January 5, 2009
The first real Central European presidency, leaving aside tiny Slovenia’s debut, will be a good opportunity to turn the attention of the Union to the Eastern borders. The Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg started off with floating the idea to detach the issue of Serbian membership from the case of war criminal suspect General Mladic.
The EU position long has been that Serbia must allege to its guilts in the Yugoslav wars and cannot have an established relationship with the EU unless it takes the most wanted war criminal suspects to the Hague for trial. This is actually not how the EU started: in the 1950s everybody turned their faces from the Nazi crimes to let Germany rebuild a peaceful and co-operative country. Mr. Schwarzenberg’s idea, floated in Cicero, a German political monthly paper interview and widely qouted in Central Europe and Serbia, speaks in this manner.
Schwarzenberg noted that “only one Serb, General Ratko Mladic, is still wanted”.
“Just think how many murderers in my country and in your country went unpunished after World War Two. Therefore, we are not competent to say that Serbia must not be integrated over one sole murderer,” he told the German political monthly Cicero at the start of Czech EU presidency.
Mr. Schwarzenberg than adds that the possible breakout of a new conflict in the Balkans and energy dependence on Russia are threat to Europe that we must avert. I have been arguing in this blog from time to time that Serbia’s integration is the key to solving the problems of the Balkans and to put the EU in such a solid environment that it can direct its attention to more global issues.
Despite my fears that Mr. Klaus will ruin the first Central European presidency, I find this a very promising start. The priorities of the Central European countries were greatly overlooked in the past two years and I think it has already threatened the unity of the EU. Despite the ugly logo, I think this is a good kick-off.Author : Dániel Antal