EU approves trade with 190 YU companies

BRUSSELS, Jul 2, 2000 -- (Reuters) The European Commission approved a list of 190 Yugoslav companies on Friday which will be allowed to trade with EU member states despite sanctions against Belgrade, a Commission spokesman said.

The move, rewarding firms which can withhold their revenues from the Serbian and Yugoslav governments, is part of a policy intended to target EU penalties against Yugoslavia more effectively and isolate Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

The Commission spokesman said the list would come into force on Saturday. It follows a decision earlier this year to suspend a ban on airlines with Yugoslavia but stiffen other sanctions over Belgrade's role in years of violence in the region.

"The Commission has adopted the list of 190 companies. We have selected the firms which looked pretty good up until now and we can add others later," the spokesman said by telephone.

He did not name the companies which will be allowed to trade with the 15 EU member states, which he said replaces a list of companies barred from such trade.

Diplomats said Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark had been prominent supporters of the decision, although some member states had reservations about it.

The Yugoslav authorities have poured scorn on the plan and some EU diplomats have said it will be hard to implement.

The EU has set out this year to amend its sanctions policy in efforts to ease hardship on ordinary Serbs and encourage Yugoslavia's democratic opposition, while increasing problems for Milosevic, a United Nations-indicted war criminal.

Original article