Croatia: A model for the region

On 15 June, Foreign Minister Westerwelle met his Croatian opposite number Vesna Pusić. Their talks focused on Croatia’s upcoming accession to the EU and cooperation on international issues. Croatia is expected to join the European Union as its 28th member state in July 2013.

In order to achieve that goal, Croatia had travelled down a long and successful road towards Europe, Westerwelle said after his meeting with Pusić. “And that goes to show that discipline, hard work and commitment bear political fruit,” he went on to say. Croatia could serve as an encouraging example for other Western Balkan countries, Westerwelle said, stressing however that, while Germany supported the accession perspective of all Western Balkan countries, “We expect them to steer a determined course of reform and to show the will to develop good-neighbourly relations in the region.”

The Croatian Foreign Minister for her part underlined the fact that Croatia today was an entirely different country from the time eleven years ago when the accession process began. Along this road, Croatia had built up functioning institutional structures, she said. It was now in Croatia’s vested interest for other countries in the region to embark upon a similar course of reform. “In order to stabilize the region, all countries need to be involved in the EU reforms,” Pusić said, adding that Croatia was exemplary in this respect: “If we could do it, so can others.”

In November 2000 Croatia became one of the first Western Balkan countries to participate in the EU’s stabilization and association process. A Stabilization and Association Agreement was concluded in 2001. In June 2004, the European Council officially granted Croatia candidate status. In the autumn of 2005, accession negotiations were taken up and successfully concluded on 30 June 2011. After the consent of the European Parliament had been obtained, the accession treaty was signed in Brussels on 9 December 2011. On 22 January 2012, the Croatian people voted in favour of accession in a referendum. As soon as ratification on the part of Croatia and the other 27 member states has been completed, the country is expected to accede to the EU on 1 July 2013.

A joint declaration on the posting of a Croatian diplomat in Mazar e Sharif/Afghanistan was signed on 15 June in the presence of Westerwelle and Pusić.

Last updated 15.06.2012

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