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Analysts: Serbia EU membership bid faces range of hurdles

Author: Andre de Nesnera Date: Mon, Jan 11 2010 18 Comments, 4324 Views
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Serbia has officially applied to become a member of the European Union.

The European Union is made up of 27 states and Serbia is the latest country to apply for membership.

Damian Chalmers, from the London School of Economics, says any country wishing to become an EU member must meet a series of criteria.  "There are first legal criteria that it must put into its domestic system - all EU law - and there's a lot of it, estimates calculated about 70 000 to 80 000 pages. Secondly there are economic criteria: it must have a stable market economy, which is capable of withstanding competition from other EU member states, and has low inflation. And thirdly there are political criteria: this means that there must be a stable democracy, respect for the rule of law, respect for international human rights treaties, particularly those that relate to the protection of minorities," he said.

Concerns over size of EU

Tomas Valasek, with London's Center for European Reform, says Serbia's membership bid comes at a difficult time. "The Serbian situation has not been helped by the reality and the fact that lots of EU member states have really got cold feet on further enlargement. Quite a few, especially the older member states, feel that the EU has already enlarged too far, too fast and that we now need a period of rest and a pause, rather than rushing into another enlargement. Having said that, the EU is committed to enlarging eventually to the western Balkans. But quite a few member states may want to drag out the process because they don't want to accept too many new member states anytime soon," he said.

Apprehension of General Ratko Mladic

Analysts say Serbia faces a number of obstacles on its path to EU recognition. The biggest one, says Valasek, is that former Bosnian Serb military leader General Ratko Mladic - indicted on charges of war crimes and genocide - is still at large. "It is difficult to imagine how Serbia could ever accede if Ratko Mladic isn't found one way or another. Certainly there are quite a few countries within the EU - Holland, but also the country that I'm calling from, Britain - which will be insisting that Ratko Mladic must be found before Serbia can join the EU," he said.

Valasek says Serbia has cooperated in the past with the Hague tribunal, apprehending Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic about a year and a half ago. And it also extradited former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic who died while on trial in The Hague.
Recognition of Kosovo

Another obstacle is the status of Kosovo which declared its independence from Serbia last February. Belgrade still considers it one of its provinces.

Once again, Damian Chalmers from the London School of Economics: "The issue about Kosovo is that whilst a large part of the international community have recognized Kosovo as an independent state, not all of them have. But I think the tide is probably with those that are recognizing Kosovo and at a certain point I would imagine there would be pressure on the Serbs to recognize Kosovo," he said.

But Valasek has a different view. "The EU is really not in a position to demand that Serbia recognize or not recognize Kosovo as a precondition for accession, for the simple reason that EU member states themselves, the existing EU member states, are completely divided. Most have recognized Kosovo's independence, but quite a few - Spain, Romania, Slovakia - have not, just as Serbia hasn't. So because the EU itself is divided over the issue, it cannot really pose that as a condition, it cannot really demand of Serbia that they recognize Kosovo before it accedes to the EU," he said.

Analysts say Serbia faces a long and bumpy road to EU membership - a process that may take five to eight years, or maybe longer.

Source: VOA News

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    • Anonymous
      Peggy Rating:
      neutral
      #18 22, 01, Wed, Jan 13 2010

      Dr Strangelove

      Tue, Jan 12 2010 18:51 CET

      Inappropriate comment?
      Boltzmann -

      "Simply Stated" has got it largely right about about EU Accession and the rules of behaviour of aspirant member-states.

      And by the way, "Cypress" is a tree. The country is called "Cyprus".


      When your arguments don't hold water you go into spelling corrections.
      At least your post doesn't go to waste entirely.

    • Anonymous
      1 Rating:
      neutral
      #17 14, 38, Wed, Jan 13 2010

      Ludobic, go "teem" servia. lol
      how low can you get?

      i hope yoy wont get stuck at the nypd sells fo too long, you know you can ask for fake passports anytime from the serbien embassy ;)

    • Anonymous
      Dr Strangelove Rating:
      neutral
      #16 18, 51, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      Boltzmann -

      "Simply Stated" has got it largely right about about EU Accession and the rules of behaviour of aspirant member-states.

      And by the way, "Cypress" is a tree. The country is called "Cyprus".

    • Anonymous neutral
      #15 17, 54, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      Tony,
      who is "we"? Albania?

    • Anonymous
      tony Rating:
      neutral
      #14 15, 42, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      serbia is not part of EU. we dont need state like serbia in EU.....

    • Anonymous neutral
      #13 14, 53, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      Simply Stated:
      >>All these decisions will have to be made by the Serbian people through democratically electing leaders which will either continue to pull the country towards EU membership or will keep it on the periphery as other countries like Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania advance towards EU membership.<<
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      Hehehe.... other countries like Albania advance! Albania is like no other country. Even the so called [...]

      Read the full comment "International Community" (that is how the three four NATO countries would like to refer to themselves ALL OF THE TIME), separate Albanians from the rest of the World ("uniqueness" case). I I were wrong, and you were right on this little detail, then explain why EU does not trust the Albanians, why do they make them stand in line for visas, go through visa quotas? You have so called "Kosova", which is nothing but occupied protectorate. Couldn't said "International Community" straighten out for the past 10 years to make them obedient to the higher authority, so that they could trust them enough at least to let them visit the same authority countries?
      .
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      In any case, you have my admiration for the two things:

      Thing #1): Civilized, respectful approach in discussing serious issues. This I am not used to here where couple Albanians are hurling caca all over the site, or you have the third Greek Albanian chasing misspelled words and comparing them with synonym words trying to make a lame comedy out of it, day after day.

      Thing #2: When you have civilized bunch of people, one does not need a moderator. take for example your situation. I was able to MODERATE your opinion (credit goes to you first and foremost in this case). You started saying that Serbia will have to recognize "Kosovu". O.K., I forgot to say "independent" Kosovo. On the second thought, you are now saying the following:

      >>Kosovo will have to be resolved in the sense that a peaceful coexistence can be reached by both sides. How long it will take to reach a settlement and what that settlement will be is hard to predict but it will have to be reached or else a troublesome "frozen conflict" situation like the one seen in Cyprus will enter the EU further complicating things. Kosovo has a long way to go before it can enter the EU, is Serbia willing to wait that long or is Serbia willing to enter the EU before Kosovo is ready and in that case do we treat Kosovo as an independent state or as a part of Serbia?<<
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      I'd give you a B+ on this visible improvement/transformation. Obviously, you are not an Albanian. Those guys, you could beat over the head, they do not change just like that.
      .
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      I have video meeting to tend to and then I have to hit the NYC traffic. I'd like us to continue this discussion, this evening. P.S. Where in the States, R U from?

    • Anonymous1Tue, Jan 12 2010

      This comment has been removed by the moderator because it contained

    • Anonymous
      SimplyStated Rating:
      neutral
      #11 10, 37, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      @ Boltzmann

      The EU has certain requirements which all countries have to meet in order to become members. No one is preventing Serbia from pursuing the policies that it deems fit but only certain policies will allow it to become an EU member state. All countries that became EU members had to undergo many difficult changes in order to be deemed ready to join the EU. Same goes with NATO.

      If the EU did not have stringent criteria then troublesome countries would enter the union and since the union works through consensus [...]

      Read the full comment such countries would be problematic. It's always easier to tell countries to clean up their act before they become members then it is after the fact (just look at the problems that the EU is having with Romania and Bulgaria to convince yourself of that).

      Serbia has undergone some improvement and it has been rewarded for that improvement by its citizens getting visa free travel and the SAA trade agreement being unblocked. That's the classic carrot and stick model which has been used in diplomacy for decades, although in Serbia's case its mostly carrots that are being offered with conditions. For Serbia to move closer towards becoming an EU member it will have to continue the reforms. The pace of those reforms will be determined by Serbian politicians and wether they are willing to make those reforms in an expedient fashion or want to wait and pass the buck to the next generation.

      Serbia can not become an EU member until it arrests and extradites the remaining Hague fugitives most importantly Ratko Mladic, the person most responsible for the genocide that the Bosnian Serbs committed in Srebrenica. Serbia has both the moral and the legal obligation to arrest these war criminals so that justice can finally be served. Justice delayed is justice denied and that disgraceful behavior by the Serbian authorities can not be allowed to continue.

      Kosovo will have to be resolved in the sense that a peaceful coexistence can be reached by both sides. How long it will take to reach a settlement and what that settlement will be is hard to predict but it will have to be reached or else a troublesome "frozen conflict" situation like the one seen in Cyprus will enter the EU further complicating things. Kosovo has a long way to go before it can enter the EU, is Serbia willing to wait that long or is Serbia willing to enter the EU before Kosovo is ready and in that case do we treat Kosovo as an independent state or as a part of Serbia?

      Another important issue which will have to be addressed is Serbia's surreptitious subversive behavior in Bosnia-Herzegovina in which it continues to collaborate with radical neofascist politicians that are destabilizing the country. The EU does not allow countries that have troubles with their neighbors to enter the union and as long as Serbia is interfering in Bosnia's internal affairs it will be considered to have a damaging policy towards its neighboring country. Will Serbian politicians decide to stop interfering in Bosnia-Herzegovina's internal affairs and fomenting instability in that nation?

      All these decisions will have to be made by the Serbian people through democratically electing leaders which will either continue to pull the country towards EU membership or will keep it on the periphery as other countries like Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania advance towards EU membership.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #10 08, 01, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      Without Serbia one can no longer put together a world teems in most teem sports (tennis, volleyball, water polo, handball, soccer, karate, judo...)
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      Without Serbian scientists you would have no electricity, various star war technologies (Nikola Tesla, Mihailo Pupin). ... What did the Albanians contribute to the World? Let us be honist here. ...Olimpic champions in making pizza, cover 80% heroin trade in EU...erected Bill Clinton monument in Pristina... They still blame Serbs for it?

    • Anonymous neutral
      #9 07, 52, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      The alloys could be much stronger than any of its components. Kevlar (starting to creep up in the civilian use in the US) is about 10 times stronger than steel! The whole could be bigger than its sum.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #8 07, 44, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      correction: US RE market = about $20 trillion

    • Anonymous neutral
      #7 07, 40, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      @SimplyStated:

      >>Until Mladic is arrested and the Kosovo issue is resolved Serbia will not be allowed to enter the EU. However if reforms in Serbia continue and the country's policy towards its neighbors becomes less hostile then an improvement in relations between the EU and Serbia will take place. It's really up the the Serbian people and politicians to decide if they are willing to make the required changes in order to enter the EU.<<

      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      [...]

      Read the full comment />
      You are one of those people who live in a RIGID BLACK/WHITE world. I am right, you are right. You are "EITHER WITH ME,OR AGAINST ME" (Bush). That kind of attitude is doomed for failure; it is just a question - how long, when? Those who advance and prosper live in a flexible world of tolerance, recognising and celebrating diversities. Hybrid is cool. Not your way, not y way, but a compromise.
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      Imagine those NATO leaders (Bush, Blair, Chirac, Kohl...) used to say: Kosovo is UNIQUE case in the World!!! Why? That is why? because I said so! Where are they now? Bush purchased a house, I think in Dallas, or Huston (I am not sure which of the two), he is not giving any interview..., Blair tried to become President of EU, did not work... Now he is ingratiating Israel-Palestinian peace agreement (the most impartial guy in the World is trying to make a most difficult/elusive peace in the World!) with 0 success
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      Obviously - rigid military imposed solution will NEVER work. EU needs Serbia, just as much as Serbia needs EU. Imagine a black hole in the middle of Europe. This is no longer a dilemma. EU has open its door to Serbia, already to the MUTUAL BENEFITS.
      .
      .

      You have to look on teh entire picture not only from one angle but from ALL angles. Look at this one:
      the US economy is characterised w? number 20. The entire US stock market is worth about 20 trilion dollars. The entire US realestate market is also worth about 20 billion dollars. These both numbers have dropped down for about 40% in 2007, 2008 and then climbed back up for about one half of the loss.
      .
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      The entire US economy (w/ 300 milion people) is about 14 trillion dollars worth. The EU economy (about 350 milion people) is a little shy of 14 trillion $. Chinese economy is about one half of the US economy (w/ 1.3 billion people). Russian economy is about 1.5 billion $ worth... As we speak, there is a global race between the three (US-EU-China). If EU is to have any chance to keep up it has to incorporate the Balkans and possibly Israel and Turkey.
      .
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      On the other hand the US has NAFTA (free agreement Canada-Mexico-the US). There is a tendency to add the entire Latine America. There is a war between the recurrences - is oil price going to be calculated in $ or Euros? Each of these moves could bring about collapse or triumph to either of the two sides.
      .
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      Then you have Islamic terrorism. Kosovo and BH are a weak link (read the news, again and again).
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      Then you have crazy Iran, that civilized world has to confront soon. Without Russia, that would be practically impossible..
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      As you could see @ Simply Stated, you have too simplistic world outlook. it would be nice if the World were so simple.

    • Anonymous
      SimplyStated Rating:
      neutral
      #6 03, 33, Tue, Jan 12 2010

      Until Mladic is arrested and the Kosovo issue is resolved Serbia will not be allowed to enter the EU. However if reforms in Serbia continue and the country's policy towards its neighbors becomes less hostile then an improvement in relations between the EU and Serbia will take place. It's really up the the Serbian people and politicians to decide if they are willing to make the required changes in order to enter the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Peggy Rating:
      neutral
      #5 22, 53, Mon, Jan 11 2010

      Tony, please don't use the f word.

      You may think whatever you like of Greece, just remember not everyone does and it only take one veto.
      So whether you like Greece or not it is in a position to have a legitimate opinion, unlike you.

      Your emotions don't count.

    • Anonymous
      Vincent Rating:
      neutral
      #4 21, 55, Mon, Jan 11 2010

      I am short on Albania... These people have had very little in common with Europe thoughout their history. The bigest foreign drug trafficers and pimps in the Uk , this is what they are..








    • AnonymoustonyMon, Jan 11 2010

      This comment has been removed by the moderator because it contained

    • Anonymous
      mike pat Rating:
      neutral
      #2 17, 36, Mon, Jan 11 2010

      europe is not complete w/o the western balkans in it. the region might be small, but is nevertheless important for europe's security. besides, acceptance of another 20,000,000 people who live in those countries cannot pose a threat to a half-billion-strong Union. europe needs to stimulate reforms in south europe to prevent future conflicts. it has been doing so since 2003 thessalonikki summit and that is the way to go. serbia, and other western balkan countries, will bring europe into its final shape.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #1 16, 53, Mon, Jan 11 2010

      I like Cypress stand on Kosovo. They have been saying >>Even if serbia recognizes "Kosova", we will not recognize it!<< That is simply stated my, and my family's position

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