Serbia Logs Formal EU Membership ApplicationBulgaria in EU | December 22, 2009, Tuesday // 18:22| views
Serbian President Boris Tadic (L) hands over the application to join the European Union to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (R), current holder of the EU Presidency, in Stockholm. Photo by BGNES
Serbia formally submitted its application to join the European Union, BBC reports Tuesday.
Serbian President Boris Tadic traveled to Stockholm to hand the application to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Sweden holds the EU presidency until December 31.
The EU recently unfroze a free trade agreement with Belgrade and since 19 December Serbs have enjoyed visa-free travel to most EU countries. The move is seen as a strong attempt on the part of the country to end the years of isolation, but political experts warn that the road ahead is still long.
The eventual accession to the EU will largely depend on the outcome of the issue about Kosovo's independence, the fight against corruption and organized crime, establishing a more competitive business, judicial reform and freedom of speech.
The capture of two remaining war fugitives , particularly the former Bosnian Serb military commander, Ratko Mladic, is another major hurdle before Serbia. The failure to arrest the two, who are indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), based in The Hague, is causing major concerns, particularly in the Netherlands.
Slovenia is the only former Yugoslav republic to have joined the EU so far. That took place in 2004, and its neighbor Croatia is on track to be the next to join, in 2011 or 2012.
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