Serbian Progressive Party, led by Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, will today become an associate member of European People’s Party.
The decision on admission of Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) as an associate member of the European People’s Party corresponds to the status of Serbia’s relations with the European Union and the party is expected to fully contribute to fulfilling all the EU criteria, said Croatian Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier (HDZ), reports Jutarnji List on November 15, 2016.
“HDZ will abstain from voting. It is important to say that this is a decision that was politically made in May, and now it will only get formalized. The status of each party within the EPP corresponds to the status of the country, and therefore the associate member status corresponds to the status of Serbia as a candidate country”, said Stier, who is also the HDZ political secretary.
It is expected that EPP will on Tuesday make a decision on granting the status of an associated member to SNS. “For the full membership of SNS, it is necessary for Serbia to first meet all the criteria, complete accession negotiations and become a member of the European Union. In this respect, we expect SNS to meet all criteria, which of course includes solving the issue of the so-called regional jurisdiction for war crimes prosecution, full cooperation with the ICTY, respect for the rights of national minorities including the Croatian minority in Serbia, providing help in determining the fate of missing persons from the war. We will naturally expect of SNS as the key factor in Serbian government to fulfil all these criteria. All this is listed in the common EU positions for negotiations with Serbia. It is expected that SNS will pursue policies that will resolve all the outstanding issues, and we are also willing to pursue such policies”, said Stier.
European People’s Party had the decision on admission of SNS on its agenda in September, but it was postponed to November, allegedly so that HDZ would not be put in a difficult situation so close to Croatia’s early parliamentary elections, since there are many in Croatia, particularly among rightwing voters, who believe that HDZ should block the admission of SNS.
There are people even within HDZ who think that the party should vote “against”. Over the weekend, former Foreign Minister and HDZ international secretary Miro Kovač said that he was “personally” against SNS’s admission.