The Dutch held out but Europe, as usual, wants to have its way so after a threat to ram Serbia’s EU ‘assessment’ through by majority vote, the Dutch folded. However, there is a provision that every step of Serbia’s accession will have to be subject to a unanimous vote. The Dutch, we can imagine, will watch that closely.
It’s hard to know what to say at this early hour, although I’d caution Westerners to pin all hopes on Serbia. Much analysis has mentioned that Serbia, as the largest and most populous ex-YU state, is the linchpin of the Balkans. Well, Greece seemed to be the most well-off until recently, and it has hardly assumed a leadership role in the region. Tadic’s government has done much, esp. in defreezing the lock over Kosovo, but remember that there are blocs — substantial ones — of extremely regressive bodies politic in Serbia that could come to power. Would Serbia continue to enjoy this prestige of leadership if so? The lesson is not to conflate territory and population with leadership.
And while I’m at it I’d like to point out the folly of articles like these. (The latter being far more reputable than the former.) Saudi and Iranian money in Bosnia and other Muslim parts of the Balkans (like Macedonia, which the Greek author of the International Analyst Network piece desperately tries to avoid mentioning) is nothing new and dates back to the arms embargo in the 1990s in Bosnia. Every few years, a journalist sees a pre-fab concrete mega-mosque and wonders if the often-propagated tale that Osama is using these Muslims to try and get ‘into’ Europe is true. It’s not. In the mid-1990s, there was an attempt to radicalize Bosnian Muslims. They rejected Wahhabism and its severe tenants. A 40% unemployment rate, or even an 80% one, won’t change that. To pretend otherwise is to toe a chauvinist line.