European Politics and Institutions

Balkans Forum

Serbia: en route towards the EU

7 June 2011

Boris Tadić, President of the Republic of Serbia, said that the capture of Ratko Mladić is one more milestone in achieving reconciliation in the region. If Serbia is to be a mature democracy it cannot have the luxury of allowing an individual to escape judgement. It was the President’s ‘sincere hope’ that all the countries in the region would share his aspiration that each time historical criminality is confronted with honesty and action, the region moves closer to reconciliation. The UN Security Council must authorise an independent investigation into the ‘shocking allegations’ made in a Council of Europe report on illegal trafficking of human organs in Kosovo.

There has been a myth that Serbia is not ready for the EU and that the EU is not ready for enlargement. But, things have changed dramatically – modern democratic Serbia, ten years after the fall of Slobodan Milošović, is ready to start accession negotiations with the EU. The economic environment is also changing – the worse of the economic crisis is behind and there is a chance for rapid growth in Serbia and the region Serbia is a country on the move – dealing with its historical legacy, tackling organised crime, laying the foundations for a country that is attractive to investors. The purpose is to join the EU, but, even if the EU wants to delay, Serbia is doing what is best for itself.

The economic crisis had a negative effect in the region, hitting Serbia just at the moment it was beginning to see its economy grow. However, the President said he felt that Serbia was ‘turning the corner’. The goal is to create a wider regional market, through closer cooperation by private and public sectors, which will lead to dynamic economic growth for all.

Regional cooperation is important, and Serbia is ready to play a constructive role in resolving all regional issues. It is the key to the settlement of these issues, because without cooperation between Serbia and Croatia there is no long-term guarantee for the sovereignty and functional existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. With regard to Kosovo it is examining all the positive examples in modern European history that offer ideas to resolve this issue. There has been encouraging progress in the discussions between Pristina and Belgrade. Although some may want immediate solutions, that is contrary to political logic. Solutions must achieve lasting reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians, both of whom have legitimate interests that must be respected.

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