After six long years of tense negotiations, Croatia has today finally received the green light from European leaders to conclude membership talks and look set to become the bloc’s 28th member state from 1st July 2013.
Subject to ratification by all current member states, Croatia, which will mark its 20th anniversary of their independence from Yugoslavia tomorrow (25th), will be the first new admission to the European Union since Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007.
Speaking at the conclusion of the European Council meeting today in Brussels, Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council remarked
“Croatia's achievement serves as an inspiring example for the other countries of the Western Balkans [and] demonstrates that with political will, a strong national consensus and dedicated work, it is possible to overcome the shadows of the past and to move towards membership of the European Union.
Speaking ahead of the meeting yesterday at the EPP leader’s Summit held at the Academie Royale de Belgique
, the country’s incumbent Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor
said Croatia becoming the 28th member would “be a breathe of fresh air
” and affirmed the country’s commitment to the European project and the single currency.
“We are committed to the European project
,” she said, and asked if Croatia would seek to adopt the single currency replied “we would work hard on that once we become a member. We believe this will help the Croatian economy
“We have experience of being alone which is why we appreciate being part of a family. [In joining the EU] we are going back home
,” she said.
Croatia is expected to sign its accession treaty in the autumn as well as hold a public referendum on acceding to the EU. The treaty would then require ratification by all current member states and that ratification process is expected to take around two years, thus setting an entry date of July 2013.