Martin urged to oppose Serbia's EU bid


FILM DIRECTORS Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan are among the signatories of a letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin urging the Government not to ratify an agreement that would pave the way for Serbia’s membership of the EU.

The EU’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia must be ratified by all 27 member states for it to enter force. Campaigners in Ireland are calling for the Government to insist that Serbia hand over Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military leader indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and former Croatian Serb leader, Goran Hadzic, who is also wanted in connection with war crimes, before the agreement is ratified.

The signatories say Ireland should insist on the two men’s arrest and transfer to the ICTY as “proof of Serbia’s desire to join” the EU.

“We believe that Ireland and the European Union will do itself or the people of the Balkans no favours by allowing Serbia to proceed further on its path to European Union accession without delivering [the men],” the letter states.

“We in Ireland know only too well the damage done by justice postponed and the importance of seeking out the truth as a basis for reconciliation in divided societies . . . we respectfully urge [Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin] to insist that justice not be negotiable within the EU.”

The Dáil is expected to vote on the agreement within the coming weeks.