BELGRADE – The European Commission (EC) approved in principle the acquisition of Serbia’s sole steel mill Zelezara Smederevo by Chinese company He Steel, the Blic daily reports.

The daily says that the EC agreed in principle on Tuesday, and will give the official go-ahead for the move by Friday.

This removed the last hurdle for the acquisition of Zelezara so the signing ceremony is set to take place on Monday.

This practically means that the state of Serbia managed to persuade EC representatives that Smederevo will not be just a screen for selling the steel manufactured in China, and prove that it has not subsidized this huge loss-making company since February last year.

A Blic source close to the Serbian delegation claims that the negotiations were tough, but that they had strong arguments.

“The EC has analyzed all points of the contract and found in principle that the transaction is in line with the regulations of the community,” says the source.