The EU gives Serbia a positive signal ahead of elections
The European Union signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia on 29 April. “The solution paves the way for Serbia towards membership of the EU and the European family to which the country belongs. In addition, the EU showed that it can take decisions in tight places,” Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said with satisfaction following the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting held in Luxembourg.
The agreement creates a solid base for cooperation between the EU and Serbia. Finland was represented at the meeting by Alexander Stubb, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Astrid Thors, Minister of Migration and European Affairs.
Foreign Minister Stubb was highly satisfied with the result achieved.
“The solution paves the way for Serbia towards membership of the EU and the European family to which the country belongs. In addition, the EU showed that it can take decisions in tight places,” Stubb said in Luxembourg.
President Boris Tadic signed the SAA for Serbia. For the EU, the agreement was signed by all the Member States. Through the agreement, the EU gives Serbia a positive signal of rapprochement to the European Union. Serbia has been given the promise of EU membership once the country fulfils the membership terms.
The EU supports Serbian leanings to Europe in many ways. In particular there is the wish to strengthen contacts between the EU and Serbia and to ease citizens’ mobility by means of agreement on visa facilitation. Parliamentary and municipal elections will be held in Serbia on 11 May.
Cautious optimism with regard to Russia
The Foreign Ministers also held a long discussion as to whether the EU can begin negotiations on a new agreement with Russia. An EU negotiating mandate has not been approved yet, but Stubb is confident that progress will take place.
“We are ever closer to agreeing that negotiations with Russia can be started. I am cautiously optimistic that negotiations will launch a new phase in relations between the EU and Russia at the end of June,” Stubb stated.
The EU–Russia Summit will be held in Khanty-Mansiisk, Russia in late June.
Additional information: Pilvi-Sisko Vierros, Director General of the Political Department, mobile tel. +358 40 721 1705