Serbia says it is planning to formally apply for European Union membership in the first half of this year. Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has been in Brussels to discuss the prospects.
In spite of support from some EU members, notably Italy, the Netherlands has so far strongly opposed Serbia’s bid for EU candidacy. The bloc has told Belgrade it must arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, under indictment for the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo. The attrocity in 1995 remains highly sensitive in the Dutch national conscience. Dutch UN troops did not stop the massacre. Belgrade must also carry out border control reforms, introduce biometric passports and improve its performance against organised crime and illegal immigration if it is to move closer towards its visa liberalisation goal.