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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.12.09: EU lifts hurdle on Serbia's path to accession - 0 views

  • EU foreign affairs ministers on Monday (7 December) removed restrictions against a trade agreement with Serbia after the Netherlands put aside objections related to Belgrade's performance on war crimes probes. The agreement was signed in April 2008 and was never ratified due to the Dutch position, even though its terms were implemented internally by Serbia in a situation playing to the EU's financial advantage.
  • But a positive report from UN chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz on the way in which Belgrade is co-operating with the war crimes tribunal in the Hague helped persuade the Netherlands to back down. The move is good news for Belgrade on its EU accession track and comes just one week after the bloc's interior ministers decided to lift visa requirements for Serb citizens from 19 December. Serbia and the EU in 2008 signed a so-called Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) - seen as a first step toward membership - of which the trade pact was a part. But the SAA is unlikely to be fully ratified until Mladic and Hadzic are behind bars.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

14.10.09: Progress Report on Serbia - 0 views

  • The Annual Report notes that Serbia needs to continue its efforts to carry out and implement EU related reforms and to fully commit itself to the path of European Integration. The EU has for its part shown clear support for these efforts by earmarking substantial financial assistance - €1 billion for the period of 2007-2011 and additional €200 million of micro financial assistance.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.02.09: Serbia told to hold back EU application - 0 views

  • After meeting Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dačić in Brussels yesterday (9 February), Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn advised Belgrade not to rush with its formal application for EU membership, admitting that the political climate is not good for enlargement.
  • With the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) not yet having entered into force, the European Commission considers membership application as premature, the commissioner explained.  Serbia ratified the agreement last September (EurActiv 09/09/08), but on the EU side, the same process is on hold, as the Netherlands wants the country to "fully cooperate" with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In other words, The Hague first wants war criminal Ratko Mladic to be captured and brought to justice.  In a significant shift of vocabulary, Rehn even refrained from referring to the EU's 'enlargement policy', instead preferring the expression "EU policy for stabilisation and societal progress in the Western Balkans". He said this is because the political context in the EU is not favourable to enlargement at present. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.09.08: Netherlands blocks EU-Serbia trade deal - 0 views

  • EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday (15 September) failed to unfreeze the trade related part of a pre-accession deal with Serbia, following the Netherlands' opposition. "There is a very, very big majority saying that we [EU] should unfreeze [the agreement]. But there is no unanimity," French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told journalists after the meeting.
  • EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was more optimistic, however, saying that the bloc's 27 ministers could agree to unblock the interim agreement during their next meeting in October.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

09.09.08: Serbia ratifies key EU pre-membership accord - 0 views

  • Serbia has overcome another hurdle on its path towards EU membership with today's (9 September) ratification by its parliament of a key pre-accession agreement offering the country closer trade relations and easier travel within the Union.
  • 140 deputies from the 250-seat parliament voted in favour of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), with 26 rejecting it. This means that at least 13 members of the opposition - likely members of the Liberal block, who support EU membership and for this goal would even sacrifice Kosovo - joined the government on this issue.The biggest opposition group, the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), collectively abstained. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.07.08: New Serbian government wants both EU and Kosovo - 0 views

  • Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic outlined the new Serbian government's somewhat conflicting priorities of quick accession to the EU and keeping Kosovo part of Serbia in his first speech in Parliament on 7 July. But Kosovo is already recognised as an independent country by a majority of EU states.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.07.08: Bosnia Gets Access to EU Markets - 0 views

  • Bosnia’s Interim Agreement with the EU has come into force, bringing the country into a new phase of trade relations with Europe and its common market. Until Bosnia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union – signed on June 16 – is ratified by all EU countries, relations between Bosnia and the bloc will be regulated in accordance with the Interim Agreement.
  • However some economic experts warn that the country’s cumbersome, expensive and ineffective administration is ill prepared to meet all the challenges and risks brought by opening of Bosnia’s market to cheaper and better goods from the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.06.08: Bosnia Signs EU Pre-Membership Deal - 0 views

  • 16 June 2008 Luxembourg _ Bosnia and Herzegovina has signed a key pre-membership deal with the EU and taken its first crucial step towards the bloc.
  • The agreement outlines key legal and institutional reforms Bosnia will have to implement in the next six years in the areas of customs, trade, administration, economy and social services. Local and international officials have already hailed signing of the agreement as the second most important document for Bosnia after the Dayton peace accord, which ended the 1992-1995 war and provided a blueprint for Bosnia’s current administrative and political setup.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

27.05.08: EULEX mission delayed. Siging of SAA with Bosnia on June 16th - 0 views

  • The EU on Monday (26 May) admitted there may be some delays in the deployment of its mission to Kosovo, but insisted they would not be "dramatic."
  • But question marks over the divisions of power between the UN, the EU and the local authorities, as well as over the mission's legal basis, seem likely to delay the process. "I believe EULEX could be operative on the field after the summer – September and October," Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said after a meeting of the EU's foreign ministers in Brussels, according to Reuters.
  • Bosnia to sign pre-accession deal in June On Monday, the bloc's foreign ministers also announced that a pre-accession deal with Bosnia and Herzegovina would be signed on 16 June, after a two-month delay mainly due to translation issues.
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

Wikipedia: Accession of Serbia to the European Union - 0 views

  • Accession of Serbia to the European Union depends on several factors. While both the Serbian government and the European Union agree that Serbia could eventually become a member of the EU, the need for internal reform both within Serbia and the EU means that Serbia will not join EU before 2012, and perhaps not before 2015.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.04.08: Bosnia angered by signing of EU-Serbia deal - 0 views

  • The signing of a pre-accession deal between the EU and Serbia has been criticised by Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has so far not had the privilege of being offered a similar deal.

    "Although the practice of the EU is to insist on fulfilment of all the requirements needed for deepening relations with potential member states, this act shows that Serbia enjoys some benefits like no other country," Haris Silajdzic, the Bosniak chairperson of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite state presidency, said in a statement reported by press agencies on Wednesday (30 April).

    Mr Silajdzic accused the EU of employing "double standards" after the bloc on Tuesday signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia, despite the country's failure to capture fugitives indicted for war crimes during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.04.08: Bosnia to Sign EU Deal on 26 May - 0 views

  • 30 April 2008 Brussels_ Bosnia and Herzegovina will sign a key EU pre-membership deal on 26 May.
  • To secure the signing of the deal, Bosnia had to pass a series of highly-contested police reforms which was a precondition for the country to advance in the EU integration process. The police reform laws were designed to bring a measure of harmony to the law-enforcement systems in Bosnia, whose functions and powers since the 1995 Dayton peace agreement have been split between the country’s two virtually independent entities, the Republika Srpska and the BiH Federation. The reforms were approved earlier this month following much deliberation by Bosnian politicians. The EU’s failure to sign the deal with Bosnia on Tuesday raised eyebrows among journalists since a deal was hastily signed with Serbia. Read more: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/9742/
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.04.08: EU attempts to woo Serbia with SAA - 0 views

  • With just over a week to go until what is being billed as decisive elections in Serbia, the EU on Tuesday (29 April) sent a strong political signal to the western Balkan country that its future belongs in the European Union.

    In a piece of political manoeuvring that gives the pro-EU forces in Belgrade something to use at home but upholds a key European demand, both sides signed a pre-membership deal at a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

    The deal came after the Netherlands and Belgium dropped their opposition to the move but on condition that the implementation of the agreement depends on Belgrade's cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal.

    "This is a good day, a happy day for both Serbia and the EU," Slovenian foreign minister Dimitrij Rupel whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said after signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in Luxembourg.
  • The decision was taken on Tuesday morning after Belgium and the Netherlands agreed to sign the SAA.
  • They yielded to the pressure of other EU states – who have been prepared to sign the agreement for weeks - on condition that Serbia will not get any concrete benefits from the agreement until Belgrade is judged as fully cooperating with the ICTY. Normally, ratification of such documents is launched immediately after they are signed.
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  • Meanwhile, the party of Serbia's prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, has reiterated its opposition to signing the SAA and said the country's parliament would never ratify the document, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.04.08: BiH clears key hurdle on EU accession path (SETimes.com) - 0 views

  • The upper house of Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) state-level parliament adopted two police reform laws Wednesday (April 16th), opening the door for the country's Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU.
  • They finally accepted a compromise proposal offered by High Representative Miroslav Lajcak and envisioning the creation of seven state-level co-ordination bodies that will assume authority over the country's ethnically divided police forces within a year after the adoption of constitutional reform. Favouring more centralisation of police, the ruling Bosniak Party of Democratic Action and the Serb Democratic Party are criticising the legislation, claiming it offers only "cosmetic" changes that will not improve security in BiH.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.04.08: EU ready to boost Bosnia ties following police reform deal - 0 views

  • EU officials on Wednesday hailed Bosnia's adoption of long-disputed police reforms, saying it opened the way for the Baltic state to sign the first accord on the way to European Union membership. "I welcome the final adoption of the police reform laws, which paves the way towards signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)," EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement. The SAA trade and aid pact "will not only bring practical benefits in trade and thus for the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it is also the gateway towards candidate country status for EU accession," Rehn added.
  • Earlier Wednesday lawmakers in Bosnia's upper house definitively adopted the police reforms, removing the last hurdle for the country to sign the key pact on closer EU ties. Two police reform bills passed by 10 to four votes, ending years of dispute among Bosnia's Croat, Muslim and Serb leaders about the extent to which they should integrate the country's separate ethnic police forces. The lower house of the Bosnian parliament approved the reforms last week.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.03.08: Rehn: Bosnia could sign EU deal in April - 0 views

  • SARAJEVO -- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn says Bosnia could sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) in April.
  • Rehn added that he believed in Bosnia-Hercegovina’s European future, and that signing the agreement was possible if all the established criteria were met. “Bosnia-Hercegovina has a clear EU future with the remaining west Balkan states. That is a process during which every country must individually meet political and economic criteria for membership and adopt all the Union’s laws,“ he told daily Dnevni Avaz.
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.
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