Croatia is finally set to become the 28th Member of the European Union in 2013 after its citizens voted to join the EU by a sweeping majority in a referendum held at the weekend.
Despite the disappointingly low turnout (44%), the result delivered a greater than expected yes result than what had been predicted in the opinion polls.
In a joint statement
, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, welcomed the result: "We welcome the positive outcome of the referendum on Croatia's accession to the European Union. With this vote, Croatia's citizens have given their endorsement to European integration. We congratulate Croatia and its people on their choice: EU membership will open up new opportunities for them and help secure the stability and prosperity of their nation.
Similarly, Tanja Fajon
, a Slovenian MEP and Vice chair of the Delegation to the EU – Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee, said that Croatians have “clearly decided to continue on the European path
” and called it a “wise and brave decision which proves the maturity of the Croatian citizens who understand the great benefits of the European integration despite the difficult economic and financial situation in the EU
“Welcoming the 28th country means not only a stronger Europe but it is also a very important sign, especially for the countries of Western Balkan, that the EU enlargement process is moving on
,” she said
Dobrodošli u Europsku uniju Hrvatska!