Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2,483-point Questionnaire given to Serbia on Reforms Needed for EU Membership

EU Gives Serbia a Questionnaire on Reforms Needed for Membership
By Misha Savic - Nov 24, 2010

The European Union’s enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fule, gave Serbia a set of questions on political, economic and social reforms that the government must tackle if it’s to succeed in its aim of joining the bloc.

Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said the answers to the 2,483-point document will be provided by the end of January, “with the aim that, by the end of 2011, we are given the candidate status” that would bring EU membership closer.

A key obstacle to Serbian membership has been the country’s failure to arrest war crimes suspects Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, accused of committing atrocities during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Fule declined to specify whether that remains an absolute condition for Serbia to achieve candidate status, saying it depends on the Netherlands-based United Nations war crimes court, which indicted the two.

He urged the Serbian authorities to give “top priority to tracking and arresting” Mladic and Hadzic. The authorities say they cannot locate the fugitives.

“EU member-states have expressed strong interest in Serbia’s membership application,” Fule said, adding that he’s confident Serbia will “seize this chance.”

Serbia filed its application to join the EU last year.

Cvetkovic said his government will soon adopt an “action plan” to speed up legislative and other reforms that are also required for the country to achieve candidate status.

In a recent progress report on aspiring members, the European Commission commended Serbia for its efforts toward reconciliation with neighboring Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina after the conflicts of the 1990s.

Fule also said Serbia must further improve its judicial system and public administration and intensify its fight against organized crime and corruption.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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