EU set to offer membership to Serbia

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The Independent Online

The European Commission is preparing to recommend that Serbia become an EU membership candidate, a reward for Belgrade's reforms, and to set out conditions for starting entry negotiations, EU diplomats said yesterday.

Growing tensions with Kosovo and an outburst of violence in its border regions have threatened Serbia's ambitions to win an offer of candidate status in recent weeks.

Several member states, including EU powerbroker Germany, had pushed for a clear improvement in relations between Belgrade and its former breakaway province before rewarding Serbia with an important step forward on its EU path.

But the Commission wants to acknowledge democratic reforms introduced in Serbia and reward it for bringing the remaining war crime fugitives to justice this year, diplomats said.