Serbia has taken a decisive step towards a stronger future with the European Union. The parliament in Belgrade voted five to one in favour of the pre-EU membership pact the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
Officials in Belgrade expect a positive report on their cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague. They feel that the arrest in July of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic – now awaiting trial – will help get the SAA fully implemented.
This hinges largely on an assessment by the UN war crimes prosecutor Serge Brammertz. He is due in Belgrade this Wednesday for a two-day cooperation check-up visit. The Serbian government has repeatedly said it is hunting harder than ever for wartime general Ratko Mladic – who is also on the Hague’s most-wanted list.
Serbia and the EU finally signed the pact in April, days before a snap general election. The EU’s backing of Kosovo’s independence declaration had led the nationalists to push for freezing Serbia’s EU membership bid.