EU foreign ministers agree on unblocking of SAA with Serbia.

By bne IntelliNews June 15, 2010
The EU foreign ministers agreed to unblock the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia during their summit in Luxembourg on June 14. Thus, the agreement, which is seen as the first step towards Serbia's EU membership, will be unfrozen two years following its signing. The decision came after the EU diplomats assessed that county had made progress in tracking down the remaining war criminals. The EU ministers were previously briefed by chief UN prosecutor Serge Brammertz on the Belgrade's efforts to arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic. The trade part of the SAA already came into force at the end of 2009, but the latest decision of the EU officials will allow Serbia to benefit from major EU support in preparation for membership. Commenting on the decision of the EU diplomats, Serbian deputy PM Bozidar Djelic said that Serbia became an EU associate member. However Italy's foreign minister Franco Frattini warned that EU membership or even candidacy was not a done deal. The EU foreign ministers barely mentioned Serbia's application for EU candidate status. Serbia formally applied to begin membership talks in late 2009, but the EU nations must take a joint decision to hand the application on to the European Commission. Djelic expressed hope that the decision on this issue would be made in the autumn. As recalled, the implementation of the SAA between Serbia and the EU has been blocked for two years, as the Dutch authorities requested that Belgrade arrests Mladic before being allowed to resume EU integrations.

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