April 29, 2008 / 3:24 PM / 11 years ago

Serb president seeks EU candidate status this year

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Serbia is seeking to be named as an official candidate for European Union membership later this year, President Boris Tadic said on Tuesday after his country signed an initial pact on closer ties.

“We would like to become an official candidate by the end of the year,” Tadic told a news conference in Luxembourg after the signature of a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) — a gateway to eventual membership — with the EU.

The long-stalled signing, just days before a crucial Serbia parliamentary election, was made possible after EU foreign ministers agreed the pact would not be ratified nor any of its benefits be granted to Serbia until Belgrade showed it was fully cooperating in the hunt for war crime indictees.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; writing by Mark John, editing by Paul Taylor

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