Tadic victory boost for Kosovo independence

Boris Tadic's re-election as president of Serbia was wholeheartedly welcomed by European leaders yesterday, as they looked forward to the prospect of the Balkan country moving along a smoother path to EU membership as the breakaway province of Kosovo prepares to declare its independence.

While opposing Kosovan independence, Mr Tadic does not want bitterness about losing the province to get in the way of boosting Serbian prosperity from within the EU fold. The man he defeated by a mere 100,000 votes, the ultranationalist Tomislav Nikolic, was in favour of turning to Russia and away from the EU in protest at its planned recognition of Kosovo.

"We will continue working with Serbia and we'd like Serbia to get as close as possible as rapidly as possible toward the European road," said Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, after Mr Tadic's victory.

The EU and Serbia are due to sign a deal on Thursday concerning closer trade relations and more relaxed visa rules, a prelude to cementing its membership bid. The full Stabilisation and Association Agreement is being held up by demands from some European countries that Serbia hands over war criminals who are still at large. The Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic are wanted by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague for the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.

Analysts in Kosovo agree that Mr Tadic's re-election is good news, because of the much-needed stability in the region ahead of the expected proclamation of independence. The province has been run by the United Nations and patrolled by Nato since 1999 in response to ethnic cleansing.

"It's good news that the Serb people have shown they want to move toward the future, not turn back to the past," said Kosovo's Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci . The date for Kosovo's proclamation of independence will be set this week, he added. And the parliamentary speaker suggested it would be all wrapped up by the end of February. "We are ready and in co-ordination with our Western allies, the US and the EU, we will declare independence this month," said Jakup Krasniqi.

Yesterday the EU formally agreed to send a joint action force of 1,800 police and justice officials to Kosovo, without setting a date for deployment. Although parts of the EU force are in place in Pristina, full deployment will take several weeks.

Serbian newspapers devoted headlines to the pro-European tack on which Mr Tadic's re-election will set the country. The daily Danas said that "Serbia elected Europe," while others declared his win the "Victory of the European Serbia".

But political observers said the President could not sit back and enjoy a honeymoon because of deep rifts with the conservative Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Serbia's government is an uneasy coalition of Mr Tadic's Democrats and Mr Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia. Mr Kostunica opposes signing any treaty with the EU if it backs Kosovo's independence.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, say DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin