Serbia to officially submit EU application on Tuesday

21.12.2009 u 12:37


On Tuesday, Serbia will officially submit its application for European Union membership. Serbian President Boris Tadic is expected to arrive in Stockholm for this purpose on that day, Reuters reports, quoting the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt

Sweden is holding the rotating EU presidency by 31 December.

President Tadic and Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic on Saturday afternoon announced that Serbia had decided to apply for the status of EU candidate, adding that the country was expecting Sweden to set the exact date when the application could be formally lodged.

"Clearly this is an historic and important step for Serbia," Bildt wrote in a website blog late on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Reuters recalls that "Serbia's path to EU membership has been stalled due to its failure to arrest former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, who is sought for genocide by the U.N. war crimes court."

On Saturday, Tadic said that the decision was a new stage which would require deep and painful reforms but which would produce benefits for Serbian citizens.

He added that Serbia had notified EU leaders about its intention to apply for EU membership and that it was met with the approval from the country's European partners.

He expressed hope that Serbia would be given the date for the submission of the application although it had not yet arrested the two remaining fugitive war crimes suspects, wanted by the UN tribunal in The Hague: Bosnian Serb wartime leader Ratko Mladic and the Serb rebel leader in the eastern Croatian area of Slavonia, Goran Hadzic.