Serbia: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Serbia faces an important crossroads in its development. It is seeking to integrate into the European Union EU, but its progress has been hindered by a failure to arrest remaining indicted war criminals and by tensions with the United States and many EU countries over the independence of Serbias Kosovo province. Parliamentary elections were held in Serbia on May 11, 2008. On July 7, the Serbian parliament approved a new government coalition led by pro-Western forces, but which also includes the Socialist Party once led by indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. The global economic crisis poses serious challenges for Serbia. The downturn has required painful budget cuts. In January 2009, the International Monetary Fund approved a 530 million stand-by loan for Serbia and another 4.2 billion loan in April. Serbia has also received loans from the World Bank and EU. Serbias key foreign policy objectives are to secure membership in the European Union and to hinder international recognition of Kosovos independence. The European Union signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement SAA with Serbia on April 29, 2008. It provides a framework for enhanced cooperation between the EU and Serbia in a variety of fields, with the perspective of EU membership. In December 2009, the EU agreed to allow the trade provisions of the SAA to be implemented, although ratification of the accord and the implementation of the remaining provisions awaits an EU determination that Serbia is fully cooperative with the former Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal. In late December 2009, Serbia submitted an application to join the EU. It hopes to join the organization as early as 2014, although many observers are skeptical about the likelihood of such a rapid accession.
- Government and Political Science