Vienna, 2 October 2009 – "Today, a lot of lost ground has been regained, and Croatia's EU negotiations are gathering momentum again", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, expressing his satisfaction with the substantial results of the EU Accession Conference with Croatia. Five negotiation chapters (free movement of workers, corporate law, statistics, trans-European networks, and customs union) were closed in the first round of negotiations, following the temporary blockade caused by the Slovenian-Croatian border dispute. In addition, six new negotiation chapters were opened, such as free movement of capital, agriculture, regional and structural policy, freedom and security).
"Now we must steer the course and continue the negotiations at pace. I am confident that Croatia, too, will consistently pursue its reform course. Our objective remains unchanged: Croatia should become the 28th member country of the European Union", said Spindelegger. According to the Foreign Minister, unless new unexpected obstacles arise, and if Croatia tackles the remaining tasks in a timely manner, nothing stands in the way of a completion of the accession negotiations during the next year. He added that Austria expects the accession negotiations with Croatia to inject new dynamism into the EU rapprochement process for all other states of the Western Balkans.
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