Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Delo on Serbia and Montenegro's Steps Towards EU

(c) 2005 STA, Slovenska Tiskovna Agencija d.o.o

Ljubljana, 19 April (STA) - Kosovo is becoming a major obstacle for Serbia

and Montenegro, as the country cannot see its way out of the European

waiting room. At the same time, Kosovo is the best opportunity for Serbia

and Montenegro to join the EU, Delo observes in a commentary on Tuesday.

Contrary to the Montenegro government, the paper says, the Serbian

government of Vojislav Kostunica will have its work cut out to persuade

its citizens that EU membership is the only way to a brighter future.

However, both governments will have plenty of work elsewhere too, as

European standards will be harder to meet than Belgrade's obligations

towards the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

According to Delo, Serbia's problem is not only organised crime, which was

controlled only during the investigation of the assassination of former

Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic, while the trial of his assassins gives an

impression that the country is protecting the Zemun mafia.

Yet as Delo sates under the headline "Finally the Light at the End of the

Tunnel", Belgrade was more thorough than Podgorica in preparation for EU

negotiations, which are expected to start this summer before the

stabilisation and association agreement is signed.

If the country's thorough preparations were to be followed by substantive

changes, Delo adds, then Serbia and Montenegro would not have waited two

years to sign the stabilisation and association agreement, which was

almost complete before Djindjic's assassination.

Due to crisis in Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, the Middle East and Kyrgyzstan,

the US and the EU wish to step up the stabilisation process in the Balkans,

especially in Serbia-Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.

Delo therefore believes that this year may be of great significance for

the Balkans. That is, if the US and the EU can persuade Belgrade to accept

their project for Kosovo to become a kind of an EU constituency. If Serbia

wants what is best for the country and its people.

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