A letter containing the signatures of several high profile Irish people requesting that Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin not support the ratification of an agreement that would allow Serbia to become a member of the European Union.
Film directors Neil Jordan and Jim Sherian have added their names to the protesting letter urging the government not to support Serbia's EU bid.
Serbia officially applied for EU membership on 22 December 2009.
The government of Serbia has the goal for the EU accession in 2014 per the Papandreou plan - Agenda 2014.
European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot seems to back this initiative, predicting Serbia's EU accession within 5 to 7 years following its formal application.
On 7 November 2007, Serbia initialed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, i.e. agreed on the final version of the text to which no or little changes are to be made, which is the step immediately preceding the official signing that was expected to take place in 2008.
The SAA must be ratified by all 27 member states for Serbia to join.
Irish campaigners are putting pressure on the government to insist that Ratko Mladic, former Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Army) during the Bosnian War 1992-1995 and is now a fugitive who allegedly committed war crimes against Bosniaksand Croats and former Croatian Serb leader, Goran Hadzic, who is also wanted in connection with war crimes, before the agreement is ratified.
The letter requests the arrest of the two men before Ireland agree to ratify the SAA.
“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.”