Serbia - EU
Serbia won't be given EU candidate status on Friday
The European Union has decided to postpone until March 2012 the decision on whether Serbia will be given the status of an EU candidate, Agence France Presse reported early on Friday, citing draft conclusions which EU leaders are expected to adopt today.
In order to be awarded candidate status in March 2012, Serbia will have to prove that it continues to implement measures and make progress in implementing the agreement aimed at normalising relations with Kosovo, according to the document that was made available to AFP.
According to the news agency, Germany was against Serbia being given candidate status on Friday.
The decision on the opening of membership talks with Montenegro was postponed as well. For Montenegro to start EU membership talks in June 2012, it will have to prove progress in the implementation of reforms, notably in the fight against corruption and organised crime, according to the document.
The main topic of the summit in Brussels which started on Thursday with an informal dinner of EU leaders, is the debt crisis in the eurozone. According to the draft conclusions, EU leaders have also agreed new fiscal rules the purpose of which is to impose tighter budget discipline. They have also agreed on imposing sanctions on those violating budget rules in the eurozone unless three quarters of the member states vote against it.
It has been agreed that a permanent intervention stabilisation fund with 500 billion euros should start operating as of July 2012. That mechanism would be used to directly recapitalise banks and it would have the characteristics of a credit institution. The existing fund (European Financial Stability Facility) is expected to continue functioning until mid-2013.
The EU summit, which earlier on Thursday French President Nicolas Sarcozy dramatically described as the last chance to reform economic management, will open formally on Friday, after Croatia signs its Treaty of Accession to the EU.