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Serbia and the EU

- June 6, 2011

I have an “op-ed today”:http://www.tnr.com/article/world/89437/ratko-mladic-serbia-european-union-croatia-euro at “The New Republic”:http://www.tnr.com/ in which I make a case for the importance of the European Union remaining committed to granting Serbia EU membership now that “Ratko Mladic has been arrested”:http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2074595,00.html. Here are the first two paragraphs:

In the aftermath of the arrest of Ratko Mladic, all eyes are now on Serbia’s application for European Union membership (see, for example here, here, and here). After all, the arrest of Mladic, whom Time described as “Europe’s most wanted war-crimes suspect”, was supposed to be the major remaining obstacle to Serbia joining the EU. Even Catherine Ashton, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, who was on her way to Belgrade to meet with Serbian President Boris Tadic when the news of Mladic’s arrest broke, wrote that there was an important “link between Tadic’s wish to take Serbia into the European Union and his insistence on removing the stain of how Serbia’s rulers behaved in the 90s.” With Mladic behind bars, Serbia, it seems, is ready to follow Croatia into the EU.

Or does it? After all, this is hardly a shining moment for the EU. For starters, the body currently faces a serious challenge to the successful implementation of its most ambitious policy: the single currency project embodied in the euro. Ireland, Portugal, and Greece have all required financial bailouts, and rumors persist that Greece may still default on its debts and possible even leave the euro-zone. More generally, it it has been claimed that expansion fatigue has set in, and, in particular, that there are lingering concerns that Bulgaria and Romania were admitted to the EU too early. Furthermore Serbian membership will force the EU to confront the thorny issue of Kosovo, which has declared independence from Serbia and been recognized by many foreign countries, but not the government in Belgrade.

“Click here to read the rest of the piece.”:http://www.tnr.com/article/world/89437/ratko-mladic-serbia-european-union-croatia-euro