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Serbia to enact EU trade deal

Financial Times

Serbia to enact EU trade deal

By Neil Macdonald, Sarajevo

17 October 2008

Serbia’s government yesterday decided to put the country’s interim trade agreement with the European Union into full effect from January 1 2009.

Mirko Cvetkovic, prime minister in the pro-EU coalition, said: "The basic goal is to cut the time between implementing the agreement and achieving EU candidate status."

The free-trade provisions are part of Serbia’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement, signed before elections in May to ensure the defeat of nationalist parties.

Yet even the interim agreement is blocked by the Netherlands and Belgium, because Serbia has not yet secured the capture of Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb wartime general who is wanted for genocide.