Serbian deals with EU, Russia await election outcome
Friday approved a pre- membership agreement with the European Union and an
energy deal with Russia, two days before voters choose between nationalist and
pro- European parties in parliamentary elections.
Both agreements require approval by parliament, where finding a governing majority after Sunday's voting could take weeks.
The EU's Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), signed last month by Serbia's divided caretaker government, is rejected by outgoing Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and other nationalists.
Kostunica's party said he and his ministers walked out before the cabinet vote, so the SAA was adopted without opposition.
"The SAA is against constitution and Serbia's state and national interest," Kostunica's Serbian Democratic Party said in a statement after the session.
The Russian energy deal, signed in January, includes Serbia in the South Stream gas pipeline and gives Russia's Gazprom a stake in Serb oil firm NIS. If adopted, it could eventually leave much of Serbia's energy sector in Russian hands.
Kostunica and other nationalists have vowed to block the EU deal, saying it gives back-door recognition to Kosovo's February declaration of independence from Serbia.
Kosovo has been recognized as a new nation by more than 40 countries, including major Western powers. Serbia and its ally Russia refuse to recognize its independence.
Polls show the gap between anti-European and pro-European parties has narrowed since the SAA was signed. But the nationalist bloc led by Kostunica and leader of main opposition Radical party, Tomislav Nikolic, could win the most seats in the parliament, dpa reported.