We in social networks


Events Calendar


Hague’s Show

30.01.2008 14:35

Dmitry Babich

The profile of the Netherlands at the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers was high. The Hague representatives demanded from Serbia in the form of ultimatum to find and surrender Ex-President of Serb Republic Radovan Karadjich and former Commander of the Serb Republic Army Ratko Mladich to the international court as soon as possible.

“We will put our signature under the Agreement on Cooperation and Membership of Belgrade in the European Union only in exchange for this step”, Dutch Deputy Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans claimed. Moreover, according to the diplomat, the Serbian party should submit all necessary investigatory documents with respect to other suspects who are prosecuted in their Motherland. As a matter of fact, the Hague completely obeyed the recommendations of Karla del Ponte who urged to impose the most rigid economic and political sanctions on Serbia when she was Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Pursuant to the EU Charter no document on cooperation is deemed ratified unless and until it is signed by all EU member-states. Absence of at least one signature suspends this document. On January 28, the EU foreign ministers at the Brussels meeting came to the Solomon’s decision – the Agreement with Serbia will be signed partially. That is, Belgrade will enjoy easier visa regime with respect to the EU countries and export-import preferences. Meanwhile, a team of experts will be sent to the region to determine the state of Serbian readiness for integration into the Western structures. Nothing more. A decision on the full-pledged membership in the so-called “European family” is still pending.

It is interesting that even partial signing of the aforesaid Agreement was postponed from February 3 to February 7. For the leaders of the European Union wanted to know the results of the presidential election in Serbia. “It looks like the West provides a kind of guarantee for itself”, Manol Raditsa, a cooperation project coordinator at the Public Fund (Belgrade), said and added: “Europe should be sure that the Serbian head of state will pursue the policy towards the EU only”. It is true that the victory Tomislav Nickolish, a leader of the Serbian Radical Party, supported by Serbian patriots is extremely undesirable. In his speeches Nickolich repeatedly stressed that he will not continue the pro-Western policy but re-orient it to Russia if he wins.

Nevertheless, the Hague made a major political mistake. Having voted for postponement of the ratification, Timmermans prevented Europe from demonstration to Serbs its support to actual President of Serbia Boris Tadich. Lifting the sanctions and easing the visa regime would be surely in favor of Tadich meanwhile the pro-Western candidate would try not to disappoint expectations of his Western partners. It was in vain when Oil Renn, European Commissioner of Expansion Issues, a man who knows the Balkan situation well enough, tried to describe to the Hague party rosy prospects of Belgrade early membership in the EU. Something like, Serbia “is practically ready to comply with all regulations of the European home”.

It was in vain when Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Security Policy, asked Timmermans to pay attention to the fact that as an aspirant to the EU Belgrade will be more active in finding Karadjich and Mladich. And at last, it was in vain when Slovenian Foreign Minister Dmitry Rupel expressly intimated that without support to Serbia by the Unified Europe the situation in the Balkans will never stabilize. The profile of the Hague remained high. “Thus, the Netherlands performed a show of fidelity to principles in Brussels”, Manol Raditsa said and added “But actually the result of such fidelity is hardly predictable…”