U.S. dailies: SAA helps pro-EU parties

The New York Times says that the signing of the SAA will help the pro-democratic parties at Serbia’s May 11 elections.

Source: Beta
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The Los Angeles Times also writes that the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) in Luxembourg will strengthen trade and political ties between Serbia and the EU, adding that it will open up the path for Serbian EU membership.

The story stresses that implementation of the Agreement will start once full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal has been achieved, adding that the ceremony in Luxembourg was more symbolic than anything else.

The daily states that Serbia is leading a “controversial fight” between the political parties that want the country to join the EU, and hard-line nationalists who believe that European support for Kosovo independence leaves no room for cooperation in the process of European integration.

The Los Angeles Times stresses that the signing of the SAA was followed closely by the media in Belgrade and that local television stations broadcast the entire ceremony live.

It added that the political opponents of pro-European President Boris Tadić immediately reacted negatively to the signing, stating that it was an attempt by the EU to get Belgrade to recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence.

The daily states that one of the first to send such a message was Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, who said that the signing of the SAA was a “shameful and illegitimate act,” adding that the agreement would be annulled as soon as a new government was formed.

The New York Times stated that the signing of the SAA could help the pro-Western forces in Serbia avoid defeat at the coming elections.

The daily writes that EU Ministers had to overcome differences in the appraisals of cooperation between Serbia and the Hague Tribunal in order to send a clear signal to Serbia that it could become a member of the Union.

“It could help the elections next month turn into a test of whether Serbia wishes to join the EU, the largest trade bloc in the world, or turn towards nationalism and the road towards closer cooperation with Moscow,” writes the New York Times.

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