Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at site of downed Malaysian plane

    Read more

  • Washington Post correspondent and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

EU paves way for Serbia's first step toward candidacy

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-25

The EU moved Serbia one step closer to bloc membership on Monday after agreeing to examine Belgrade's bid to join the union, a prerequisite to becoming an official candidate, despite the country's failure to round up former Yugoslavia war criminals.

AFP - Serbia took a crucial step forward in its bid to join the European Union Monday when EU foreign ministers agreed to examine Belgrade's candidacy, in reward for softening its stance on Kosovo.

The deal calls on the European Commission to offer its opinion on Belgrade's bid to join the bloc -- a first step in a country gaining formal status as an EU candidate.

The commission is expected to issue its opinion in the second half of 2011, a diplomatic source said.

Monday's agreement maintains pressure, however, on Belgrade to arrest war criminals Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, wanted by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The Dutch government, host to the ICTY trying suspected war crimes, had insisted any EU accord on Serbian membership include a call for Belgrade to round up fugitives still on the run.

"This is a very important step for Serbia," said Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere, who hosted the meeting.

"It came after effective progress in regional policy and a commitment from the Belgrade government to engage in dialogue with Pristina."

Belgrade, unlike most EU countries and the United States, does not recognise Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008, but last month agreed to start an EU-brokered dialogue with Pristina.

That breakthrough was deemed vital to reducing tensions in the Balkans and most EU nations subsequently came out in favour of ushering Serbia into the bloc for reaching out to Kosovo.

But Monday's agreement contains tough conditions on the later stages of accession demanded by The Hague, keen to see Belgrade increase efforts to bring in war crimes suspects.

Mladic, now 68, is facing genocide charges at the ICTY for his role in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. Hadzic was the Serbian political leader in Croatia during the Serbo-Croatian conflict from 1991 to 1995.

While calling for further progress in dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, the accord also demands a greater measure of cooperation with the ICTY.

"The most convincing proof" of increased Serbian cooperation with the court would be "the key matter of the arrest of the two remaining fugitives," Mladic and Hadzic, it says.

The agreement also states that further steps to Serbia's accession will be taken when EU leaders unanimously decide "that full cooperation with the ICTY exists."
 

Date created : 2010-10-25

  • DIPLOMACY

    Serbia agrees to EU-backed talks with Kosovo

    Read more

  • SERBIA

    Serbia calls for new talks on Kosovo

    Read more

  • KOSOVO

    Serbia rejects The Hague's recognition of Kosovo’s independence

    Read more

COMMENT(S)