Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia/kosovo : Foreign Ministers Urge Belgrade to Step Up Reforms

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia/kosovo : Foreign Ministers Urge Belgrade to Step Up Reforms

Article excerpt

The EU foreign ministers welcomed on 18 June the resumption of negotiations between the EU and Serbia's new government on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and urged leaders in Belgrade "to build on this positive dynamic" and step up further EU-oriented reforms.

This statement came a few days after the European Commission re-started talks with Serbia on the SAA, a gateway to membership of the EU. This move marked a breakthrough in EU-Serbia relations, locked for more than a year in a stalemate over Serbia's refusal to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

"The Council welcomed the fact that the new government in Belgrade had shown clear commitment and had undertaken concrete and effective action for cooperation with the ICTY," say the Council's conclusions. The ministers urged Serbia's government to continue with its current approach towards the ICTY and encouraged it to pursue aggressive reforms to catch up with other countries in the Western Balkans region which are more advanced in their cooperation with the EU. The EU foreign ministers encouraged Serbia's leaders "to build on this positive dynamic to vigorously pursue the necessary reforms to bring Serbia closer to the European Union," said the Council's statement.

They made clear, however, that the conclusion of the SAA is subject to certain conditions. "The pace and conclusion of negotiations on the SAA would in principle depend on Serbia's progress in developing the necessary legislative framework and administrative capacity to implement its obligations under the agreement and on full cooperation with the ICTY," said the statement. …

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