EU Enlargement

author: Thomas Gnocchi, Delegation of the European Commission to the Republic of Serbia
published: Jan. 6, 2010,   recorded: July 2009,   views: 3005

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In October 2000 Serbia took a decisive step to end its political and economic isolation and embark on the road of European Integration, taken by the whole of Central and Eastern Europe and its neighbours in the Western Balkans.

In the last seven years Serbia went through the European integration process with varying speed. Starting from 2001, Serbia put a lot of effort to join its neighbours in implementing reforms ranging from economy and judiciary to military and media. But, after the enthusiastic opening of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations on the fifth anniversary of the democratic changes in Belgrade in late 2005, the talks were virtually suspended in May 2006, following the assessment that Serbia's co-operation with the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague was not sufficient. In 2007, the newly created pro -reform oriented government took credible measures to envigour co-operation with The Tribunal which allowed the European Commission to re-open the SAA negotiations.

With the opening of the negotiations for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement the main task of the European Commission’s Delegation has taken on a new dimension. The Delegation’s traditional function is to facilitate the development of political and economic relations between the European Union and Serbia in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP). The SAP encompasses, the EU policy designed to help Serbia and the Western Balkan countries integrate into the European mainstream, with the prospect of becoming a member of the European Union. This European perspective has continuously been reconfirmed by the EU.

The priority of the Delegation continues to be to assist further progress and reforms that are needed to pave the way for the successful conclusion of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement that will give new momentum to the accession process. The European Commission and its Delegation in Belgrade are working every day to accompany and support this development and the necessary reforms, as identified in the European Partnership, through the European Community’s Assistance instruments. Following the introduction of the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in 2007, the Delegation has been put in charge of managing financial assistance programmes which are supporting Serbian reforms, a task since 2000 implemented by the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) with the CARDS funds.

Informing the local authorities, institutions, media and citizens about the integration process and about EU institutions and policies is another key task of the Delegation. The Delegation’s web site is part of the EU's information policy towards the citizens of this country and those elsewhere interested on it. It aims to give concrete information about the EU’s actions here and the policy towards the country.

The Delegation in Belgrade was established in the then Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1982, following the signing of co-operation Agreements between the SFRY and the then European Economic Community (EEC).

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