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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

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

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

16.06.10: Serbia takes decisive step in EU effort | EurActiv - 0 views

  • Serbia took a step forward yesterday (14 June) on the road to joining the European Union, with EU governments rewarding its improved cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
  • EU foreign ministers agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg to start implementing an accord with Serbia known as the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), a prerequisite of any further assessment of a country's prospects for membership.The decision follows a positive assessment of Belgrade's assistance given to the International Criminal Tribunal, and bolsters Serbia's efforts to shake off international isolation following wars in the aftermath of the collapse of Yugoslavia.
  • Background Belgrade was offered the chance to sign an EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in April 2008, as the Union moved to boost pro-European forces ahead of crucial national elections (EurActiv 30/04/08). Serbia ratified the SAA in September 2008 (EurActiv 09/09/08). However, the agreement is yet to enter into force, leading the European Commission to consider a membership application as premature. On the EU side, the Dutch government's attitude has been the only remaining obstacle to the implementation of the SAA. Some EU member states have been pushing for the SAA to be ratified since the capture of war criminal Radovan Karadzic in July 2008 (EurActiv 22/07/08). But Dutch officials insisted they will only withdraw their veto once two other wanted war criminals have been arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). They also said they were awaiting confirmation from the tribunal's chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz of Belgrade's full cooperation with the court.
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

27.11.09: Belgrade catching train to EU in 2014 - 0 views

  • ‘Adoption of the Resolution on strategy of the EU enlargement by the European Parliament is an exceptionally positive event for Serbia. Still, future decisions by the EU ministers should not be prejudiced’, Bozidar Djelic, Serbia Deputy Prime Minister for European integration said yesterday. This moderate reaction to decision by the European Parliament to accept as an obligation the EU enlargement onto the West Balkans and to request from the EU Council urgent unblocking of the transient trade agreement between Serbia and the EU is only on the surface while under it there is a hectic and increasingly successful activity by Serbian diplomacy leading towards filing of application for the EU membership even as early as in 2014. The decision over unblocking of the SAA is to be made at the EU summit scheduled for December 10. Until then Serbian officials have to do a lot of work. Thus, within diplomatic initiative in Brussels, Serbia President shall attend the meeting of ministers deciding on visa suspension on November 30. After that the Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic is to meet with his EU counterparts at the OSCE meeting in Athens on December 2. The USA Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is expected to come to the meeting. She recently openly supported unblocking of the SAA with Serbia. A day earlier the Chief prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal Serge Brammertz shall present to the UN Security Council the most positive report ever on cooperation by Serbia with the Hague Tribunal. Minister Jeremic shall visit Brussels on December 7 and 8 when the EU ministers are to decide on the SAA unblocking. He shall speak at the Summit on December 10. A day before the summit Deputy Premier Djelic is to meet with the Foreign Minister of Spain, a chairing country and with the EU enlargement commissioner. Serbia President Boris Tadic said that ‘Serbia shall file application for membership after unblocking of the transient trade agreement’. According to his words the time for candidacy shall come when it is clear that our application is going to be accepted.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

26.10.10: Serbia rushes to launch accession talks - 0 views

  • The EU moved closer to starting accession talks with Serbia yesterday (25 October) after overcoming long-standing opposition from the Dutch government. Belgrade said a "new era" in its history had begun. BETA, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, contributed to this article.
  • Meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers found a formula to unblock the launch of accession talks with Serbia. The diplomatic jargon adopted accommodates the Netherlands' demand that any further step in Serbia's EU accession must be conditional on Belgrade's cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The move became possible after Belgrade agreed to engage in talks with Kosovo, its former province, whose declaration of independence in 2008 Serbia does not recognise. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said he was satisfied that the compromise text had put "pressure" on Serbia to fully cooperate with the ICTY. Steven Vanackere, Belgium's foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, praised the "good balance" of the text. In fact, Belgium made a huge contribution to successfully reaching the compromise. It had to step aside from its own national position as its duty at the EU’s helm is to seek a common position. Jean de Ruyt, Belgium's EU ambassador, told EurActiv that his country's stance on the need for full cooperation with ICTY mirrored the Dutch view.
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

15.03.10: Paving mutually road to EU membership of Serbia - 0 views

  • As the EU Enlargement commissioner I am glad over improvement of Serbia’s perspective in the context of the EU membership. The success of enlargement was strongly echoed. The enlargement transformed my country and introduced the Middle and Eastern Europe into the EU.
  • Improved regional cooperation and good neighboring relations represent yet another huge challenge that Serbia has to deal with as well as any other country aspiring to join the EU. Problems that occurred after disintegration of Yugoslavia such as refugees, displaced people and border demarcation must not be left aside. Another crucial issue is bringing to justice the war crimes suspects. Courts for war crimes established in Serbia remain the essential element of that effort. Searching for truth is fundamental step towards reconciliation. Now we are looking forward and I hope that Serbia shall remain dedicated to reform agenda. Reforms are of use to all citizens of Serbia and not only because of joining the EU. Serbia that is well prepared for joining the Union shall make it not only bigger but stronger as well.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.09.10: Internal discussions in Serbia on UN adoption of Kosovo Resolution - 0 views

  • Belgrade has praised the UN General Assembly's adoption of a resolution on Kosovo that calls for dialogue between the state and Serbia. Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said the decision on Thursday night was an important move as it ended the process Serbia had started by requesting a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice, ICJ, on Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.
  • Some opposition parties in Serbia were quick to label the adoption "a defeat and shame for the Serbian people". Dragan Todorovic from the opposition Serbian Radical Party, SRS, called Thursday's adoption the "most shameful and hardest hit" that Serbia had suffered in its history. "Everyone who watched the session could see how Serbia has lost Kosovo, for which it has been fighting for generations in only one way," Todorovic told Balkan Insight.
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

20.10.09: 2009 EC report: positive outlook for Serbia - 0 views

  • The European Commission (EC) last week gave a thumbs-up to Serbia's implementation of European standards on the road to EU membership and called on the Union to implement its Interim Trade Agreement with Serbia. Serbia signed the accord and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2008. Both agreements were suspended pending Serbia's full co-operation with The Hague tribunal. Currently, the only EU member blocking the Interim Trade Agreement is the Netherlands, which demands that fugitive Ratko Mladic be apprehended and extradited.
  • Serbia, however, still has some work to do. The country must take a more constructive stance on Kosovo, pass the Vojvodina Statute, combat corruption and crime, continue with judiciary reforms, enhance the rights of minorities, and help bring those that attack journalists, human rights activists and members of the gay and lesbian population to justice. Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the Serbian Progressive Party, also noted that European officials reprimanded Serbia's excessive budget spending, adding that if the trend continues, "Serbia will be heavily indebted with no advantage of becoming an EU member." Tanja Miscevic, head of the Serbian EU Integration Office from 2005 to 2008, also expressed restraint in assessing the report.
  • Related ArticlesEvent.observe(window,'load',function(){loadRelated('/cocoon/setimes/ajax/en_GB/related/setimes/features/2009/10/20/feature-03')});Kosovo leaders end debate on EULEX-Serbia protocol28/08/2009Turning the page to a new era of Serbian politics31/08/2009Diplomatic Diary: Macedonia, Germany talk EU membership15/09/2009Diplomatic Diary: Serbia's Cvetkovic visits Slovakia22/09/2009EC: Macedonia ready for entry talks15/10/2009
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

20.07.10: Serbia, Croatia to stop 'looking back at the past' - 0 views

  • Croatian President Ivo Josipović paid his first official visit to Serbia yesterday (18 July), during which he discussed resolving all open issues with his host, Serbian President Boris Tadić. Josipović said the two countries, which were at war from 1991 to 1995, no had longer any reason to "look back at the past". BETA agency, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, reports.
  • The two presidents told a news conference later on that they each supported the European integration of the other country. The presidents also said the issues that were standing in the way of better relations between the two countries included those of refugee returns in Croatia, the border dispute between Serbia and Croatia, the question of missing persons, minority issues and the protection of minority rights. As for Croatia's genocide suit and Serbia's counter genocide suit before the International Court of Justice (see 'Background'), Tadić said he supported an out-of-court settlement, while Josipović said the genocide charges were the result of certain problems and if they could be solved out of court, then "all the better for that".
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.09.10: Final agreement between Serbia and EU over Kosovo in Brussels? - 0 views

  • Serbia President Boris Tadic agreed yesterday with British Foreign Minister William Hague that ‘Brussels is the address at which a compromise over resolution that Serbia has filed to the UN General Assembly should be looked for’, ‘Blic’ learns from High Serbian source. The same source also says that Hague has not requested from Tadic directly that Serbia withdraws its resolution, but expressed doubt that a resolution can be amended.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

31.08.10: EU tells Serbia to give up Kosovo 'last battle' - 0 views

  • Serbia has tabled an initiative to push through a resolution in the UN General Assembly declaring unilateral secession by Kosovo as "unacceptable". But major EU countries warned Belgrade that it should seek solutions to its problems in Brussels, not New York. Beta agency, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, reports.
  • Unhappy with the International Court of Justice's ruling that Kosovo's independence declaration did not violate international law (EurActiv 23/07/10), Serbia has taken the issue to the UN, hoping for a more sympathetic approach from its members to the issue of territorial integrity. The draft resolution calls for fresh talks on all outstanding issues, but also condemns Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Belgrade plans to get it adopted at a session which starts in mid-September. As reported by international agencies, the EU has warned Belgrade that insisting on the resolution could harm relations with Brussels and eventually its aspirations to join the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.08: Western Balkans still way off EU entry criteria - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear yesterday (5 November) that Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Kosovo, are still a long way away from getting clear persprectives of EU accession.
  • In spite of the EU executive's insistence that its assessments are based on objective criteria, the countries in the region are increasingly aware that enlargement is no longer fashionable in the EU, especially in the context of the current financial crisis and uncertainty following the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by Ireland.  European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said on Tuesday that "perhaps with the exception of Croatia," no enlargement was possible without the Lisbon Treaty. This statement contradicts strong views, expressed repeatedly by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that no enlargement whatsoever was possible before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force (EurActiv 20/06/08). In fact, the Nice Treaty provides institutional arrangements for only 27 member states, but some countries believe that it may be possible to find a compromise to accommodate Croatia. 
  • Links European Union European Commission: Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2008-2009 European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo European Commission: 2009 the year of the Western Balkans European Commission: Croatia 2008 Progress report European Commission: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Albania 2008 Progress report European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008 Progress report European Commission: Montenegro 2008 Progress report European Commission: Serbia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Kosovo (under UNSR 1244/99) 2008 Progress report
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

11.04.08: Serbia: So Close, Yet So Far For Belgrade's EU Dreams - 0 views

  • The European Union is racing against time -- and some of its own member states -- to create incentives for Serbian voters to choose a Western future when they go to the polls for parliamentary elections on May 11. The EU, whose image was tarnished in the eyes of many Serbs when most members backed Kosovo's independence, is dangling the prospect of future membership to Serbia. But Brussels is struggling to give the offer a definitive shape. The main problems boil down to two names and one abbreviation -- Kosovo, Mladic, and an SAA.
  • Wish List The speaker of the Serbian parliament, Oliver Dulic, who was in Brussels last week, handed the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee a detailed wish list. The pro-European politicians whom Dulic represents want the EU to sign an SAA with Serbia by the end of this month, give it candidate status by the end of the year, ease visa restrictions by early 2009, and launch accession talks with Serbia in the second half of 2009. Dulic says such tangible offers could sway Serbian voters on May 11. He said the EU must err on the side of generosity, if anything, to compensate for a feeling in Serbia that the country is always fated to get the sharp end of the stick.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

07.06.11: Reviving EU enlargement - 0 views

  • The arrest of the former Bosnian Serb commander is good news for the relatives of those killed at Srebrenica; for international justice, which may be slow but has a long memory; for Serbia, which has taken a leap towards integration with Europe; and for the European Union, which, despite its economic and political troubles, has shown its potential to transform even intractable Balkan disputes. That the arrest took place on the same day as a visit by Cathy Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs boss, was a coincidence. But few doubt that the EU played a big part through the power of its unique tool, enlargement. The promise of EU membership, on condition that Serbia first cooperate with war crimes prosecutors, strengthened the resolve to find Mladic.
  • Even if Brammertz says Serbia has more to do (Goran Hadzic, former leader of the Croatian Serbs, is still at large), Serbia will probably win EU candidate status this year. Whether it can start talks immediately (i.e., in early 2012) or, more likely, be asked to do more homework first will depend on how far Tadic pushes judicial reform and reconciliation with Kosovo. Montenegro, already a candidate, may also be deemed fit to begin accession talks. Senior Eurocrats cling to the hope that this month's election in Macedonia will produce a government able to end the tedious dispute with Greece over the country's official name, clearing the way for talks to begin. Bosnia might look less dire if Serbia moves closer to Europe. Even Albania, denied candidate status because of its democratic failings, still sees the EU as its destination.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.07.10: Van Rompuy's Balkan visit focuses on Kosovo - 0 views

  • On his first tour of the Western Balkan, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy condemned the recent violence in Kosovo and called for restraint and dialogue. An extraordinary session of the UN Security Council will be held on the matter today (6 July).
  • Serbia unhappy with pace of EU integration Later in the day, Van Rompuy met with Serbian President Boris Tadić in Belgrade. According to an official communiqué, the two leaders discussed the situation in "Kosovo and Metohia," as Belgrade officially calls its former province. The press also reported that Tadić will attend an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council in New York today, called at the initiative of Serbia. According to the statement, Tadić voiced his dissatisfaction with the slowdown in the European integration process, and insisted that speeding up Serbia's EU accession was crucial for the future of the Western Balkans. Last month, Serbia took another step towards EU integration when EU foreign ministers agreed to start implementing an accord with Serbia known as the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The agreement had been blocked for several years, mainly as a result of the Netherlands' insistence that Belgrade must cooperate fully with the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Later today, Van Rompuy will be in Pristina to meet the president of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu. A visit to the headquarters of the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is also on the agenda.
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