Languages
Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 10:10 UK

Dutch block EU-Serbia trade deal

Serbian President Boris Tadic, with EU flag
Serbia's president has a strongly pro-EU agenda

The Netherlands has blocked a move to unfreeze EU trade ties with Serbia, saying Belgrade's co-operation over war crimes suspects is not yet adequate.

"The outcome will only change when I conclude there is full co-operation," said Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen on Monday.

The blow to Serbia came despite its arrest of former Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic in July.

France said a "very big majority" of EU states favoured unfreezing trade ties.

The Netherlands is demanding that Serbia co-operate fully with the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague by capturing two remaining fugitives - former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he expected all 27 EU members to agree to unblock the interim, pre-membership accord with Serbia at the foreign ministers' meeting next month.

Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister, Bozidar Djelic, condemned the Dutch position as "deeply unfair".

"It is extremely disappointing that one country, and as we have heard one man, now would have to decide on the future steps of the European integration of Serbia," Reuters news agency quoted Mr Djelic as saying.

Serbia and the EU signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in April.

Mr Verhagen said UN war crimes prosecutor Serge Brammertz had briefed the EU foreign ministers on "progress" made by Serbia in its co-operation with the tribunal in The Hague.

But the case of Ratko Mladic is especially sensitive for the Netherlands, as Dutch UN peacekeepers were overpowered by his Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995. He is charged with genocide over the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys from Srebrenica.




SEE ALSO
Hague hopeful on Mladic capture
11 Sep 08 |  Europe
Serbian MPs endorse key EU deal
09 Sep 08 |  Europe
EU enlargement: The next seven
04 Aug 08 |  Europe
EU offers closer ties to Serbia
04 Feb 08 |  Europe
Country profile: Serbia
30 Jul 08 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific