The Delegation of the European Commission in Belgrade was established in the then Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1982, following the signing of co-operation Agreements between the SFRY and the then European Economic Community (EEC). The Delegation’s name has changed since December 2009 to “Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia” in line with the entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty.
This change also reflects the increased political role of our office in line with the political and economic developments in view of EU-Serbia relations during the last years.
In October 2000 Serbia took a decisive step to end its political and economic isolation and embark on the road of European Integration, taken by the whole of Central and Eastern Europe and its neighbours in the Western Balkans.
In the last ten years Serbia has gone through the European integration process with varying speed. Starting from 2001, Serbia put a lot of effort to join its neighbours in implementing reforms ranging from economy and judiciary to military and media.Talks were virtually suspended in May 2006, following the assessment that Serbia's co-operation with the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague was not sufficient. In 2007, the newly created pro -reform oriented government took credible measures to envigour co-operation with The Tribunal which allowed the European Commission to re-open the SAA negotiations.
In the last two years EU-Serbia relations have intensified and consequently the integration process speeded up.
At the end of 2009, two very important events took place within less than a month; firstly the visa liberalization regime in December 2009, which allowed Serbian citizens to travel within the Scheme area without a visa, showing that the process can deliver concrete results directly benefiting citizens; Secondly, just a couple of days later, President Tadic delivered to the Swedish presidency Serbia's application for membership to the EU. In 2010, our primary objective was to maintain the good momentum which we had so far built up. In February 2010, the Interim Agreement on Trade and trade related matters entered into force and in June the unfreezing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) was decided, putting Serbia solidly back on the path towards EU Membership.
Currently, there is also a clearer prospect for opening of a dialogue regarding Kosovo, following the backing up of the EU27 to facilitate a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade as a result of the UNGA resolution in September. At the end of October last year the Council requested the Commission to start preparing its opinion on Serbia. Just a couple days after the publication of a rather positive Progress Report on Serbia, Commissioner Füle came to Belgrade to hand over the questionnaire to the Prime Minister of Serbia whichincludes over 2500 questions on Serbia’s preparation to become a member of the EU covering all areas.This last step shows that we are moving to an important and new phase in EU relations with Serbia - the preparation of the opinion: an assessment of the country's fulfilment of the membership criteria and its readiness to undertake accession negotiations.