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EU moves for further isolation of Belgrade regime

FEIRA, Tuesday -- European Union heads of state meeting in the Portuguese town of Santa Maria da Feira today agreed on further steps for the isolation of the Belgrade regime and stimulation of democratic and economic reforms in the Balkans.

The EU leaders, in a joint statement, said that Yugoslavia would be welcomed into the European family of democratic nations only as a country ready to cooperate and live together with its neighbours. "The EU supports the civil society's initiatives and the democratic forces in Serbia which are fighting to achieve the aim of democratic transformation and the inclusion of Serbia and Europe," said the statement.

The summit statement also called on Serbian democratic forces to support unity and cooperate more closely, adding that the EU wanted to see a time when Yugoslavia would be able to participate fully in the process of stabilisation in the West Balkans.

The EU heads of state also emphasised that a permanent defusing of tension, democratic change and progress in the whole of South-east Europe would be difficult to achieve while the Milosevic regime was in power. They added that the process of stabilisation and association would be accelerated with the more effective financial aid of the Union to Balkan countries and the expansion of trade preferences for export to member countries.

The European leaders also resolved to continue offering support to the democratic authorities in Montenegro who, they said, were exposed to difficult economic and political pressures from Belgrade.

Source: B92

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