Solana upbeat about Serbia′s EU membership aspirations | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 14.07.2009
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Europe

Solana upbeat about Serbia's EU membership aspirations

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says that Serbian citizens will soon receive good news from Brussels regarding visa-free travelling as he expressed hope the country would soon make progress towards EU membership.

Two elderly women pass by a European Union flag in Belgrade

Serbia is seeking closer ties with the EU

"For us in the European Union, to deepen the relationship with your country is a fundamental objective," he said in Belgrade on Monday. "You know there are problems that still exist, and I can guarantee you we are going to do the outmost to overcome the difficulties.

"You have your part also, but I hope very much that soon we will have a much deeper institutional relationship between Serbia and the European Union," Solana said.

"In a few days you will receive very good news on the visa regime liberalization for the Serbian people," Solana said after meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Belgrade.

Solana arrived in Belgrade on Monday, kicking off a four-capital tour of the former Yugoslavia to discuss their countries' troubled EU membership bids.

The European Commission was expected to adopt recommendations for the lifting of visa restrictions on Tuesday for the Balkan states Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

The EU in 2008 signed a stabilization and association agreement with Serbia - a crucial step for prospective EU member countries towards membership - but immediately suspended it over Belgrade's reluctance to bring war criminals to justice.

The two top fugitives are the Serb leader of an insurgency in Croatia, Goran Hadzic, and the much better known and former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic, who is wanted for atrocities such as the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica.

dfm/dpa/AFP

Editor: Chuck Penfold

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