Pro-Europeans win in Serbia
Brussels is breathing a sigh of relief today as the results come in from the Serbian general election, in which the moderate pro-European party has emerged a voctor. Many had feared that the Kosovo independence issue would give the upper hand to the nationalist party, which would have broken relations with the EU and alliogned Serbia with Russia.
There will surely be speculation as to whether the election result is related to the 'carrot and stick' approach adopted by Brussels over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago a deal between the European Union and Serbia to fast-track its membership in the union was reached. The pre-membership pact with Belgrade that would
enhance trade and cooperation and speed the process by which Serbia
could eventually join the union. Though there was hesitation by some EU nations to come to such an agreement because of a lack of cooperation by Belgrade in handing over war criminals to the international court trying people for crimes committed during the Yugoslav civil wars, they eventually relented in order to show Serbian voters that there would be a reward for putting the moderate party in power.
Moderate pro-European parties have claimed an unexpected victory in Serbia's parliamentary elections, soundly beating nationalists who had been expected to benefit from Kosovo's declaration of independence. Image 1 of 3 EPA President Boris Tadic celebrates his victory in Belgrade AFP Boris Tadic addresses supporters at a victory rally in Belgrade BLOOMBERG Supporters of the pro-European alliance kiss in Belgrade
Official tallies and monitors have indicated that the "For a European Serbia" alliance is on course to win up to 39 per cent of the vote, around 10 points clear of the nationalist Radicals.
"The citizens of Serbia have undoubtedly confirmed a clear European path," said President Boris Tadic, whose Democratic Party is the main force in the pro-Western alliance, which has campaigned to speed Serbia's accession into the European Union.
His declaration of victory overnight sparked wild celebrations on the streets of Belgrade.