić and the Foreign minister Vuk Jeremić.[7]

On 1 May Koštunica said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was 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".[8][9]

After the Serbian parliamentary election, 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed, and the SAA opposition was left without political power. A new Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetkovic announced "One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification".[10] On 9 September 2008, a Parliament of Serbia have ratified the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. The European Commission (EC) welcomes the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) by the Serbian parliament.[38]

On 15 September 2008. The Netherlands froze the trade related part of a pre-accession deal (SAA) with Serbia.[21]

On 16 October 2008 Serbian government unilaterally decided to begin with implementation of trade part of Interim Trade agreement with EU starting 1 January 2009.[39][40]

Key events in Serbia accession to EU

Key events in Serbia accession to EU according to official European Commission page for Serbia accession into EU: [20]

2009-Dec-22: Serbia officially applied for membership in the European Union
2009-Dec-19: Visa free regime for Serbia is put into force
2009-Dec-07: European commission decides to implement Interim Trade agreement with Serbia.
2009-Nov-30: European commission decides to put Serbia on White Schengen list
2009-Jan-01: Serbia implements Interim Trade agreement with the EU.[39][40]
2008-Oct-16: Serbian government unilaterally decided to begin with implementation of trade part of Interim Trade agreement with EU starting Jan 01. 2009.[39][40]
2008-Sep-15: Netherlands freezes SAA and trade part of SAA.[39]
2008-Sep-09: SAA and IA ratified by National Assembly of Serbia
2008-July-18: Arrest of war crime indictee Radovan Karadzic [41]
2008-May-07: Commissioner Barrot hands over the Road map on Visa liberalisation, set up with the aim of achieving a visa free regime for Serbian citizens wishing to travel to Schengen countries. [42]
2008-Apr-29: The signature of the SAA and of the Interim Agreement with Serbia is signed in Luxembourg. [43]
2008-Feb-18: Council of the EU - Decision on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Serbia including Kosovo[44]
2008-Feb-17: assembly of Kosovo declares independence. [45]
2008-Jan-01: Entry into force of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreement between Serbia and the EU. [46]
2007-Nov-01: The SAA with Serbia is initialed.[47]
2007-June-13: SAA negotiations with Serbia resumed, following a clear commitment by the country to achieve full cooperation with the ICTY.[48]
2006 Oct: a new Constitution is adopted by the Parliament and confirmed by referendum.[49]
2006 Jun: Following the declaration of independence of Montenegro, Serbia becomes the legal successor to the State Union.[50]
2006 Jun 15: the Government of Serbia officially recognised Montenegro as an independent state.[51]
2006-May-21: Montenegro declares independence.[52]
2006 3 May: SAA negotiations called off due to lack of progress on co-operation with the ICTY. [53]
2005 Oct: Launching the negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.[54]
2004 Oct: Council conclusions open up a process for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
2004 Jun: Council decision on the European Partnership for Serbia and Montenegro, updated in January 2006. [55]
2003 Jul: EU Enhanced Permanent Dialogue with Serbia and Montenegro replaced the format of the Consultative Task Force
2003 Jun: at Thessaloniki Summit, the SAP is confirmed as the EU policy for the Western Balkans. The EU perspective for these countries is confirmed.
2002 Mar: signature of the Belgrade Agreement on a State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
2001 Jul : start of the EU-FRY Consultative Task Force.
2001: First year of the new CARDS programme specifically designed for the SAP countries.
2001 Jun: Feira European Council states that all the SAP countries are “potential candidates” for EU membership.
2000 Nov: Serbia to benefit from Autonomous Trade Preferences from the EU.
2000 Oct: fall of the Milosevic regime.[56]
1999: The EU proposes the new Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of South-Eastern Europe, including Serbia.
1997: Regional Approach. The EU Council of Ministers establishes political and economic conditionality for the development of bilateral relations.

References

  1. ^ "Serbia applies for EU membership". Swedish Presidency of the European Union. http://www.se2009.eu/en/meetings_news/2009/12/22/serbia_applies_for_eu_membership. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "Cilj - Srbija u EU 2014." (in Serbian). Blic. http://www.blic.rs/politika.php?id=126672. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Agenda 2014: A fresh roadmap for Balkan accession to the EU". Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Greece). http://www.mfa.gr/www.mfa.gr/GoToPrintable.aspx?UICulture=en-US&GUID={B6394928-A11D-4294-A182-9E70D0DDB3A1}. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2009/12/26/European-Union-wants-Serbia-to-join/UPI-55921261861798/
  5. ^ Serbia, EU initial SAA (SETimes.com)
  6. ^ Spain to lobby for SAA signing
  7. ^ a b Srbija potpisala SSP sa EU
  8. ^ a b Koštunica agrees with Lavrov: SAA long overdue
  9. ^ a b "EU deal signature will be annulled"
  10. ^ a b Parliament elects new government
  11. ^ http://www.emportal.rs/en/news/serbia/63987.html
  12. ^ "EU unfreezes trade agreement with Serbia". http://www.europeanforum.net/news/791/eu_unfreezes_trade_agreement_with_serbia. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "EU scraps visas for three Balkan states". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8387938.stm. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Serbia Prime minister Djelic on Serbia expectaions of time of EU accession
  15. ^ "Support for Serbia's accession to EU increases". EU Business. EUbusiness Ltd. 2009-11-06. http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/serbia-enlarge.1c6/. 
  16. ^ EU Refuses to Open Trade Deal with Serbia
  17. ^ Official stance of the Netherlands on the issue of Serbia's condition for EU accession
  18. ^ Explanation of the Dutch delay of Serbia's EU accession
  19. ^ http://www.ambbeograd.um.dk/da/menu/Eksportraadgivning/Markedsmuligheder/SidsteNyt/EUAndSerbiaResumesTalkOnSAA.htm
  20. ^ a b c d e f on Serbia - Key events at ec.europe.eu. Retrieved on 20 September 2007.
  21. ^ a b The Netherland's froze the trade related part of a pre-accession deal with Serbia
  22. ^ Dutch block EU accord on Serbia trade benefits
  23. ^ EULEX and Serbia EU accession not connected
  24. ^ EULEX and Serbia EU accession not connected(2)
  25. ^ Principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Serbia including Kosovo, 2008/213/EC: Council Decision of 18 February 2008
  26. ^ This state union was dissolved in 2006
  27. ^ The EU Integration Office > Latest News
  28. ^ Netherlands stands firm in opposing deal for Serbia
  29. ^ No change in Serbia cooperation view-new prosecutor
  30. ^ Serbia an EU candidate as early as 2009, ICTY cooperation needed first
  31. ^ Serbia offered possible EU candidate status early as 2009
  32. ^ Koštunica: EU membership not on agenda
  33. ^ Koštunica: Nikako ne potpisati SSP
  34. ^ "Serb President 'should resign' over EU deal". Balkan Insight. http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/9356/. 
  35. ^ "SAA not in Serbia's state interests"
  36. ^ Tadić to sign SAA, if offered
  37. ^ Tadić: I’ll sign SAA on April 28
  38. ^ Parliament ratifies SAA
  39. ^ a b c d Serbia begins implementation of trade part of ITA with EU
  40. ^ a b c Serbia's ITA implementation
  41. ^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4375437.ece
  42. ^ http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1404017.php/Serbia_received_road_map_for_visa_regime_liberalization_with_the_EU
  43. ^ http://rss.xinhuanet.com/newsc/english/2008-04/29/content_8076456.htm
  44. ^ Council Decision of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Serbia including Kosovo as defined by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999 and repealing Decision 2006/56/EC
  45. ^ http://www.assembly-kosova.org/?krye=news&newsid=1635&lang=en
  46. ^ http://www.ambbeograd.um.dk/en/menu/ConsularServices/Visas/VisaFacilitationAgreementBetweenSerbiaAndTheEU/ Entry into force of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreement
  47. ^ The SAA with Serbia is initialed
  48. ^ SAA resumed
  49. ^ new Constitution
  50. ^ http://www.mfa.gov.rs/Bilteni/Engleski/b060606_e.html#N1
  51. ^ http://www.gov.me/eng/vijesti.php?akcija=vijesti&id=14078
  52. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5043462.stm
  53. ^ http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/newsbriefs/2006/05/03/nb-01
  54. ^ http://www.mfa.gov.rs/Bilteni/Engleski/b111005_e.html#N1
  55. ^ Council Decision of 30 January 2006 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Serbia and Montenegro including Kosovo as defined by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999 and repealing Decision 2004/520/EC
  56. ^ 5th October Overthrow

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