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Support for Serbia's accession to EU increases

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(BELGRADE) - Serbian support for joining the European Union has raisen more than 10 percentage points in the past month to 71 percent, a survey released on Friday showed.

This compares with 60 percent in October, the poll of 1,600 people by non-government monitoring group Centre for Free Elections and Democracy (CESID) indicated.

The increase in support for Serbia to join the 27-country bloc could be linked to a recent announcement that its citizens will be able to travel within the EU without the need for visas from January.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said in Brussels on Thursday that Belgrade plans to apply for EU candidacy by the end of this year, hoping to join by 2014.

In April last year Serbia signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, the first step on the long road to membership, but it has been frozen by Brussels because of Belgrade's failure to arrest top warcrimes suspect, Bosnian Serb wartime military chief Ratko Mladic.

Mladic has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the UN war crimes court in the Hague for his role during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and is believed to be in hiding in Serbia.

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