Wien, 23. January 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: “Welcome back, Croatia, to the European family”

The Austrian Vice Chancellor on the outcome of the EU referendum in Croatia

Vienna, 23 January 2012 – “The Croatian people have demonstrated maturity and farsightedness in their impressively clear vote and have recognised the historic opportunity of the European unification process. This is the best anniversary present Croatians can give themselves 20 years after international recognition of an independent Croatia. With Croatia we are welcoming close friends and neighbours to the European family”, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger said commenting on the result of Sunday’s EU referendum in Croatia.

“Austria has actively and unrelentingly supported Croatia, from its emergence as an independent state, through the difficult years of war and down to the conclusion of the challenging EU negotiations. We are looking forward to close cooperation with Croatia in the EU bodies”, Spindelegger continued and offered personal congratulations to Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting. Croatia is to become a member of the EU on 1 July 2013 and is now already represented with observers at official EU meetings. “The ratification process must now be speedily completed in all the EU states. Austria will be one of the first to do this”, the Vice-Chancellor said.

”Croatia is an enrichment for the EU. Not only will the European stability zone be extended to the south-east, but Croatia will also strengthen the Danube and Adriatic dimensions of the EU. Croatian EU membership is also an encouraging sign for the region as it demonstrates that the input of political will and stamina helps to be successful in the difficult rapprochement process. The reform and expansion process in our neighbouring region is not yet complete. I am convinced that Croatia will share its expertise and experience with the states in the region to promote their integration in turn, as we did with Croatia”, Spindelegger concluded.

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