EU Observer: may the source be with you

The EU observer, an online initiative started in 2000 by Danish journalist Lisbeth Kirk is an interesting read for all who follow the EU. Debate is needed more then ever to fuel the EU democracy and keep society, politicians and citizens alike, vigilant and involved in the debate on and development of European affairs.

Wikipedia says on the EU Observer it has a clear emphasis on human rights, transparency, anti-corruption, environmentalism and the democratisation of the European Union, which marks it out from its competitors such as the European Voice, Euractiv, Europolitique and The Parliament magazine.

It is a truly useful reference tool, a place to go when you want to know what's going on where in Europe's decision rooms. And more and more also to find out who thinks, feels and says what about this lively household.

A series of independent blogs are worthwile to take a peek at, from varied followers of EU affairs.

You can be positive, doubtful, critical or even negative on European affairs, but at least speak up based on insight, with facts and figures. Ce qui se conçoit bien, s'énonce clairement… the better an idea is conceived, the clearer it will be expressed!


Serbia makes historic EU membership bid

Serbia applied for European Union membership today. With this move, it wants to set a step in gaining credibility and economic strenght, after the devastating war of which it still carries the scars. President Boris Tadic submitted the Serbian application to the current Eu president Sweden.

"We are now in the 10th year of democratic life, 10 years after the war ended, 10 years after our isolation ended. In these 10 years, our main goal has been to bring Serbia into the European Union," Tadic said. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says "It marks a new beginning for Serbia… I am confident that Serbia can and will meet the conditions for membership," he told a news conference.

Tadic said his country had undertaken major political and economic reforms that his country would continue its efforts to arrest all those who were indicted for war crimes. At the end of the day you can be sure that we are doing everything we can to arrest them," he said.

The EU recently unblocked a trade deal with Serbia and lifted the visa requirements for Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, allowing their citizens to travel freely to the 27-nation bloc. But ratification of Serbia's Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the bloc is on hold, at the insistence of The Netherlands, until Mladic has been extradited to the Hague tribunal.

Of the former Yugoslav republics, only Slovenia joined the European Union. Croatia, which became a member of NATO this year, hopes to conclude its EU entry talks in 2010 and join the bloc in 2012. Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro have already applied for membership but have yet to start talks. War is over, but it takes more then a decade to clean up the debris and build a new land. Bricks and stone are one thing, hearts and minds another thing.