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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.07.08: Pro-EU government approved in Serbia - 0 views

  • Serbia's parliament on Monday (7 July) approved the country's new government which will be led by prime minister Mirko Cvetkovic and favouring prompt EU membership– but which remains opposed to Kosovo's independence. The government coalition will be made up of a pro-EU alliance – led by current president Boris Tadic's Democrats (DS) – who won the elections in May, but did not get a big enough majority to form a government on its own, and the reformed Socialists (SPS) of late president Slobodan Milosevic
  • New prime minister Mirko Cvetkovic (DS) – a 57-year-old economist and former finance minister – promised that one of his first actions would be the introduction of a pre-accession EU deal for ratification by the Serbian parliament.
  • However, the new premier also stressed his country was nowhere close to accepting Kosovo's independence. "I pledge allegiance to the Republic of Serbia and promise with my honour that I will respect the Constitution... and to be committed to the preservation of Kosovo and Metohija within the Republic of Serbia," the premier and his ministers vowed after being sworn in.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.06.08: EU relief over new pro-European government in Serbia - 0 views

  • Following six weeks of tense negotiations, the Serbian Socialists yesterday (23 June) agreed to form a government with the pro-European bloc of President Boris Tadic, in a move seen as an important step towards Serbia's future EU membership.
  • The agreement with the Socialist Party of former dictator Slobodan Milosevic provides Tadic's bloc with a comfortable majority in the 250-seat parliament. Tadic, who clearly won the elections in May but could not reign alone, was confident that the new government would be formed "very soon". Two smaller parties - United Serbia, a breakaway former partner of the Socialists and the Bosniak 'List for European Sandzak' - had already joined the alliance earlier (EurActiv 12/06/08).  
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.05.08: Serbia: EU hails victory of pro-Western camp - 0 views

  • Despite an unexpected 10 percent victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections in Serbia, the pro-European camp of President Boris Tadic is not able to govern alone and may depend on the Socialist Party of former dictator Slobodan Milosevic to form a government.
  • With nearly 98% of votes counted, Tadic's "For a European Serbia" alliance gained 38.75% of the votes - which would translate into 102 out of 250 seats - followed by Tomislav Nikolic's Radicals with 29.2% (78 seats), the State Electoral Commission said. The clear vote comes as a surprise as polls just days before the elections showed Tadic's Democratic Party and the nationalists still neck-and-neck, if anything giving the latter a slight edge.
  • Links European Union Presidency: EU Presidency Statement on General Elections in Serbia (13 May 2008) Council: Statement by High Representative for Foreign and Security Polics Javier Solana (12 May 2008) Commission: Overview EU-Serbia relations
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

12.05.08: Serbia's pro-Europe forces claim election win - 0 views

  • The European Union is set to breathe a sign of relief as the pro-Western alliance led by President Boris Tadic won Sunday's parliamentary elections, but the country's nationalists have warned that they too can hammer out a coalition government.

    According to projected election results reported by an independent monitoring group, the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, Mr Tadic's Democratic Party and its allies gained 38.7 percent of the votes and secured 103 out of 250 seats in the country's parliament - not enough to form a coalition on his own.
  • The Serbian Radical Party of Tomislav Nikolic took 29.1 percent and 77 seats, while outgoing prime minister Vojislav Kostunica and his nationalist Democratic Party of Serbia won 11.3 percent and 30 seats. The Socialists of the late Slobodan Milosevic with 7.9 percent of the votes and 20 seats in the parliament are set to play a decisive role, as parties need to have at least 126 MPs in order to put in place a stable government.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.05.08: Serbs face their toughest electoral decision yet - 0 views

  • The Balkans country is engulfed in a bitter dispute over today’s election, which will determine whether it moves a step closer to EU membership, writes Tom Lynch.
  • ronically, perhaps the only consensus between Serbia’s political parties is that they all agree Kosovo should remain part of Serbia.Serbia is classified as a Potential Candidate Country by the EU, meaning that the EU recognises that Serbia will eventually join, once it is ready.On April 29, 2008, the EU signed the Stability and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia. The SAA is the first step on the road to EU membership, and also guarantees certain benefits - in the form of EU funding and trade liberalisation.In an added incentive, 16EUmember states have also offered visa-free travel for Serbian people.The agreement was pushed through, despite some members’ opposition, to counter the growing popularity of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party and New Serbia Party, and the overarching fear that Serbia might turn its back on the EU.The SAA will not come into force until Serbia arrests and hands over Ratko Mladiæ , former chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb army - who is wanted over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre - to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, so it does not represent much of a real breakthrough. This has long been a sticking point in the EU-Serbia negotiations.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.05.08: Serbs go to polls divided over EU path - 0 views

  • Serbian voters will go to the polls on Sunday (11 May) for what is being billed as decisive elections for the country's EU future. The main parties in the running are the pro-Western centrists of president Boris Tadic's Democratic Party (DS); the nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) currently led by eurosceptic Tomislav Nikolic, and outgoing prime minister Vojislav Kostunica's conservative Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS).
  • While this time the Democrats have excluded forming an alliance with the conservatives, a coalition between the conservatives and the radicals seems increasingly likely. The EU's fears This is just the political set-up the EU least favours. It has made no secret of its wish to see the pro-Western forces win Sunday's vote.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.05.08: Serbia's EU course turns into question of life and death - 0 views

  • Just days before crucial parliamentary elections (11 May), the question of Serbia's future accession to the EU has become an issue of existential importance as the country's President Boris Tadic has received a death threat over his pro-EU stance.
  • A threatening letter was sent to Tadic following his signature of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, considered to be the first step towards membership of the bloc (EurActiv 30/04/08). It accused the president of being a "proven traitor to the Serb nation" and threatens him with a "bullet to the forehead," the Belgrade daily Blic reports. 
  • Opposition between the country's pro-European politicians and hardline nationalist parties is currently at its highest since the breakaway Kosovar province unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 - with the backing of several EU countries. A recent poll conducted by the Strategic Marketing agency showed Serbia's nationalist Radical Party slightly ahead of Tadic's pro-European bloc (33.2% to 31.5%), with the nationalist coalition of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica ranked third (13.8%). 
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  • Links European Union Commission: Overview EU-Serbia relations Press articles Balkan Insight: Serb Radicals Lead Opinion Poll Balkan Insight: Kosovo Serbs to Sue Leaders over EU Deal Balkan Insight: Russia's Putin backs Serbia PM
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.05.08: Serbia - Agreement with EU Deepens Rift - 0 views

  • Serbia achieved a long proclaimed foreign policy goal earlier this week when it signed a pre-membership pact with the European Union in Luxembourg.But though this was declared a priority when the isolationist rule of Slobodan Milosevic ended in 2000, both the content and the timing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) has brought deep controversy.
  • Some leaders have seen the agreement as triumph. "This is a historic moment for Serbia," foreign minister Vuk Jeremic said after deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic signed the SAA with the EU's enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn and foreign ministers of all 27 EU nations. Jeremic and Djelic belong to the Democratic Party (DS) of Serbian President Boris Tadic, who also attended the ceremony. The DS was part of the coalition government led by conservative outgoing Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica from the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS). The DSS wants all ties with nations that recognised Kosovo to be cut. Besides the 17 EU countries, that would mean also the United States and other countries.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.05.08: Kostunica: "EU deal signature will be annulled" - 0 views

  • Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, DSS, says the first move for the new parliament and government will be to annul "the Tadić-Đelić SAA signature".
  • "This agreement has only one goal, to be interpreted as Serbia's signature to Kosovo's independence," Koštunica said. "Nothing will come out of this trick, because after the elections, the new government and parliament will annul the Tadić-Đelić signature," the leader of the DSS-NS coalition, running in the May 11 ballot, continued.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

02.05.08: We should stop trying to intervene in Serbia's elections - 0 views

  • Proud European though I am I would be sorely tempted to vote for Mr Kostunica's alliance of anti-EU radicals and nationalists were I Serbian and eligible to vote in their Parliamentary elections on 11 May.
  • For with indelicate haste earlier this week the European Council agreed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement for Serbia which the pro-European Serbian President, Boris Tadic, was summoned to Luxembourg by telephone to receive. For him, of course, and his pro-European Parliamentary party that is facing Mr Kostunica in the 11 May elections, the SAA - the first step to joining the EU - is good news; something in fact that Mr Tadic has been long expecting, but of which he has been baulked by the International Criminal Tribunal, who judge that the Serbs have been lax about rounding up their indicted war criminals and delivering them to justice.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.04.08: Poll: Serbs pro-EU, but not ready to give up Kosovo - 0 views

  • A large majority of Serbs still want their country to join the EU (63.9%), although the figure has dropped compared to last October, when 71.5% voiced their support for EU accession, reveals the poll, which was released yesterday (9 April).  However, 71.3% of Serbian citizens consider it unacceptable that the possibility of EU membership is made conditional on Serbia's recognition of its former province's secession. 
  • Serbia's Kosovo Minister Slobodan Samardzic added that it would be interesting to see whether the EU would continue the stabilisation and association process now that Kosovo is an independent state.  "Should the EU happen to do that, and does it only with independent states, that would automatically mean that the EU was breaching Article 135 of our agreement on stabilisation and association with the EU, where Kosovo's position is clearly defined," the minister explained. 
  • Governments Kosovar Constitutional Commission: Kosovo's Constitution Press articles Poll: Serbians want EU, but not without Kosovo Tadić speaks against interference in elections BBC: Kosovo adopts a new constitution
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.0.08: Serbia to head for early elections - 0 views

  • Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica resigned from his post on Saturday (8 March) and called for early elections following disagreements within the coalition government over Kosovo and EU integration.

    Mr Kostunica said the government no longer had a united policy over Kosovo – which proclaimed independence from Serbia on 17 February – and on whether Serbia could join the EU without the breakaway province being part of the country.

    He suggested that early elections be held on 11 May, when local elections are also scheduled to take place.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

21.01.08: Radical candidate wins first round of Serbian elections - 0 views

  • The eurosceptic nationalist candidate of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Tomislav Nikolic, won the first round in the country's presidential elections held on Sunday(20 January). Mr Nikolic obtained 39.57 percent of the votes, followed by current president Boris Tadic of the Democratic Party, who received 35.45 percent, according to preliminary results reported by Serbian news agency Tanjug.
  • As none of the candidates achieved 50 percent of the votes, the two men will face each other in a run-off on 3 February – a situation similar to what happened in elections four years ago.
  • The 3 February run-off between the radical and the moderate candidate is expected to be decisive for the country's EU future.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.01.08: Serbians head to pools for decisive elections - 0 views

  • On Sunday (20 January), Serbian citizens will go to the polls to choose their new president in an election likely to strongly influence the country's EU path.
  • Currently, polls put the Radical candidate at 21 percent against 19 percent for Mr Tadic, according to French news agency AFP. A second round between them is expected to take place on 3 February. The end result is set to have a significant impact on the country's future EU path. Current president Boris Tadic is in favour of his country's European integration and has pledged to get Serbia into the EU. But Mr Nikolic – although he has softened his rhetoric lately – says he will oppose Belgrade's EU membership so long as Serbia is being "conditioned and humiliated" by Brussels over Kosovo, he recently told AFP.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.01.08: Kostunica's Choice - 0 views

  • The next president of Serbia may well be decided based on Prime Minister Kostunica’s endorsement. The country goes to the polls on 20 January at a time when Kosovo is just about to become an independent state supported by the United States and micromanaged by the European Union. At the same time, signs indicate that Serbia will be offered some fast-tracking in its bid for EU membership as a sedative designed to ease the pain caused by the loss of Kosovo.
  • As things stand now, Brussels will invite Belgrade to sign the recently initialled pre-membership Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) a week after the first round of Serbia’s presidential election. The EU does not expect any of the presidential hopefuls to win an outright majority. Polls suggest there will be a second round between old rivals: incumbent President Boris Tadic of the pro-EU Democratic Party and Tomislav Nikolic, who leads the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS). The EU hopes the imminent signing of the pre-membership agreement will give Tadic an edge over Nikolic. And with some 70 percent of Serbs favoring EU membership, a demonstration that the goal is realistic seems like a good strategy on Brussels’ part.
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