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You are here : Home > News > Speeches > April 2005 > OSCE, Permanent Council No 549: EU response to the head of mission of the OSCE in Serbia and Montenegro, ambassador Maurizio Massari
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OSCE, Permanent Council No 549: EU response to the head of mission of the OSCE in Serbia and Montenegro, ambassador Maurizio Massari

Date of Speech : 07-04-2005

Place : Vienna

Speaker : Jacques Reuter, permanent representative of Luxembourg to the OSCE

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

The EU welcomes Ambassador Massari back to Permanent Council, and thanks him for his excellent report.

We share his assessment that overall trends in Serbia and Montenegro have remained positive over the past six months, characterized by continued progress in democratic consolidation, and we welcome the introduction of significant reform-oriented laws during this period. 

But we also agree that there are a number of problems and serious challenges still to be addressed, many of which have been raised here before.  Like Ambassador Massari, we believe that the discrepancy between adoption and implementation of legislation must be closed.  The pace of reform must be accelerated in the crucial year ahead.

Full cooperation with ICTY remains a crucial pre-condition for integration of any country of the region into the Euro-Atlantic community.  The performance of Serbia and Montenegro in this respect will be one of the key factors assessed by the European Commission in its report on the Feasibility Study for Serbia and Montenegro's accession to the EU, due on 12 April.  The EU welcomes the voluntary surrender and transfer of twelve indictees to The Hague since December 2004, as an important step in ensuring that all indicted persons face international justice.  However, further efforts will be required to ensure full cooperation with ICTY. In particular, we urge the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro to deliver all fugitive indictees to The Hague, including Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.  The work of the OSCE Missions in assisting the development of domestic war crime institutional capabilities, including through the monitoring of war crime trials, remains an essential part of helping countries in the region fully to meet their ICTY obligations.

The EU notes with concern Serbia and Montenegro's continuing failure to resolve the issue of direct elections to the State Union Parliament.  We consider this issue a damaging distraction from the pursuit of the reforms required if Serbia and Montenegro is to fulfill its EU aspirations.  We urge the Serbian and Montenegrin governments to discuss the problem constructively, so that a mutually acceptable and legal solution can be found without further delay. There should be no doubt that the EU maintains its full support for the State Union and that the office in Podgorica can only be seen as part of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro. We also urge both republics to make the long overdue changes required by the State Union Constitutional Charter.

The EU commends the Mission's efforts in the key areas of rule of law, defence reform, media and reform of the judiciary and the police.  We attach particular importance to the implementation of measures to tackle corruption, which remains a serious issue in Serbia and Montenegro.  We are disappointed to learn that there has been no improvement in the problem of politicisation and lack of accountability of the police, and that both republics still lack framework legislation on police services.  We also look for full implementation of media-related legislation, in particular the transparent privatisation of local and regional media.

We welcome the reports positive assessment of the state of inter-ethnic relations in Vojvodina.  It remains essential that both Serbia and Montenegro adopt outstanding legislation on protection of minorities and ensure that all laws are fully implemented.

The EU continues to attach the utmost importance to the Mission's work in combating human trafficking.  We welcome the establishment by Serbia of the National Referral Mechanism, described in the report as groundbreaking progress.  We look forward to the establishment soon of a similar mechanism in Montenegro.

Finally, I will not repeat the EU's comments on South Serbia and Kosovo, just made in response to the address by Dr Covic, other than to recall the EU's recognition of the continuing essential role of both OSCE Missions in promoting security and confidence in these areas. However, I wish to stress the EU’s appreciation for the success of Ambassador Massari and his staff in bringing together, on an equal footing, representatives of ethnic Albanians and Serbs in a reformed Coordination Body, which will promote the full integration of the two ethnicities in a wide range of sectors of the local life.

The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia  align themselves with this statement.

This page was last modified on : 09-04-2005

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