The European Union has announced it will resume talks with Serbia on closer ties on June 13. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said this held out the prospect of concrete trade and economic benefits for Serbia.
The decision may go some way to offset Belgrade’s opposition to “supervised independence” for the breakaway Albanian majority province of Kosovo.
The move to relaunch the talks comes after Serbia last week arrested Bosnian Serb former general Zdravko Tolimir, accused of genocide.
The EU froze talks with Serbia last year on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement because Belgrade did not fulfil a promise to arrest top genocide suspect Ratko Mladic.
Brussels has welcomed Belgrade’s progress since the establishment less than a month ago of a pro-reform coalition government.
Yet while the improved cooperation with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) won praise, the EU still expects Serbia to capture Mladic, and help arrest Radovan Karadzic, the two top Bosnian Serb war crime suspects from the Bosnia war.