The arrest of Ratko Mladic has led to speculation that it will not be a matter of if but when Serbia now joins the EU.
In a strange twist of fate, Europe’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton was in Belgrade for talks at the time of the arrest.
Welcoming the latest development she said it would give Serbia’s possible membership renewed impetus.
“I know that people will also be thinking about Serbia and its future in the European union. What I know is that we will approach that with renewed energy because of today and I look at the coming messages from Brussels and European capitals to Serbia, and hope we will be able to move forward swiftly,” she said.
Stefan Fule, Europe’s Commissioner in charge of enlargement, also said the Bosnian war crimes suspect’s capture removed a big obstacle on Serbia’s road to joining the EU.
However he insisted Belgrade had to intensify reforms, such as those involving its justice system, to achieve membership.
“Serbia has fulfilled an important international obligation, Tomorrow, in this new momentum created, work must intensify on reforms which are key to enable the Commission to present a positive Opinion later this year,” Fule said.
The Commission’s decision whether to recommend that the bloc should grant Serbia EU candidate status is due in October.