EU closes accession negotiations with Croatia
The European Union (EU) decided on Thursday to close accession negotiations with Croatia, which will allow for its signature of the Accession Treaty by the end of the year, Xinhua reported.
Following the ratification procedure in all EU member states and Croatia, the accession is foreseen for 1 July 2013, said an EU statement.
"We are celebrating this historic event with our Croatian friends: within 20 years as an independent republic, Croatia has changed tremendously. It has made impressive progress towards meeting the EU membership criteria. This is being rewarded today," said Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.
He said the EU will continue to monitor how Croatia delivers on its commitments so that it will be able to fully assume the responsibilities of membership from the first day of accession.
The decision marks a successful end to six-years of negotiations during which Croatia has been asked not only to adopt new laws and regulations to comply with EU standards, but also to implement them.
Croatia will receive EU fund to boost its economy and rural development, said the statement.
After the closure of the talks with EU member states, an accession treaty with Croatia is expected to be signed within six months, following a formal opinion by the Commission, consent from the European Parliament, and a decision by the European Council.
After that, all EU member states and Croatia will launch ratification procedures in line with their own national rules, in most cases by a vote in parliament.