Spanish ambassador on Serbia’s EU ambition

Spanish Ambassador to Belgrade Inigo Espana has announced official Madrid’s strong support to Serbia’s EU candidacy.

As the country which assumed the six-month EU presidency on January 1, Spain thinks that Serbia’s candidacy should be discussed as soon as possible.

“We hope that we will together with other EU members manage to have a positive assessment regarding the Serbian application in order to get the EC opinion as soon as possible,” Spanish ambassador said.

However, for this to happen, it will be necessary to have the consent of all EU members in order to achieve that.

“In this early stage it is hard to say when the EU Council will announce its decision concerning Serbia’s candidacy application. There were many good news for Serbia’s EU integrations at the end of 2009, and Spain is truly happy about the fact that progress continues. I expect that the decision about when the Serbian application will be reviewed will be made after the consultations of all the EU members,” Espana said.

The ambassador explained that the usual procedure regarding the decision about a country’s candidacy was the EC opinion, “a simple, non-political decision free of political assessments”.

“It is up to the EC to evaluate Serbia’s position after certain bilateral consultations and based on the questionnaire filled out by the potential candidate. The final decision about the candidacy is up to the member states,” he said.

The ambassador added that although to usual practice was to have the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) in effect or in the process of ratification before going full steam toward the candidacy, there was “nothing that would technically prevent the EU ministers to ask for the EC’s opinion which would enable the continuation of the process”.

“But on the other hand, the EU member states hold the key to each next phase of this process and have the final word. Keep in mind that the Netherlands has not rejected the possibility to unfreeze the ratification of SAA by the end of June. This could happen even sooner if the remaining Hague fugitives were extradited to the Hague Tribunal,” Espana concluded.

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