[JURIST] Montenegrin Prime Minister Zeljko Sturanovic signed the EU-Montenegro Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) [press release, PDF] Monday, a preliminary step in Montenegro's possible accession [EU materials] to the European Union (EU). The SAA is expected to prepare Montenegro for a projected EU membership in 2015 by creating concrete trade deals and easing access to visas.
Montenegro [JURIST news archive] is the newest European state considering membership; the country's Parliament issued a declaration of independence [JURIST report] June 3, 2006 on the basis of a referendum in which 55.5 percent of Montenegrins voted for independence from Serbia [JURIST news archive]. An EU plan to similarly initiate the membership process with Serbia has been put on hold after Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Carla Del Ponte said that Serbia was not sufficiently cooperating with her investigation. On Monday, Del Ponte criticized [statement; JURIST report] Serbia for not making adequate progress toward apprehending fugitive war crimes suspects. Reuters has more.