EU ministers recommend status for Serbia, Romania still conditioning
29. February 2012. | 18:11 08:18
Source: Emg.rs, Beta, Tanjug
Of the 27 member states, 26, including Germany, were in favor of giving the green light to Serbia. Surprisingly, Romania took a tough position over the issue of the Vlach minority in Serbia.Tadic qualified as unjustified the remarks put forward by Romania. Serbia and Romania have a long tradition of friendly relations, but the remarks that were presented today are unjustified, he underlined.
European Union foreign ministers decided Monday, after more than six hours of debate, to recommend to the European Council to grant Serbia candidate status at its upcoming two-day summit on March 1 and 2, it was announced in Brussels.
The EU ministers were expected to take a decision on the status of Serbia and the EU Council to confirm their decision.
Instead of a decision, the ministers adopted a recommendation.
This means that the decision is practically left to the EU Council, as the head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso mentioned as a possibility earlier in the day.
Of the 27 member states, 26, including Germany, were in favor of giving the green light to Serbia. Surprisingly, Romania took a tough position over the issue of the Vlach minority in Serbia.
Romania still conditioning
Despite expectations that the debate on Serbia's candidacy for EU membership would be a short one, three hours have already elapsed because of Romania's strong position, sources from the European Commission said a little before 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
The debate, which began around 10.30 a.m., has been prolonged due to Romania's insisting that the item referring to the status of Vlach minority in Serbia be included in the conclusions. Although this condition has been met, the Romanians are still dissatisfied with the formulation.
Tadic expects affirmation Serbia is on right track
President Boris Tadic voiced expectation, during a break of the EU ministerial meeting, that European institutions will confirm that Serbia is on the right track.I do not want to indulge in speculations, but I expect the European institutions will affirm that Serbia is on the right track, Tadic told journalists.
We expected obstacles, it is not over yet, we are working on a positive decision, the president added.
Tadic qualified as unjustified the remarks put forward by Romania. Serbia and Romania have a long tradition of friendly relations, but the remarks that were presented today are unjustified, he underlined.
According to him, Serbia has fulfilled all conditions for obtaining the date for the start of accession talks as well, the only obstacle being the Kosovo issue.
Bildt criticizes Romania for lacking EU spirit
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt Tuesday criticized Romania for lacking the European spirit due to its negative attitude regarding Serbia's EU candidate status.
It is not very respectable to have states raise issues that are not a topic of the discussion, at the moment when we are trying to encourage Serbia. That shows a lack of a European spirit, Bildt wrote on twitter, without specifically mentioning Romania but obviously referring to that country.
At today's General Affairs Council at which Serbia's EU candidacy was discussed, Romania insisted that the Council's conclusions include an article on the position of the Vlach minority in Serbia.
Even though this request was fulfilled, Romanians are still unsatisfied with the formulation of the text of the conclusion.
It is not clear to us what they actually want, a European Commission official who attended the meeting stated.
According to APA, Bildt earlier wrote on twitter that he is hoping for a green light on Serbia's EU candidacy.
He also expects a step forward for Kosovo.
Rompuy: Serbia has met requirements
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy confirmed Tuesday, after meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic in Brussels, his support to the European perspective of Serbia.
President Tadic has steered Serbia closer to the European Union with vision, courage and determination. His country has addressed the three requirements set out by the European Council on 9 December 2011, which relate to regional cooperation, the integrated management for crossing points (IBM) and cooperation with EULEX/KFOR, he said.
The General Affairs Council today has examined and confirmed Serbia's progress and recommended to grant Serbia candidate status, Van Rompuy said.
It is my intention to bring this issue to the European Council on 1-2 March 2012 with the purpose of confirming Serbia's candidate status, he said.
Today’s meeting provided the opportunity once again to reaffirm our shared commitment to Serbia’s European perspective, he said.
In this context, I congratulated President Tadic on the successful outcome of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue meeting, which was held in Brussels on 22-24 February 2012, Van Rompuy said.
I should like to pay tribute to both sides for reaching two important agreements, which will bring long term political and practical benefits for Serbia, Kosovo and all the people in the
region, he said.
It is my hope that Serbia will continue to support regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations in the Western Balkans. The implementation of the agreements achieved so far remains key, Van Rompuy said.
Tadic met Monday and Tuesday in Brussels with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
Remarks by Štefan Füle Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy at the press conference after the meeting of General Affairs Council
Today is a good day, not only for Serbia and Kosovo but for the enlargement process of the EU in general. I warmly welcome the recommendation of the General Affairs Council to grant candidate status to Serbia and I am confident that the decision will be confirmed by the Heads of states and Government at the European Council later this week. I equally welcome the Council noting positively our intention to initiate a feasibility study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo.
This parallel and balanced move of both Serbia and Kosovo is a clear step forward for the whole region. And it is a deserved reflection of the progress both have made in the dialogue over the past months. A year ago we were celebrating the fact that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was launched. Looking back, we can only but be impressed by the progress achieved since then. I would here like to pay a clear tribute to the political courage that this has required from the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo. I would particularly like to emphasise the significant results reached in the latest round of dialogue. The agreement on regional representation and cooperation has confirmed the commitment of both parties to the fundamental values of effective, inclusive and representative regional cooperation so crucial to the EU and so important also for regional reconciliation.
The Commission will continue to encourage the parties to stay committed to the dialogue and achieve further results – for the good of the people and for the stability of the region.
Candidate status will open a new era in EU-Serbia relations and I expect that Serbia, as a candidate country, will be able to further progress on its reform agenda so as to prepare for the future opening of accession negotiations.
The launch of the feasibility study into a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo also paves the way for further progress of Kosovo towards the EU. This is the EU's main instrument in the Balkans - it is the path every other country has followed. It makes the European perspective a concrete reality.
This is thus a win-win situation for both partners, one of mutual progress and cooperation.