Tuesday, October 4, 2011

EC report on Serbia positive, opinion yet to come

European Commission's annual report on Serbia's progress in EU integration is positive, but the opinion on its membership application has not been completed yet, diplomatic sources within the EU told Tanjug on Monday.

The commission has determined that Serbia achieved exceptional progress last year in trying to reach EU standards, a diplomat who wished to remain anonymous told Tanjug.

Serbia got good ratings for political and social reforms, especially for its efforts against organized crime and towards improvement of regional cooperation, Tanjug was told.

The Pride Parade ban will not have a significant influence on the general view, but it will probably be mentioned, the diplomat stated.

The report, which will be made public October 12, will be accompanied by the opinion on Serbia's readiness to be granted the status of a candidate for EU membership and the start date for the accession talks.

The opinion has not been formulated yet, and the reasons for that are political and related to the situation in northern Kosovo, he noted.

The diplomat explained that a positive opinion on the candidate status and start date for the talks seemed inevitable up until late September, but since the incidents at the Jarinje and Brnjak checkpoints, some countries have begun objecting to Serbia getting the status.

This refers mostly to Germany and France, he clarified. This has been confirmed by other diplomatic sources.

Serbia's chances were diminished further at the start of October by Belgrade's insistence on including the administrative crossings as a topic in the talks with Pristina, the diplomats stated.

Chief EU mediator for the talks Robert Cooper will visit Belgrade and Pristina later this week to try and get the two sides to return to the negotiating table.

Everything hangs on Cooper's visit now, the diplomatic sources said, explaining that the opinion will be completed shortly before the report is presented.

The European Council will then give the final word.

The council has to adopt the commission's recommendations unanimously for Serbia to be granted the candidate status.

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