STABILISATION AND ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT
WITH SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, Minister
for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
I am writing to advise of the European Commission's
proposed course of action with regards to the Stabilisation and
Association Agreement (SAA) negotiating mandates for Serbia and
Montenegro following the dissolution of the State Union of the
You will recall that my predecessor, Mr Alexander,
wrote to you on the 14 October 2005,
informing you that the Council had authorised the Commission to
begin SAA negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro (SaM) on 3 October.
You will also recall that on 10 June 2005 an Explanatory Memorandum
was deposited on a Commission Communication on the preparedness
of SaM to negotiate a SAA with the EU. This was cleared by the
scrutiny committees in both Houses.
On 21 May 2006, in a referendum assessed as
free and fair by the international community, the Republic of
Montenegro voted for independence from SaM. Independence was formally
declared on 3 June and the UK recognised Montenegro as an independent
sovereign state on 13 June. On 5 June, the National Assembly in
Belgrade declared the Republic of Serbia to be the continuing
international personality of SaM. This was in accordance with
the SaM Constitutional Charter and is a position which the EU
and UK accept.
The European Commission now proposes to amend
the SaM SAA negotiating mandate in order to continue negotiations
with Serbia. This is a technical process, which involves replacing
references to SaM with references to Serbia and removing references
to Montenegro. In its proposal, the Commission also makes clear
that this revision does not affect EU Enlargement Commissioner
Olli Rehn's decision to freeze the SAA negotiations. In other
words Serbia still needs to demonstrate that it is co-operating
fully with the ICTY before its SAA negotiations can actually resume.
The European Commission is also proposing a
new separate negotiating mandate for Montenegro. The European
Commission is proposing the same text for Montenegro's SAA as
was used in the SaM SAA, including all the same conditions, such
as the requirement to co-operate fully with the ICTY. In order
not to have to start negotiations from scratch the European Commission
is also proposing to include information on the progress that
Montenegro made in its SAA negotiations as part of SaM.
Officials would be happy to provide electronic
copies of the European Commission's proposals and copies of the
draft SAA mandates for Serbia and Montenegro. Please do not hesitate
to contact my office if this would be helpful.
13 July 2006
72 Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session
2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 305. Back