Serbia. According to Countryaah, Serbia, which was granted candidate status in the EU in 2012, was hard pressed to find a compromise on the breakaway republic of Kosovo to have a chance to start membership negotiations. The Serbian leadership refused to explicitly approve Kosovo’s independence. After ten rounds of negotiations under EU mediation, Prime Minister Ivica Dači ´c and his colleague Hashim Thaçi reached an agreement in April that gave the Serb-dominated northern Kosovo far-reaching autonomy.
With the Kosovo settlement in June, the EU was able to clear Serbia for membership negotiations, no later than the end of the year.
Former Yugoslav Army commander Momčilo Perišić was released in February by the Appellate Chamber of the United Nations Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague. In 2011, Perišić was sentenced to 27 years in prison for, among other things. crimes against humanity, but now the court found that Perišić could not be held responsible for crimes committed by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Croatia during the 1991–95 wars.
In May, ICTY found that two former intelligence chiefs, Franko Simatović and Jovica Stanišić, could not be held responsible for war crimes committed by Serbian militia groups. The liberating sentence meant that no one who belonged to the Serbian regime during the war was convicted of war crimes. Leader Slobodan Milošević died in the Tribunal’s detention in 2006, before the trial against him was completed.
Finance Minister Lazar Krstić warned in October that Serbia could face bankruptcy within two years if no action was taken. An austerity package was presented with tax increases, reduced subsidies for loss-making companies and a reduction in public employee wages by as much as a quarter.
In March, an ati discrimination law was passed. It had previously been withdrawn following pressure from the Orthodox Church, which advocated discrimination against homosexuals. In September, however, the Belgrade Pride march had to be canceled because authorities at the last minute refused to protect the march from the warnings from right-wing radical groups.
In April, 128 Roma were removed by police from their slums in New Belgrade. In this case, it was a group of Roma displaced from Kosova. Authorities and Serbs continue to persecute the country’s Roma. The displacement of Roma continued in 2010.
Throughout 2009, the EU and the United States pressed Serbia for extradition of Ratko Mladic to the war crimes court in The Hague. Mladic was not extradited, but in December the court ruled that Serbia was cooperating anyway. The EU therefore removed its block on Serbia’s application for EU membership and the country formally applied for admission that month.
After several years of high growth, Serbia was hit by the global economic crisis, which hit in earnest in 2008. The country’s GDP fell by 4% in 2009 and unemployment reached 17.4% in March 2010.
In November 2010, the president visited the Croatian city of Vukovar, apologizing for the 1991 massacre of the Serbian forces of 260 civilians.
Authorities arrested former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic in May 2011 and extradited him to the war crimes court in The Hague.
In October 2011, the EU recommends that Serbia be granted candidate status, but that accession negotiations can only begin once it has normalized relations with Kosova.
In the first round of the May 2012 presidential election, Tadić got 25.3% of the vote, while conservative SNS Tomislav Nikolić got 25.1%. In the second round, however, Nikolić got 49.5%, while Tadić had to settle for 47.3%. It was the 4th time the two candidates were facing each other, and this time Nikolić succeeded in the presidential post in June. Most countries – with the exception of the EU – boycotted the deployment of the president because of his denial of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
The May 2012 parliamentary election gave a landslide victory to the conservative coalition SNS, which went 64 seats to 73. Tadić’s Social Democracy went back 3 seats to 67, and Ivica Dačić’s Socialist Party SPS went 24 seats to 44. The reason for the major reshuffle of the mandates was that Šešelj’s right-wing nationalist SRS had been split in 2008 and now with 4.6% of the vote, he completely left the parliament. It had 77 seats that were now distributed over the rest. Most to the conservative SNS. After the election, SPS and SNS formed a coalition government with Dačićs as prime minister. SNS’s Nikolić was the same month became president.