MARSHALL Tito's ghost walked in Sarajevo yesterday when the European Union held a meeting with most of the former countries of Tito's Yugoslavia to discuss their prospects for European Union membership. During Tito's 35-year rule it was widely predicted that the Federation of Yugoslavia would not survive his death and so it proved ten years after it took place. Now Slovenia is a member of the EU, Croatia is close to joining, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia have applied for membership; Bosnia remains divided as an international protectorate.

Yesterday's meeting of EU foreign ministers was held under the presidency of Spain and the EU's new Foreign Affairs and Security chief, Lady Ashton, attended. Although some EU countries consider that discussion of the Balkan's future relationship with the EU is premature under present circumstances, there are signs that Lady Ashton thinks that this area should not be ignored and left to foment new trouble as it has done so often in the past, most recently in the 1990s.

One idea she has in mind is the appointment of an EU Envoy to the Balkans and according to press reports yesterday she has Lord Paddy Ashdown in mind for the job. He knows the complex politics of the area well, having spent four years as internal representative in Bonsia in the aftermath of the 1992-95 war and was widely thought to have done a good job.