This analysis from Reuters of the dynamic between the EU and Serbia in the run-up to Serbia’s general election 3 weeks from now points to an extremely ham-handed attempt by some EU countries to influence the outcome, which seems like a strange way to handle an election in any country, let alone one with as fraught a regional situation as Serbia.Â The issue is whether the EU should offer a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, but the incumbent PM Vojislav Kostunica has made clear that he wants no part of it and views it as an attempt to get Serbian ink on a document that would implicitly recognise the independence of Kosovo —
“That agreement is obviously in the interests of (EU Enlargement Commissioner) Olli Rehn and (EU foreign policy chief) Javier Solana,” Kostunica told state news agency Tanjug. “It is obviously not in the national interest of Serbia to sign an agreement that would tomorrow be interpreted as Serbia’s signing off on an independent Kosovo.”
The opposition Democrats are in favour of the agreement and argue that it makes no commitment about Kosovo’s status.Â Â What’s troublesome is the analysis of why the prospect of an offer is even an issue —
Most EU states want to offer Serbia the accord before May 11 to help the Democrats win against the hardline Radicals, support for whom has been fuelled by bitterness at the loss of Kosovo, low wages and stubbornly high unemployment.
i.e. one goal is electoral manipulation.Â Whatever one’s opinion of Kosovo’s status, surely it is better to wait to deal with a post 11 May government that has an actual mandate and especially not to tag one party as a puppet of the EU.Â Â It’s not clear whether the Lisbon treaty would help reduce this kind of backfiring incoherence in EU foreign policy.