Serbia applies for EU membership

Serbia submitted a formal application for membership of the EU. Serbian President Boris Tadić handed his country’s application for EU membership to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Stockholm.

In spring 2009, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on free trade was signed between Serbia and the EU. Since then, the coalition government headed by President Tadić has implemented a series of reforms, for example in the area of justice, and improved the technical cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal where several former political leaders are facing trial following the conflict in the region in the 1990’s.

Olli Rehn, European Commissioner responsible for EU enlargement, also attended the press conference. He noted that Serbia has come a long way over the past ten years

Now several reforms remain to be implemented on the part of Serbia. Meanwhile, the application will be going through the EU application procedure. The first step is the Council of Ministers adopting a position on whether Serbia qualifies as a candidate country and then tasking the European Commission with commencing negotiations with the candidate country. Asked when a full membership can be considered, European Commissioner Olli Rehn answered that it should happen within the next decade.

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