EU/Serbia: extracts from the signature of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) by Olli Rehn, Dimitrij Rupel, Javier Solana, and Boris Tadić
End production: 29/04/2008 First transmission: 29/04/2008
The 27 EU Member States signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia on 29 April 2008, after reaching a compromise to overcome objections from the Dutch and the Belgians. Serbia's pro-European President Boris Tadić had been invited to sign the agreement in Luxembourg. The EU wanted to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement - the first formal step to EU membership - to boost Serbia's pro-European parties ahead of a general election on 11 May. Belgium and the Netherlands had insisted that Belgrade must first fully cooperate with the UN war crimes court by handing over remaining suspects, among them former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic. Under the compromise, the pact would be signed but not ratified by the 27 Member States, and therefore not enter into force, until Belgrade cooperates sufficiently with the ICTY.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Boris Tadić, President of Serbia, and handshake with several EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs, including Maxime Verhagen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs
||Boris Tadić and Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the EU and High Representative for CFSP
||Cutaway of cameramen and photographers
||Dimitrij Rupel, Slovenian Minister for Foreign Affairs and President in office of the Council, (in SLOVENIAN) saying that from the heart of the EU they are sending a strong signal to Serbia and to the Serbian people; they are signing the SAA and the interim agreement which means that they have chosen Serbia to come to the EU and that they have approved the European policy towards the Western Balkans
||Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement, (in ENGLISH) saying that the signature of this agreement sends a powerful signal to the Serbian people, especially to the younger generation, of their European perspective; it is indeed a milestone that marks a new stage in EU/Serbia relations and it is the gateway to eventual candidacy
||Boris Tadić (in SERBIAN) saying that the fact that the EU confirms and protects different identities and different peoples is very important; they are a great nation in terms of their achievements but they are not a big nation in terms of their numbers; the possibility to maintain their identity within the EU and ensuring long-term peace and economic prosperity for their citizens are the most important reasons why they have come to Luxembourg and why as the representatives of Serbia they are participating in the signing ceremony of the SAA
||Signature (7 shots)