EC-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement
Delivered in Plenary - 18th January 2011
Serbia’s progress towards EU membership is gathering pace, and rightly so, as evidenced by the excellent Kacin report.
When I was in Serbia last October, I was impressed with the commitment and effort of Serbia’s dynamic, western-orientated democratic government. Serbia certainly has much work still to be done, relating to judicial reform and the fight against organised crime. We in the ECR also hope that Ratko Mladić will be caught and sent to The Hague, though it is by no means certain that he is on Serbian territory. However, it is vital that Serbia’s progress is reciprocated and rewarded by the EU and its Member States, for example now by ratifying the SSA, not least because some of Serbia’s neighbours, such as Croatia, are far more advanced on the road to EU accession.
Serbia’s relationship with Kosovo is problematic but not insoluble. I personally believe that an equitable full and final settlement based on partition and the ‘land for peace’ principles we see in the Middle East would be the best way forward. In my view, the EU should properly evaluate this option during the forthcoming dialogue brokered by the High Representative. To dismiss it out of hand would be dangerously short-sighted, and would only perpetuate Kosovo’s state of limbo in terms of international recognition at EU, NATO and UN level.