Magazine article Europe-East

European Council : Eu to Review Serbia's Candidacy Bid in February

Magazine article Europe-East

European Council : Eu to Review Serbia's Candidacy Bid in February

Article excerpt

The member states' heads of state and government agreed, on 9 December, to postpone their decision on Serbia's EU candidacy bid until the March 2012 EU summit, following the Council's approval in February. The European Council recognised Belgrade's recent efforts to meet "the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council and the stabilisation and association process requirements". They also welcomedBelgrade's "fully satisfactory" level of cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) over the past years, as well as its re-engagement in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, with the integrated borders management (IBM) agreement concluded on 2 December.

Nevertheless, the 27 member states' leaders decided to put off the decision on the country's EU candidacy bid till next spring. They called on the Council to "examine and confirm that Serbia has continued to show credible commitment and achieved further progress in moving forward with the implementation in good faith of agreements reached in the dialogue, including on IBM". Serbia must also prove that it will engage positively with EULEX, the EU's police force, and KFOR, the NATO mission. A diplomatic source told Europolitics new Neighbours that Austria, Finland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were pushing their counterparts from other member states to postpone the decision to the first semester of 2012. Other member states, notably France, have been arguing for granting Serbia's candidate status on 9 December, which they said would have sent a positive signal to the Western Balkan states and would have recognised the results obtained in the Pristina-Belgrade talks. …

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