Serbia to apply to join the EU

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Serbian President Boris Tadić
Image: Democratic Party.

Serbia is to file a formal application today to join the European Union according to officials. President Boris Tadić is to fly to Stockholm to submit the application to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

"President Boris Tadic will go to Stockholm on Tuesday to submit the application for EU membership," announced Serbian presidency spokeswoman Jasmina Stojanov.

Reinfeldt called the announcement "a historic step". In a statement he welcomed the bid, saying "I look forward to receiving President Boris Tadic in Stockholm on Tuesday, December 22, when he officially hands over the application."

Along with Montenegro and Macedonia, visa-free entry to the 27-country bloc came into affect for Serbia's citizens on Saturday, and a free trade agreement, frozen in April, was also reinstated this month, after the United Nations chief prosecutor accepted that the country was making serious attempts to arrest the two remaining people indicted for war crimes by The Hague's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

According to diplomats, the bid for membership has some support, with Italy and Greece favourable, but the Netherlands and the United Kingdom more cautious.