Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Rehn Tells Belgrade to Put Eu Membership Application on Hold

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Rehn Tells Belgrade to Put Eu Membership Application on Hold

Article excerpt

The European Commission does not show much enthusiasm for Serbia's plan to apply for EU candidate status before the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is unblocked and put forward for ratification in the member sates.

"A convincing track record of implementation of the SAA agreement as well as progress in EU-related reforms are essential before we move forward in the next step of European processes, including candidate status," Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said at a joint press conference with Ivica Dadic, Serbia's deputy prime minister and minister of interior, on 9 February in Brussels.

His comment came in response to recent statements by the Serbian officials that Belgrade aims to apply for EU candidate status in the first half of 2009 regardless whether the SAA is unblocked or not by this time.

According to the EU's rules of procedure, the applicant country submits its request for candidate status to the EU Presidency, which in due time forwards it to the Council. The Council then asks the Commission for its recommendation. After receiving the Commission's opinion and the assent of the European Parliament, the Council by consensus decides whether to reject or accept the application. Judging from past experience, a positive Commission recommendation is a sine qua non condition for the application to be accepted by the member states.

Commenting on Serbia's plans, Rehn suggested that with the SAA being still blocked, Belgrade has no chances to receive a positive recommendation from the Commission. …

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