Verhagen clashes with opposition about Serbia
Opposition parties accuse Verhagen of relinquishing hard line on Serbia.31 January 2008
THE HAGUE – Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen clashed fiercely with the opposition parties in Parliament on Wednesday. During an emergency debate last evening the Liberal VVD, Socialist SP, green-left GroenLinks and Freedom Party PVV accused the minister of approving a positive signal from the EU to Serbia on Monday.
The opposition says that this has hurt the Netherlands' credibility. The Netherlands is fiercely opposed to any further EU cooperation with Serbia until a number of notorious war criminals are handed over to the Yugoslavia tribunal. Only Belgium has supported the Netherlands' uncompromising stance on this issue.
Verhagen was astonished at the harsh criticism. He says the European Union has not taken any concrete steps toward Serbia.
The agreement presented to Belgrade by the 27 EU foreign ministers is nothing more than an offer to deepen political dialogue.
Verhagen said this was necessary to make it clear to the Serbians that the EU has no objections on principle to the country's membership in future.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news