The Polish Presidency of the EU Council will insist that the EU heads of state and government should decide on Serbia’s EU candidacy at the summit on December 9, even though some countries want this issue to be postponed, director of the European policy department at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Artur Harazim stated in Brussels Monday.
However, I believe that the EU Council will decide in December, Harazim stressed, adding that this matter will first be discussed by EU foreign ministers who are to meet on December 5, and that the final decision will be made by Eu heads of state and government on December 9.
Harazim, whose country is presiding over the Council of the EU, pointed out at a panel discussion on EU enlargement organized by the European Policy Centre in Brussels, that the issue of EU enlargement is still one of Poland’s priorities.
However, he admitted that other 26 members do not have the same enlargement plans.
Our job is to work with the countries that are still sceptical about this issue, Harazim underlined, referring to Germany and France’s non paper requesting that the final decision of Serbia’s candidacy and setting the date for negotiations for Montenegro be postponed for next year.
The document, drafted before October 12 when the European Commission (EC) recommended that Serbia should be given an EU candidate status and Montenegro a date for negotiations, leaked to the public last week.
The meeting on EU enlargement in Brussels was also attended by EC Director-General for Enlargement Stefano Sannino, who expressed cautious optimism regarding the Western Balkans’ EU integration.
It should be clearly stated that the EU door remains open, but also stressed that those who are entering should fully meet the criteria, Sannino stressed.
Director of the EU Integration Office in Serbia Milica Delevic, who also took part in the talks, expressed hope that the technical dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, which was suspended after the escalation of violence in northern Kosovo-Metohija, will soon continue.
Free flow of goods and people, as well as the establishment of the rule of law in northern Kosovo, is equally in the interest of Serbia as of everyone else, Delevic said.
As soon as this matter is resolved, we will be able to use time and energy on solving other problems, Delevic said.
According to the EC’s recommendation, the reestablishment of the dialogue is the crucial condition that Serbia needs to fulfill in order to obtain the EU candidacy.
Degert: Doors of EU open for Serbia
Head of the EU delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert said Tuesday that the doors of the EU are open for Serbia, which after Croatia’s entry could be the next candidate in that process.
Degert said that the EU does not need new problems, and in that respect it wants normalization in relations between Belgrade and Pristina. “The EU does not demand the recognition, the EU has never requested that,” Degert said for the Belgrade-based TV Pink.
The EU wants good neighbourly relations, free flow of goods and people. Therefore, a solution must be found, step by step, in order to build up the trust between partners, and the dialogue is the only means for that.
Degert voiced expectation that the Serbian parliament will discuss a resolution on Kosovo on Saturday, and come up with a solution, which would facilitate resumption of the dialogue.
He said that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue should address the issues related to electric energy, Telekom and the cooperation with EULEX.
Together with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, EU foreign ministers will on December 5 consider what Serbia and Montenegro have achieved with regard to the implementation of reforms and other conditions for EU accession.
Following the meeting, they will present their opinion to EU heads of state and government which will meet on December 9. They will decide on the European Commission’s recommendation that Serbia merits the candidate status, and a date for commencement of the accession talks provided that it meets certain conditions.
According to Degert, the officials will take into account internal reforms, regional cooperation, the situation in Kosovo. As regards the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, the EU would want to see certain improvements.
Degert said that if Serbia becomes the EU candidate country, the next step will be opening of the accession talks.
Asked about the charges which Serbia and Croatia filed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague against each other, Degert said that the EU insists that bilateral issues should be resolved earlier, so as not to impede the talks with the EU.
Brammertz: No new conditions for Serbia
Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Serge Brammertz stated that The HagueTribunal will not impose any new conditions on Serbia’s EU path, and announced that the issue of helpers will be just one of the topics treated in the scope of cooperation between Belgrade and The Hague.
I was in Belgrade in September, in order to close the chapter of ICTY fugitives. This time I am going there, as usually, to finalize my report for the UN Security Council, which should be submitted circa November 15, he told the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.
Brammertz noted that the chapter of arresting the fugitives is closed, and added he expects information regarding Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic’s support network, which he will discuss with (Labor and Social Policy) Minister Rasim Ljajic’s bureau. Collaboration with the office is very good, he underscored.
The prosecutor stated that cooperation is underway in view of different processes, access to documents, witnesses, etc. There is a series of elements to be considered, he added.
When asked whether Serbia’s European integration should still be conditioned, the ICTY prosecutor said such a decision is brought in Brussels and not in The Hague.
This is the question which should be put to those who attached the conditions. As I understand it, the conditioning still exists. However, the EU pointed out clearly in October 2010 that the arrest of the remaining two indictees is the best proof of cooperation. They were captured, and it is on the EU to give political importance to the arrests. Still, this is the decision which is supposed to be reached in Brussels, not in The Hague, he concluded.