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Serbia’s EU future hinges on elections - Swedish FM

Future relations between the EU and Serbia depend on the outcome of the May 11 elections, says Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister.

Carl Bildt told Vienna daily Presse that “the situation since the Kosovo independence declaration has complicated.” With regards to Holland and Belgium’s decision to reiterate their position at the ministerial meeting in Brdo Pri Kranju that Serbia should not be allowed to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) until full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal had been achieved, Bildt stressed that Sweden’s position was as before. He said that the same rules applied as for Croatia. “We shouldn’t apply different standards for the other Balkan states,” Bildt underlined. Asked whether the EU should offer Serbia a wider set of solutions for integration before the elections, Bildt said that that had yet to be decided, and that the subject could appear on the agenda at the meeting of EU foreign ministers on April 28 in Luxembourg.

As far as the EU mission to Kosovo was concerned, the minister said that interaction between UNMIK and EULEX was still unclear. “UNMIK is poorly integrated in Kosovo. Unlike some, we’re not working on the basis of the UN leaving Kosovo under the plan, as soon as the EU arrives. I think the UN will continue its work for a limited time, which will be necessary,” he explained, expressing hope that at some point in the future, the EU mission would take over without any problems.

Bildt warned that the next flashpoint in the Balkans could be Bosnia-Hercegovina. “It’s very important that the Bosnian parliament enacts all the necessary rulings and reforms, for the SAA to be signed on April 28,” the minister said, adding, however that it was not “a done deal.” “There are forces that are not especially Bosnia-oriented, and that are trying to hold the process back. That would be tragic, with the result that there could be no SAA with Bosnia. The country, in comparison with other parts of the region, is lagging behind,” he cautioned. (B92)