Croatia blocks EU-Serbia negotiations

Croatia blocks EU-Serbia negotiations

Belgrade, April 6, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Milos Mitrovic

The debate in the European Union Council on the opening of Chapter 23 in Serbia-EU accession talks was canceled on Tuesday’s meeting after Croatia failed to submit its official position, Croatian daily Vecernji list revealed today in its website. The daily learned this from an unnamed official in Brussels. At the same time, Croatian diplomatic source said that the debate was canceled due to Croatia’s objection.

Miro Kovac, Croatian Foreign Minister (photo), repeatedly said earlier that Zagreb would block Serbia’s accession negotiations unless three preconditions are fulfilled by Belgrade: “respect of minority rights” (according to Vecernji list), full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and giving up from jurisdiction in war crimes processing for the territory of the whole former Yugoslavia. But the European source said that the Dutch EU Presidency wants 23 and 24 Chapters in Serbia-EU accession talks to be opened; the EU Presidency was “unsatisfied” over the Croatian position, the source underlined.

The European Commission, which suggested Chapters 23 and 24 should open, needs unanimous approval by the EU council, the EC spokesperson said.

“We are ready for resolving the problems through dialogue, but we are not ready for any blackmails from Croatia, especially taking into account that Croatia is far from being in a position to lecture Serbia on minority rights… In general, Croatia’s threats are senseless and I am certain it would not gain the support of any EU member state”, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Monday.