By Bojana Barlovac
Bozidar Djelic, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, resigned from the post after Brussels delayed the decision over the country’s EU bid.
Djelic told reporters in Brussels that Friday’s decision of the European Council to examine Serbia’s candidacy bid in March “was not what Serbia had expected.”
He added his decision was driven by promises he had made in August, that he will quit if Serbia is not granted candidate status in December.
The European Council said on Friday that Brussels will decide in February whether to grant Serbia candidate status in March.
Serbia may obtain EU candidacy only after EU foreign ministers “examine and confirm that Serbia has continued to show credible commitment and achieved further progress in moving forward with the implementation in good faith of agreements” with Kosovo.
These include: agreements on border management and “inclusive regional cooperation”, as well as allowing NATO peacekeepers to fulfil their mandates in the former Serbian province.
Djelic’s party, Serbia’s ruling Democrats have been counting on obtaining EU candidacy as their main card in forthcoming elections in the country, due to be held in spring.
Serbia started EU negotiations in October 2005 and its progress on the path earlier depended on being deemed to have completed cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal, ICTY.
The main obstacle in this field was removed in May when Belgrade arrested the ICTY’s most wanted war crimes suspect, Ratko Mladic.