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S-M with slim chance to sign SAA with EU this year, probably at end-2004

The chances of Serbia and Montenegro to sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU this year were estimated as very slim by Jan Vilem Blankert, an official with the European Commission’s mission in Belgrade.

He said that under the best scenario, Serbia and Montenegro could hope on signing a SAA with the EU at the end of 2004, even though this depended on a number of criteria that would have to be met within that period. Blankert did not exclude the possibility that the agreement might be signed even in the middle of 2005, if the European Commission is not satisfied with the performance so far.

He outlined the judiciary and existing legislation as some of the greatest problems that the authorities in Belgrade currently faced. Nevertheless, Blankert underlined that Serbia and Montenegro should not feel disappointed, if the signing of a SAA is delayed, as its most important progress was that it already embarked on the road of reforms.

(IntelliNews 07.vii.03)

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