Deutsche Welle: Status quo on Croatia's blockade of Serbia's EU negotiations

The European Commission could slightly modify its criteria for Serbia due to Croatia's blockade of opening Chapter 23 in its European Union negotiations, and diplomatic sources claim that the greatest problem is in Zagreb, Deutsche Welle (DW) wrote on Friday, noting that there was a great deal of dissatisfaction in Germany because Croatia was obstructing Serbia's negotiations with the EU.

Despite diplomatic activities with regard to Croatia's blockade of Serbia's negotiations with the European union, the status quo continues on that front, DW says, quoting "senior diplomatic sources", including an internal German Foreign Ministry document, which says that current EU president the Netherlands wishes to open negotiation chapters 23 and 24 by the end of June and that Germany clearly supports that stance.

The conditions for opening Chapter 23, in our opinion, have been met with relevant action plans. As such we advocate support for the relevant European Commission report, says the document which DW released on its website.

Recalling that Croatia has three conditions for Serbia: to limit its jurisdiction for war crimes on its territory and citizens, to comply with all conditions set by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague and to define a mechanism which would guarantee seats in parliament for representatives of the Croat minority, DW says that Germany has understanding for just one condition and that is cooperation with the ICTY.

Serbia has not acted on any arrest warrants since 2015, DW notes, adding that this indirectly relates to a recent extradition request for Vojislav Seselj and his legal counsel for contempt of court.

Croatia's other conditions are not within the remit of the Commission and are not covered by European law, DW quoted the document as saying, adding that sources described Croatia's two other conditions to be of a political and not of a legal nature.

The document further notes that meetings between Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac and his German and Dutch counterparts have not changed Zagreb's attitude.

It is yet to be seen how Croatia can be convinced to ease up on its blockade, one source was quoted as saying, while another added that Serbia has not been asked to change its position as all 28 member states and the European Commission itself have to come up with a joint stance. The diplomatic source did not disclose what possible measures could be requested of Belgrade to meet Croatia's demands.

We believe that the ball is in Croatia's court.  We hope that Croatia will send signals that it is prepared to changes its stance, spokesman for the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Dirk-Jan Vermeij told DW.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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