EU looks to reward Serbia on Kosovo with membership opinion

EU looks to reward Serbia on Kosovo with membership opinion

The European Union is to reward Serbia for its climbdown over Kosovo by trying to move its EU membership application forward in October, Belgium's foreign minister said Monday, dpa reported.

Last week, Serbia scrapped a hardline resolution in the United Nations calling for Kosovo's secession to be condemned, and issued instead a softer version supported by the EU. EU foreign ministers meeting on Monday in Brussels said that that should be recognised.

"Member states expressed the wish not to have this effort left unrewarded ... I will put the question of sending (Serbia's membership application) to the European Commission on the agenda for October," said Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere.

Belgium currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, and Vanackere is set to chair a meeting of ministers for EU affairs on October 25.

Under EU procedure, countries which apply for membership, as Serbia did in December, first have to undergo a rigorous test by the commission, the EU's executive, to see how much their laws will have to be changed in order to meet EU rules.

Only once that is done can they be considered candidates.

So far, Germany and the Netherlands have led moves to block the forwarding of the Serbian application to the commission. But Germany reversed its position after the UN resolution.

The Netherlands is currently run by a caretaker government, as the parties which won elections in June struggle to form a new one. Analysts question whether the country is willing to drop its veto.

But Vanackere struck a positive note, saying, "We will be speaking with all colleagues to come to an agreement, because if I put it on the agenda, it's with the objective of coming to a clear decision."

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