|Serbian EU accession bid|
|This article is part of a series on the
"politics and government of
On 7 November 2007, Serbia initiated a "Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union. This was a milestone in Serbia's accession negotiations and was executed following the advice of chief war crimes prosecutor "Carla Del Ponte, who advised the EU that the country was complying with the tribunal but stipulated that "Ratko Mladić must be in "The Hague prior to any official signing. Mladić was subsequently arrested on 26 May 2011 and was extradited to the "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to stand trial. On 20 July 2011, "Goran Hadžić became the last indicted fugitive to be arrested. After setbacks in the political field, on 7 December 2009 the EU unfroze the trade agreement with Serbia and the Schengen countries dropped the visa requirement for Serbian citizens on 19 December 2009.
Serbia officially applied for "European Union membership on 22 December 2009, and the "European Commission recommended making it an "official candidate on 12 October 2011. After the "Council's recommendation of 28 February 2012, Serbia received full "candidate status on 1 March. On 28 June 2013 the European Council endorsed the Council of Ministers conclusions and recommendations to open accession negotiations with Serbia. In December 2013 the Council of the European Union approved opening negotiations on Serbia's accession in January 2014, and the first Intergovernmental Conference was held on 21 January at the European Council in Brussels.
The government originally set a goal for EU accession by 2014, as per the "Papandreou plan - Agenda 2014. Presenting his key-note address before the Serbian Parliament in April 2014, the Prime Minister-Designate Aleksandar Vucic said that the negotiations with the European Union continue in good faith that until the end of the mandate of his Government they will be finished. He also said that this process will be a priority and that "if we work hard, I believe that Serbia could become a full member of the European Union by the end of the decade". During the visit of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton to Belgrade he assessed that there is a chance for Serbia to become a full member of the EU by 2023 and reiterated that that is the goal to be reached for the sake of our country and internal reforms, which should be completed by 2021.
The Serbian government has declared that the status of the "Kosovo region should not be tied with the EU negotiations. As of September 2012, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, "Štefan Füle, has denied that the European Union will insist on Serbia's recognition of Kosovo before it can join the organisation.
Deputy Prime Minister "Božidar Đelić signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008. "Vojislav Koštunica, Serbian Prime Minister at the time, said on 1 May that Russian Foreign Minister "Sergei Lavrov was right when he said that the SAA should have been signed. But one day later, on 2 May 2008, he vowed to annul the agreement after the election, calling it “a trick”, “"Solana's agreement” and “the "Tadić-"Đelić SAA signature”. After the "Serbian parliamentary election, 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed and the SAA opposition was left without political power. The new Serbian Prime Minister, "Mirko Cvetković, announced “One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification.” As of January 2009 the Serbian government has started to implement its obligations under the agreement unilaterally. The effects remain to be evaluated by the European Commission.
According to a survey by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, as of November 2009[update], support for accession among Serbians was 71 percent. However, that support has rapidly dropped, falling to around 60% in late 2010 and 58% in December 2014.
An earlier obstacle for Serbia's access to the EU was their cooperation with the "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), however this has been overcome since all the indicted, the last of which were "Ratko Mladić and "Goran Hadžić, have been extradited to the "ICTY. Ratko Mladić was arrested on 26 May 2011 and Goran Hadžić on 20 July 2011.
The "Netherlands was at first a strong opponent of Serbia's signing and ratification of the "SAA. The Dutch government stated that it would not ratify the SAA in until "Ratko Mladić is in "ICTY custody. On 15 September 2008, the Netherlands froze the trade-related part of the SAA with Serbia. However, the Netherlands now actively supports Serbia’s efforts to join the EU and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia was ratified by the Netherlands in 2012. The Netherlands also highlight the importance of "normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina and carrying out reforms vital for EU membership.
During her visit to Serbia the "EU foreign policy chief "Catherine Ashton stated that Serbia "can be example to others in region" and that the country "can show them what can be achieved through hard work and leadership." She also stressed then that Serbia has always been a part of Europe and that Serbia is an important political partner of the EU which is proved by the results that have been achieved in the normalisation of the relations with Priština.
Serbia and the EU were at odds over implementation of the EU's "EULEX mission to "Kosovo. The EU wants to implement its mission in Kosovo according to "Martti Ahtisaari's Kosovo status proposal, but Serbia wants EULEX to be first approved by the UN Security Council in accordance with "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. This has subsequently occurred after the UN Chancellor and Serbian government have reached a 5-point plan, after which the UNSC has approved the EULEX mission, which functioned under the mandate of the UNMIK. On 19 May 2011, during his official visit to Serbia, "José Manuel Barroso, President of the "European Commission, said that recognition of Kosovo is not a pre-condition for Serbian EU accession. "Enver Hoxhaj, "Kosovo's Minister of Foreign Affairs, has suggested that the EU should approve the "accession of Kosovo and Serbia simultaneously due to concerns that if Serbia was admitted first they could veto Kosovo's membership.
Despite having announced that there will be no enlargement during his term, "Jean Claude Juncker, president of the "European Commission took a more flexible approach in recent months, stating that the EU should "maintain credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans". Furthermore, his plans regarding future enlargement of the EU mainly focus on Serbia and Montenegro, as two states that have made the most significant progress regarding their accession processes. Juncker announced formation of "Strategy for the successful accession of Serbia and Montenegro to the European Union" by the end of 2018, with a perspective of accession to the EU in 2025, for both states.
The "European Union has been considering enlargement in the "Balkans since at least the late 1990s. The negotiations became serious after Serbia began the reform process after the fall of the "Milošević government in 2000, back then as part of the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (with Montenegro) when the EU officially declared that the Balkan states are potential candidates for membership, confirmed in 2003. Negotiations on a "Stabilisation and Association Agreement started in November 2005.
On 3 May 2006, the European Union suspended SAA talks with Serbia over its failure to arrest Ratko Mladić, stating that Serbia failed to fulfill its commitment to fully co-operate with "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. This slowed the pace of Serbia's EU entry and the reform process in Serbia. In July 2006, an action plan for the arrest of Ratko Mladić was issued by the government which was expected to improve relations with EU. In May 2007, Serbian parties reached an agreement on a new government, and placed President "Boris Tadić as head of the newly created National Security Council. Within weeks of the Council's establishment, Serbian officials made two key arrests of indicted war criminals. As a result, on 13 June 2007, the European Union decided to reopen negotiations. On 21 July 2008, "Radovan Karadžić was arrested. On 26 May 2011 Mladić was arrested.
On 8 November 2007, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister "Božidar Đelić and the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement "Olli Rehn initialed in Brussels the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Serbia and the European Union. Olli Rehn said that the EU decision to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia was the result of improved cooperation with the ICTY, as reported by the chief prosecutor of this Tribunal, "Carla Del Ponte.
Rehn underlined that full cooperation of Belgrade with the ICTY remains a precondition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which was initialed two years after the launching of the first negotiation round. On 16 January 2008 the "Netherlands and "Belgium confirmed that their countries would not sign the SAA (signatures are needed from all EU member states) until Serbia complied fully with the ICTY. On 14 January 2008 ICTY prosecutor "Serge Brammertz stated that there was no change and Serbia was still not fully cooperating.
Following this agreement, the EU planned to grant candidate status to Serbia as early as 2009, contingent on its full cooperation with the Hague tribunal. The "European Commission (EC) recommended making it an "official candidate on 12 October 2011. On 28 February 2012, the "Council of the European Union issued a candidate status recommendation, and Serbia received a full "candidate status on 1 March. In December 2012, the Council launched the accession process with a view to open negotiations in June 2013, provided that political conditions regarding cooperation with Kosovo were met. "Štefan Füle, "European Commissioner for Enlargement, said that a progress report on the opening of negotiations would be published by the EC in the spring of 2013.
On 19 April 2013, the governments of Kosovo and Serbia completed the "Brussels Agreement, which was hailed as a major step towards normalising relations, enabling the start of EU entry talks with Serbia. On June 28, 2013 the European Council endorsed the Council of Ministers conclusions and recommendations to open accession negotiations with Serbia, and announced that they would commence by January 2014 at the latest. The following day, the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Vincent Degert, stated that the screening of the "acquis had commenced. Screening of the acquis started on 25 September 2013.
In December 2013 the Council of the European Union approved opening negotiations on Serbia's accession in January 2014, and the "European Council endorsed the start of negotiations several days later. The first Intergovernmental Conference was held on 21 January at the European Council in Brussels. Serbia was represented by Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his first deputy Aleksandar Vučić, while the EU was represented by their Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Evangelos Venizelos.
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|"Acquis chapter||EC assessment at start||EC Assessment in 2015||EC Assessment in 2016||Screening started||Screening completed||Chapter opened||Chapter closed|
|1. Free Movement of Goods||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-06-17||2014-09-12||–||–|
|2. Freedom of Movement For Workers||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-01-23||2014-03-25||–||–|
|3. Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-01-30||2014-03-13||–||–|
|4. Free Movement of Capital||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-10-13||2014-12-15||–||–|
|5. Public Procurement||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-03-21||2014-05-13||2016-12-13||–|
|6. Company Law||No major difficulties expected||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-12-11||2015-02-05||December 2017 ||–|
|7. Intellectual Property Law||Further efforts needed||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-09-24||2014-11-13||2017-06-20||–|
|8. Competition Policy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-03-31||2014-11-05||–||–|
|9. Financial Services||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2015-01-21||2015-03-17||December 2017||–|
|10. Information Society & Media||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-05-22||2014-07-02||–|
|11. Agriculture & Rural Development||Considerable efforts needed||Early stage||Some level of preparation||2014-03-18||2014-09-16||–||–|
|12. Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-02-03||2014-10-24||–||–|
|13. Fisheries||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-09-30||2014-11-14||December 2017||–|
|14. Transport Policy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Good level of preparation||2014-12-16||2015-02-27||–||–|
|15. Energy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-04-29||2014-06-12||–||–|
|16. Taxation||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-10-14||2015-03-06||–||–|
|17. Economic & Monetary Policy||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-12-02||2015-03-12||–||–|
|18. Statistics||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-05-20||2014-11-26||–||–|
|19. Social Policy & Employment||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-02-10||2014-06-26||–||–|
|20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-04-03||2014-07-02||2017-02-27||–|
|21. Trans-European Networks||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-04-29||2015-02-27||–||–|
|22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-10-01||2015-01-29||–||–|
|23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights||Considerable efforts needed||Some level of preparation||Some level of preparation||2013-09-25||2013-12-10||2016-07-18||–|
|24. Justice, Freedom & Security||Considerable efforts needed||Some level of preparation||Some level of preparation||2013-10-02||2013-12-13||2016-07-18||–|
|25. Science & Research||No major difficulties expected||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-10-06||2014-12-01||2016-12-13||2016-12-13|
|26. Education & Culture||No major difficulties expected||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-02-20||2014-04-04||2017-02-27||2017-02-27|
|27. Environment||Totally incompatible with acquis||Early stage||Some level of preparation||2014-09-15||2014-11-21||–||–|
|28. Consumer & Health Protection||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-12-04||2015-02-04||–||–|
|29. Customs Union||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Good level of preparation||2014-03-26||2014-06-04||2017-06-20||–|
|30. External Relations||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-07-02||2014-10-09||December 2017||–|
|31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-07-15||2014-10-10||–||–|
|32. Financial Control||Considerable efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2013-10-17||2013-11-26||2015-12-14||–|
|33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions||No major difficulties expected||Early stage||Early stage||2015-01-27||2015-03-24||December 2017 ||–|
|34. Institutions||Nothing to adopt||Nothing to adopt||Nothing to adopt||–||–||–||–|
|35. Other Issues: Relations with Kosovo*||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Limited Progress||2014-01-22||2015-03-25||2015-12-14||–|
|Progress||34 out of 34||34 out of 34||10 out of 34||2 out of 34|
Kosovo's provisional government "unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. This was followed by most EU countries "recognising Kosovo as an independent country. These events heavily influenced the Serbian political landscape. The central topic on which the coalition partners diverged was Serbia's EU accession.
On 7 November 2007, Serbia initialed a "Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, agreeing on the final version of the text to which no or little changes are to be made. This was the step immediately preceding the official signing that was expected to take place in 2008 and was a milestone in Serbia's accession negotiations. It was executed following the advice of chief war crimes prosecutor "Carla Del Ponte, who advised the EU that the country was complying adequately with the tribunal but "Ratko Mladić must be in "The Hague prior to any official signing being able to take place. Mladić was subsequently arrested on 26 May 2011, and has since been extradited to the "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to stand trial. On 20 July, "Goran Hadžić became the last indicted fugitive to be arrested.
On 4 April 2008, Serbian Prime Minister "Vojislav Koštunica, supported by "Velimir Ilić, Minister of Infrastructure, stated that EU membership was no longer on the agenda for Serbia. Koštunica said that before EU accession continuation Serbia and the EU must discuss the matter of borders and Serbia's territorial integrity. He said that Serbia must by no means sign the "Stabilisation and Association Agreement and referred to the agreement as “"Solana's agreement”.
At the same time President "Boris Tadić said that the "Vienna Convention allows him to sign the agreement and that he will sign it if it is offered. "Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister, had previously been authorised by the Government to sign the agreement and was still willing to do so, which he did on 29 April 2008. The ceremony in "Luxembourg was attended by President "Boris Tadić and Foreign Minister "Vuk Jeremić.
On 1 May Koštunica said that Russian Foreign Minister "Sergei Lavrov was right when he said that the SAA should have been signed but one day later on 2 May 2008 he vowed to annul the agreement after the election, calling it “a trick”, “"Solana's agreement” and “the "Tadić-"Đelić SAA signature”.
After the "Serbian parliamentary election of 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed, and the SAA opposition was left without political power. The new Serbian Prime Minister, "Mirko Cvetković, announced "One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification" and on 9 September 2008 the Parliament of Serbia ratified the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. The European Commission (EC) subsequently welcomed the ratification of the agreement.
On 15 September 2008, the Netherlands froze the trade related part of a pre-accession deal (SAA) with Serbia.
After setbacks in the political field, on 7 December 2009 the EU unfroze the trade agreement with Serbia and the Schengen countries dropped the visa requirement for Serbian citizens on 19 December 2009.
By August 2012, all EU member states except "Lithuania had ratified Serbia's SAA agreement. "Danas has reported that the delay was in part due to the "election of "Vuk Jeremić, former "Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, as "President of the United Nations General Assembly in June 2012 ahead of "Dalius Čekuolis, Lithuania's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The cancellation of a deal by a Lithuanian company to privatise the Serbian brewery Beogradska Industrija Piva has also been suggested as a major impediment to agreement's ratification.
In March 2013, Serbia's Assistant Foreign Minister Ljubica Vasić reported that the Lithuanian parliament planned to debate the ratification of Serbia's SAA in their spring session. "Linas Linkevičius, Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, acknowledged the tense relations between the two countries, but said that ratification of the SAA was “underway” and that “Our government has already given its consent. It is parliament's turn now. I have spoken personally with leaders in parliament and they are planning on putting the issue on the agenda in accordance with the rules of procedure. They are not planning on artificially stopping the process.” Following a meeting with Lithuania's Prime Minister "Algirdas Butkevičius in April 2013, Dačić stated that he expected the agreement to be ratified as soon as possible, and that the issues which had prevented ratification should be put behind the two countries. The Lithuanian "Seimas subsequently ratified the SAA on 18 June 2013, and the agreement entered into force on 1 September 2013.
|Event||"Macedonia ||"Croatia ||"Albania ||"Montenegro [Note 1]||"Bosnia and
|Serbia [Note 2]||"Kosovo* [Note 3]|
|SAA negotiations start||2000-04-05||2000-11-24||2003-01-31||2005-10-10||2005-11-25||2005-10-10||2013-10-28|
|EC ratification||2001-04-27||2002-01-30||2006-06-12||2007-10-15||2008-06-16||2009-12-08||N/A [Note 4]|
|SAP state ratification||2001-04-27||2002-01-30||2006-10-09||2007-11-14||2008-06-20||2008-09-22||N/A [Note 4]|
|entry into force||2001-06-01||2002-03-01||2006-12-01||2008-01-01||2008-07-01||2010-02-01||N/A [Note 4]|
|Deposit of the instrument of ratification:|
|"Bulgaria||entered the EU later||2008-05-30||2009-03-13||2010-08-12||N/A|
|"Croatia||entered the EU later||N/A|
|"Cyprus||entered the EU later||2008-05-30||2008-11-20||2009-07-02||2010-11-26||N/A|
|"Czech Republic||entered the EU later||2008-05-07||2009-02-19||2009-07-23||2011-01-28||N/A|
|"Estonia||entered the EU later||2007-10-17||2007-11-22||2008-09-11||2010-08-19||N/A|
|"Hungary||entered the EU later||2007-04-23||2008-05-14||2008-10-22||2010-11-16||N/A|
|"Latvia||entered the EU later||2006-12-19||2008-10-17||2009-11-12||2011-05-30||N/A|
|"Lithuania||entered the EU later||2007-05-17||2009-03-04||2009-05-04||2013-06-26||N/A|
|"Malta||entered the EU later||2008-04-21||2008-12-11||2010-01-07||2010-07-06||N/A|
|"Poland||entered the EU later||2007-04-14||2009-02-06||2010-04-07||2012-01-13||N/A|
|"Romania||entered the EU later||2009-01-15||2010-01-08||2012-05-22||N/A|
|"Slovakia||entered the EU later||2007-07-20||2008-07-29||2009-03-17||2010-11-11||N/A|
|"Slovenia||entered the EU later||2007-01-18||2008-02-07||2009-03-10||2010-12-07||N/A|
|"European Communities or
"European Union and "Euratom
|2004-02-25||2004-12-21||2009-02-26||2010-03-29||2015-04-30||2013-07-22||2016-02-24 [Note 5]|
|SAA entry into force||2004-04-01||2005-02-01||2009-04-01||2010-05-01||2015-06-01||2013-09-01||2016-04-01|
|EU membership (SAA lapsed)||(?)||2013-07-01||(?)||(?)||(?)||(?)||(?)|
(brackets): earliest possible date
N/A: Not applicable.
On 1 January 2008 the visa facilitation and readmission agreements between Serbia and the EU entered into force. Serbia received a road map from the EU for visa liberalisation on 7 May 2008 and was added to the list of visa exempt nationals on 19 December 2009, allowing their citizens to enter the "Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania without a visa when traveling with biometric passports.
The results of opinion polling vary drastically depending on the question asked. An August 2017 poll recorded that 51.2% were in favour of joing the EU, 36.3% were against and 12.5% undecided. However, the same poll also asked: "if recognising the independence of Kosovo were a condition of joing the EU, do you think that condition should be accepted?", to which 12.1% answered yes, 70.6% no and 17.3% were undecided.
|September 2002||Join EU?||68%||13%||19%|
|December 2003||Join EU?||72%||8%||20%|
|September 2004||Join EU?||71%||12%||17%|
|September 2005||Join EU?||64%||12%||24%|
|September 2006||Join EU?||70%||12%||18%|
|June 2007||Join EU?||69%||15%||15%|
|June 2008||Join EU?||67%||12%||21%|
|October 2008||Join EU?||65%||%||%|
|December 2008||Join EU?||61%||13%||26%|
|May 2009||Join EU?||61%||17%||22%|
|December 2009||Join EU?||65%||14%||21%|
|June 2010||Join EU?||65%||15%||20%|
|December 2010||Join EU?||57%||18%||25%|
|May 2011||Join EU?||55%||27%||18%|
|June 2011||Join EU?||53%||24%||23%|
|September 2011||Join EU?||46%||37%||17%|
|December 2011||Join EU?||51%||28%||21%|
|December 2012||Join EU?||41%||31%||27%|
|July 2013||Join EU?||50%||24%||26%|
|December 2013||Join EU?||51%||22%||27%|
|June 2014||Join EU?||46%||19%||35%|
|December 2014||Join EU?||44%||25%||31%|
|June 2015||Join EU?||49%||28%||23%|
|December 2015||Join EU?||48%||28%||24%|
|June 2016||Join EU?||41%||24%||35%|
|December 2016||Join EU?||47%||29%||24%|
|June 2017||Join EU?||49%||27%||24%|
|2006||Gallup Balkan Monitor||Join EU?||61%||%||%|
|October 2008||Strategic Marketing||Join EU?||61%||%||%|
|November 2010||Gallup Balkan Monitor||Join EU?||63%||%||%|
|March 2012||"B92/Ipsos Strategic Marketing||Join EU?||49%||34%||5%|
|July 2013||Ipsos Strategic Marketing||Join EU?||53%||%||%|
|December 2014||EU Delegation to Serbia||Join EU?||57%||28%||15%|
|December 2014||Eurobarometer||Join EU?||58%||26%||16%|
|August 2017||NSPM||Join EU?||51.2%||36.3%||12.5%|
|Member countries||Population||Area (km²)||GDP
per capita (US$)
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