By Ria Novosti
Serbia and Romania signed a treaty on the protection of minorities on Thursday, clearing the way for EU membership for Serbia, the country’s news agencies reported.
The two countries agreed that the Romanian Vlach minorty in Serbia will be given the freedom to decide their nationality.
“The fact that we have this agreement today is a victory for efficient diplomacy”, a spokesman for the Serbian ruling Liberal Party PDL, Sever Voinescu, said.
Romania had threatened to block Serbia’s membership bid at an EU ministerial meeting on Tuesday, complaining about the treatment of the Valch minority.
EU leaders are expected to formally grant Serbia the status of candidate for membership to the bloc during their summit, which starts on Thursday night.
The move would bring remarkable changes for Serbia, which spent much of the 1990s isolated from the EU after its then-strongman Slobodan Milosevic started wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
In 1999, NATO bombed Serbia to prevent a crackdown on ethnic Albanians, in the first military campaign in the alliance’s history.