Vienna, 26 March 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "Croatia is paving the way for the entire Balkans"

Vice-Chancellor welcomes the Commission's positive Monitoring Report on Croatia's preparation for joining the EU

Vienna,  26 March 2013 – "Croatia has taken its historic opportunity to become part of the European unification process by following a strict course of reforms. After agreement with Slovenia has been reached in the Ljubljanska Banka dispute, there are no more impediments for Croatia's accession to the EU", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said in his first response to the positive Monitoring Report of the Commission on Croatia's preparation for joining the EU. The Report was presented by European Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle in Zagreb today.   

The European Commission acknowledges that Croatia fulfils all outstanding commitments entered in the accession negotiations and that the country has, in particular, implemented the concrete measures demanded in the last Monitoring Report of 10 October 2012 with regard to competition policy, judiciary and fundamental rights, as well as justice, freedom and security.

"The Croatian success story is also a clear encouragement for all countries of the Western Balkans. Reforms, hard work and political resolve will be rewarded", the Austrian Vice-Chancellor said. "Croatia is paving the way for rapprochement to the EU of the entire region. With Croatia joining the EU, we are gaining an important partner for joint initiatives in designing the next steps of expansion in the Western Balkans. We look forward to closer cooperation as from July onward", the Vice-Chancellor said.

The Treaty of Accession with Croatia was signed on 9 December 2011. At the same time, in-depth pre-accession monitoring was agreed to supervise and monitor thorough implementation of all commitments made by Croatia in the accession negotiations. The Monitoring Report presented by the European Commission today concludes the pre-accession monitoring of Croatia. 19 EU member states and Croatia have already ratified the Accession Treaty. The remaining eight EU member states have initiated ratification procedures. The EU Accession Treaty is to enter into force on 1 July and this is also the date when Croatia will become an EU member state.

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