Barroso: 2011 'Year of Crucial Opportunity' for Serbia

Bulgaria in EU | May 19, 2011, Thursday // 19:58|  views

Serbian PM Cvetkovic (left) and EC President Barroso (right) in Brussels in January 2011. Photo by EPA/BGNES

EC President Jose Manuel Barroso has warned Serbia that is needs to move fast with political, legal, and economic changes in order to catch the EU train.

Barroso was in Belgrade Thursday where he stressed explicitly that Serbia needs to cooperate with the Hague Tribunal for the arrest and handing over of Gen. Ratko Mladic and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic to the war crimes tribunal in order to be recognized as an EU candidate country.

Mladic and Hadzic are believed to be hiding in Serbia like former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

"Indeed, 2011 is the year of crucial opportunity for Serbia and Europe. You are on the right track, but time is running out," the European Commission head told journalists in Serbia's capital as cited by Bloomberg.

Barroso emphasized the EU needed to see results on Serbia's part before the summer.

The Serbian government plans to gain candidate status by the end of 2011.

Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic's administration, which faces elections in a year, is implementing changes to improve the judicial system and fight corruption and organized crime in hopes of getting a positive assessment from EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule on Oct. 12.

"Serbia needs to tackle these issues, Cvetkovic told the same news conference on Thursday, quoted by Bloomberg.

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Tags: Jose Manuel Barroso, EC President, Serbia, Mirko Cvetkovic, Boris Tadic, Serbia EU accession, Hague Tribunal, Goran Hadzic, Ratko Mladic, war criminal


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