By Gordana Andric
The European Commission has officially recommended that Serbia gets EU candidate status but a final decision on whether it receives this status will be decided when EU members meet in December.
“On the basis of the progress achieved in reforms, co-operation with the International Court Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia, and regional reconciliation, I recommend granting Serbia Candidate Status on the understanding that Serbia re-engages in the dialogue with Kosovo and is moving swiftly to the implementation in good faith of agreements reached to date,” Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement, said at a press conference in Brussels this afternoon.
However, the Commission suggested that for the accession talks to commence, Serbia take “further steps to normalise relations with Kosovo in line with the conditions of the Stabilisation and Association Process.”
“This is the only priority we set which in itself is a tribute to the reform efforts we have witnessed in Serbia over the last year in the area of judicial reform, rule of law and other areas intrinsically linked to the Copenhagen political criteria,” Fule said.
The European Commision Analytical report praised the good results in the implementation of legal and policy frameworks for human rights and the protection of minorities, reforms on the judiciary, the fight against organised crime and the work of parliament.
However, the report writes that further efforts are still needed to improve the functioning of the judiciary and fight against corruption and organised crime.
The report praised Belgrade’s efforts to achieve full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, ICTY.
This comes following the arrests of two remaining war-crimes suspects, the former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic and the former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic.
Serbia presented its application for membership of the European Union on 22 December 2009.
Subsequently, on 25 October 2010, the Council of the European Union requested the Commission to submit its opinion on this application.