Netherlands to back easier EU travel for Serbians

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The Netherlands is in favour of allowing Serbian citizens to travel freely within the European Union.

The Hague – The Netherlands will support free travel for Serbians within the European Union while maintaining its veto of an EU trade and aid pact with the Balkan nation, an official said Thursday.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen will support the move for Serbian citizens at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg next week, ministry spokesman Job van den Berg told AFP.

He said the decision followed a recent report to the UN Security Council by the prosecutor of the UN's Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY), Serbe Brammertz, that Serbia had stepped up cooperation with the court.

"That is why the Netherlands wants to look into all possibilities for further cooperation to directly assist the Serbian people."

But he stressed the Netherlands would maintain a veto on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) signed by Serbia in April, seen as the first step towards membership of the 27-nation bloc.

The Netherlands insists on the arrest of ex-Serbian military leader and genocide suspect Ratko Mladic, 66, for the SAA to enter into force.

AFP / Expatica

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