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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

07.04.08: Montenegro's pro-European president re-elected - 0 views

  • Incumbent Filip Vujanovic claimed victory after Sunday's (6 April) first presidential elections in Montenegro since the Balkan country declared its independence from Serbia in May 2006, in a vote seen as supportive of Vujanovic's desire for further EU integration. More on this topic: LinksDossier:   EU-Western Balkans relations News:   EU to 'wait and see' on Serbia, Turkey accession News:   NATO setback upsets Macedonia's EU hopes Other related news: Serbia says it remains committed to European perspective EU wants Serbia to stay on European path Serbian government faces collapse over Kosovo EU reaffirms Western Balkan membership perspective Bosnia-Herzegovina makes progress on EU membership Vujanovic won 51.4% of the vote, according to AP, ahead of his pro-Serb challenger Andrija Mandic, who gained 20.4%. Liberal candidate Nebojsa Medojevic received 15.7%. 
  • Last autumn, Montenegro signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which is seen as a stepping stone on the way to EU membership (EurActiv 16/10/07). The country is expected to present its bid for full membership soon. 
  • Press articles AP: Incumbent Claims Victory in Montenegro Balkan Insight: Vujanovic Set For Montenegro Poll Victory DTT-Net: Montenegro, the vicius circle of politics, mafia and crime
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.04.08: Interview with Osman Topcagic: Progress and Obstacles on the Path to the EU - 0 views

  • Stable Mates by Amela Bulja and Armela Subasic 1 April 2008The Bosnian integration chief sits down with TOL to discuss progress and obstacles on the path to the European Union. SARAJEVO | Bosnians are waiting eagerly to see whether their country will ink an agreement with the European Union in the coming weeks to take a step closer to joining the European family. In an interview with Transitions Online, Osman Topcagic, who heads the Bosnian Directorate for European Integration, said he is optimistic that despite some possible hiccups, a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) will be signed.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.04.08: NATO to enlarge to two Balkan countries - 0 views

  • NATO leaders gathered in Bucharest on Wednesday (2 April) agreed to admit two Balkan countries – Croatia and Albania – to the organisation, but an unsolved dispute between Skopje and Athens has delayed Macedonia's invitation.
  • Croatia and Albania also link NATO membership to their EU integration. "Membership in NATO will be a stimulus to our partners on the other side of the table to accept Croatia as a full member of the European Union", Croatian premier Ivo Sanader was quoted as saying by daily Javno on Thursday (3 April). For his part, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha told the Associated Press that joining NATO would represent for his country "the most important development since independence."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.04.08: Serbia says it remains committed to European perspective - 0 views

  • Despite its steady opposition to the EU's policy on Kosovo, the largest country in the Balkans will continue its move towards EU membership, Serbia's foreign minister Vuc Jeremic told his EU counterparts at their informal meeting in Brdo last weekend (28-29 March).
  • Much will depend on the forthcoming elections in Serbia on 11 May, he added, describing them as "a critical battle for the European souls of the Western Balkans". 
  • Underlining his country's EU commitment, Jeremic said that the Serbian government was ready to sign the SAA "immediately" and continue moving forward rapidly. This step, in addition to an agreement over a road map for the adoption of a visa-free regime, could help counter Serbian concerns fostered by uncertainty over Kosovo, Jeremic suggested.  The Netherlands and Belgium remain opposed to signing an SAA with Serbia before it hands over the former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic to the court in The Hague.  Jeremic said that "we are very much aware of our obligations to the ICTY," adding that "the only way we'll be able to finish what we started […] is to keep building Serbia's road to Europe".
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  • European Union Presidency: EU Foreign Ministers Discuss the Western Balkans (29 March 2008) Presidency: Brdo Presidency Statement: New focus on the Western Balkans (29 March 2008) Commission: Communication on the Western Balkans (5 March 2008) Commission: EU-Serbia relations Commission: Strategy and Progress Reports 2007 Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Kosovo and the potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia (06 November 2007
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.03.08: Croatia handed 2009 target date to conclude EU talks - | EU - Eu... - 0 views

  • Commission President José Manuel Barroso has presented an "indicative timetable" for concluding EU membership talks with Croatia by November next year, with 2010 as the likely entry date.
  • "In this autumn's enlargement package, the Commission will present an indicative timetable for the technical conclusion of the negotiations in 2009, provided a number of conditions are met by Croatia," said the Commission President. He said these included: Complying with all legal obligations under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), including cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); "urgently" improving the management of EU financial assistance under the PHARE and IPA programmes, and; suspending all aspects of Croatia's Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone, which had blocked Slovenian and Italian vessels from fishing in Croatian waters.
  • Links EU official documents Commission: Speaking points of Commission President Barroso following his meeting with Croatia's PM Sanader Commission: Croatia - Country profile Commission: Croatia - Key documents
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.03.08: EU Urges More Progress In Bosnia - 0 views

  • 11 March 2008 Brussels _ The European Union has urged Bosnian authorities to "make further efforts" if the country is to sign a key agreement with Brussels next month. A meeting of EU Foreign Ministers urged that, "important underlying problems remain and called upon all parties in Bosnia to work together in order to overcome them as soon as possible.”
  • “I trust the country will be able to settle the remaining problems so it can achieve the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, SAA, in April,” he added. The EU's Council of Ministers, too, concluded that Bosnia has made progress with regards to the SAA, and reiterated its full support to Sarajevo's European perspective.
  • “The Council welcomed the PIC Steering Board's unanimous decision that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) will remain in place and continue to carry out its mandate under the Dayton Peace Agreement until necessary objectives and conditions as set out in the PIC Steering Board Declaration are met,” it was concluded.
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.
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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.02.08: Romania and Bulgaria warned over 'slow' anti-corruption efforts - 0 views

  • The Commission's interim reports on the progress made by Romania and Bulgaria on judiciary reform and fighting corruption and organised crime show that both countries must seriously step up their efforts ahead of the next detailed evaluation due in mid-2008. Otherwise they could face sanctions, Brussels warned. Related:
  • European Union Commission: Report On Progress in Bulgaria under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (4 February 2008) Commission: Report On Progress in Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (4 February 2008) Commission memo: Interim Report on Progress in Bulgaria with Judiciary Reform and the Fight against Corruption and Organised Crime (4 February 2008) [FR] [DE] Commission memo: Interim Report on Progress in Romania with Judiciary Reform and the Fight against Corruption (4 February 2008) [FR] [DE] Commission: Assessing ongoing progress by Bulgaria and Romania [FR] [DE]
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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