Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen has enough information to show that Serbia is not cooperating with the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague and is taking a tough stand on the country’s application to join the European Union, reports Friday’s nrc.next newspaper.
Serbia must first extradite suspected war criminals before it can be considered for EU membership, the minister says in an interview.
His comments coincide with a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Slovenia today and tomorrow. Slovenia had initially hoped to propose giving Serbia the status of an upcoming EU member as a ‘present’ to soften Serbia’s fury over the fact that most EU countries have recognised the breakaway state Kosovo, the paper says.
In January the Netherlands also refused to sign an EU trade pact with Serbia, saying it wanted more cooperation over war crimes.
In particular, the Netherlands wants Serbia to hand over former Serb military leader Ratko Mladic. ‘I have sufficient information to be able to say that no-one is taking too much trouble to arrest him,’ Verhagen told the paper.
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