Serbia delivers EU candidacy application

Dec. 22, 2009 at 2:26 PM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Serbia formally applied for European Union membership Tuesday as President Boris Tadic presented an application to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

With the application -- delivered in Stockholm because Sweden currently holds the EU's rotating presidency -- Serbia become the latest nation to get in line to join the 27-member EU, along with Croatia, Turkey, Macedonia and Iceland, The Guardian reported.

Serbia has been encouraged by the EU's decision to drop a requirement that Serbs obtain visas to travel to most European nations -- the restrictions were lifted last week. But, analysts say, Belgrade still faces daunting tasks to qualify, including its failure to arrest accused 1990s Balkans War genocide suspect Ratko Mladic.

Serbia is also waiting for its pre-membership stabilization and association agreement with the EU to be ratified -- held up because the Netherlands wants to see Mladic captured and delivered to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague first, The Guardian said.

Tadic told reporters in Stockholm, "It is a completely different matter whether we will get the candidate status before we complete our co operation with the Hague tribunal."

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