22 OCT 2010
Brussels - European Union diplomats were discussing Thursday ways to advance Serbia's membership bid despite strong resistance from the Netherlands, ahead of next week's meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers.
The EU is keen to reward Serbia's pro-Western government after it agreed in September to tone down a United Nations resolution on its former province Kosovo. But the Netherlands insist that the country should arrest war-time fugitives first.
According to diplomatic sources, EU ministers meeting on Monday in Luxembourg could agree to forward the membership application Serbia presented in December to the European Commission, which would then start a technical analysis.
In return, the Netherlands would obtain a common EU declaration warning Serbia that any further steps would be subject to progress on the fugitives' front.
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