Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Yesterday, the European Union (EU) removed another hurdle in Serbia's path to joining the EU. In 2008, the EU had signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia, a major early step in the accession process. However, the agreement was never fully ratified largely because of objections from the Netherlands regarding Serbia's failure to hand over two war crimes suspects, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic. Mladic is accused of participating in a massacre at Srebrenica in 1995. Hadzic likewise is accused of participating in multiple war crimes. Both men are still at large. Despite that fact, Serbia recently received a positive evaluation from the UN chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, stating that Serbia has been cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY). As a result, the Netherlands withdrew its objections to the ratification and implementation of the SAA with Serbia. The move comes just one week after EU interior ministers agreed to life visa restrictions on Serb citizens as of December 19.