(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.