Serbia to become "associate member of EU" on Sept 1

BELGRADE -- Serbia will get the status of an associate member of the EU on September 1, when its Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) comes into effect.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

This is what the Council of the EU decided at a session last week, according to the Monday edition of the Belgrade-based Večernje Novosti newspaper.

"After bilateral political disagreements with Lithuania, the green light given by its parliament in June and the signature of President Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania - which currently holds the EU Presidency - also sent a note i.e. a ratification instrument to the Council of the EU, which was the last in a series of moves by European capitals, after which the Council confirmed the SAA in line with its internal procedure, without a vote, at its session in July," writes the daily.

"The procedure is thus definitely completed, as the SAA automatically comes into force on the first day of the second month after it is ratified by all EU member countries, the interested country, the European Parliament and all this is confirmed by the Council of the EU, which in this case means September 1. The country also autocratically gains the status of an EU associate member," the article further said.

The SAA is an international agreement establishing a free trade area and harmonizing local legislation with that of the EU. It is the first contract concluded between a candidate country and the EU and covers the transitional period until full-fledged membership.