Standing firm for justice

The Netherlands deserves to be praised for its determination within the EU over Serbia (see news story).

By standing firm and refusing to bow to pressure from the big boys and girls, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen is doing his bit to make sure the issue of Serbian war crimes and the reluctance of Belgrade to cooperate with the UN tribunal remains in the public eye.
It is easy for the rest of the EU to forget the importance of seeing people like of Ratko Mladic appear before the tribunal in The Hague. He is said to be one of those responsible for the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 in which 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed despite the presence of Dutch troops.
This event, and the widespread criticism of the way the Dutch behaved, has left a deep scar in the Netherlands. And the mothers of those who died are still demanding justice.
So it’s only right that the Netherlands makes an issue over Serbian membership of the EU. An old chapter has to be closed before a new one can be opened.
Now let us hope that the Dutch-Belgian compromise proves to be more than just an idle promise. The people of Serbia have been given a positive message – that they are welcome in the European Union.
Verhagen will be awaiting the results of the Serbian elections on May 11 with interest.

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