European Union leaders have granted Serbia “candidate status”, at a summit in Brussels. Belgrade has made a series of democratic reforms and captured war crimes suspects to satisfy EU demands. It applied for EU membership in 2009.The summit came two days after foreign ministers from the 27-member bloc recommended accepting Serbia.The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, described the move as a “remarkable achievement”.He said it was the result of improved dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, which Belgrade still regards as a breakaway territory.Candidate status is a recognition that a country is ready to begin formal negotiations on EU membership. If Serbia’s neighbour Croatia joins as planned in mid-2013 that process will have taken nearly a decade.Candidate countries have to bring their laws into line with EU standards. Their institutions have to demonstrate respect for democracy and human rights and they have to have open market economies that can withstand competition.Croatia is now an acceding country, in EU jargon. The other candidate countries are: Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey.Serbia recently made a series of concessions on Kosovo, which has been a major stumbling block.European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Serbia’s candidacy “shows that the EU remains very… Read full this story
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