Monday, 12 May 2008

Pro-Europeans win in Serbia

Brussels must be elated today after the Serbian general election yesterday yielded a victory for President Boris Tadic's moderate pro-European party. Though many had feared that Kosovo's recent declaration of independence would give the upper hand to the nationalist party - who would have stopped EU accession talks and instead allied Serbia with Russia - the moderate party won a handy mandate-giving majority.

There will be wide speculation as to whether the victory is a result of the 'carrot and stick' approach adopted by Brussels over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago a deal between the European Union and Serbia to fast-track its membership in the union was reached. The pre-membership pact with Belgrade that would enhance trade and cooperation and speed the process by which Serbia could eventually join the union. Though there was hesitation by some EU nations to come to such an agreement because of a lack of cooperation by Belgrade in handing over war criminals to the international court trying people for crimes committed during the Yugoslav civil wars, they eventually relented in order to show Serbian voters that there would be a reward for putting the moderate party in power.

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