Balkan news from the week of 24th – 31st of March.
A British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has said he thinks Serbia should not seek European Union membership. William Dartmouth is a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigns for the UK to leave the EU. Sympathising with Kosovo Serbs, Dartmouth expressed his admiration of Serbian culture, something he believes would be better preserved as a country independent of the EU. He also claims that Serbian unemployment, currently at a high 25%, would double with EU membership.
The European Commission has approved Croatia’s accession to the EU. A Commission report stressed that before Croatia’s membership is granted it must try harder to address corruption and crime in the country, and particularly criticised its low level of sentencing. Croatia will become the 28th member state of the EU on July 1st. This week a survey found that 45% of Croatians are in favour of EU accession, with 25.5% opposing its membership.
Two Bosnian Serbs have been sentenced to 22 years in prison for committing crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin, both former top officials, guilty of ‘joint criminal enterprise with the objective to permanently remove non-Serbs from the territory of a planned Serbian state’.