Eight years after Croatia’s initial application to join the European Union, member-states have agreed on the wording of the 350-page treaty spelling out the legal obligations and rights stemming from membership.
Croatia will become the EU’s twenty-eighth member on 1 July 2013, provided ratification is completed in all member-states by then.
Unlike Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the bloc in 2007 but were kept under a ”safeguard clause” that could have delayed membership by one year, EU states “have full confidence in the Croatian authorities” in tackling corruption and organised crime and in upholding human rights, a source in the Polish EU presidency said.
But with general elections scheduled for 4 December, days before the official signing of the accession treaty, Croatian politics is already heating up, with the prime minister, Jadranka Kosor, in facesaving mode after her party’s accountant was arrested for corruption.
“This is an orchestrated campaign to minimise the [ruling party] HDZ’s chances in the upcoming election,” she said in a press conference. “They want to create the impression that we’re all the same, that we’re all dirty, that there are factions fighting amongst themselves in the HDZ.”