Š. Füle in Zagreb: We want Croatia to be a success story
Zagreb, 26 November 2012 - Press statement by Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood policy Štefan Füle at the end of his visit to Croatia where he had meetings with Croatian President, Ivo Josipović, Prime Minister, Zoran Milanović, Deputy Prime Minister, Neven Mimica and President of the Parliament, Mr Josip Leko. ''It is good to be in Croatia and to see how the country is changing on its way to becoming the next member of the European Union. I had very good talks today with the President, Speaker of the Sabor, Prime Minister, and Deputy Prime Ministers. We discussed our last Comprehensive Monitoring report on completing the preparations for membership and the actions that Croatia must take in order to meet all the outstanding commitments and to be fully prepared in time for accession. Only few months remain to deliver results; this is the final lap.
The areas we have identified are: competition, the judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security, as well as the translation of the acquis.
Croatia also needs to make further efforts in a number of Chapters, such as agriculture, the environment, and preparations for the structural funds. Completing the preparations in these fields is primarily in Croatia's own interest.
I welcome the strong commitment of our Croatian partners to move the process forward. We expect significant progress in the coming months, in view of our next Monitoring Report, to be published in the spring.
I am confident that Croatia will make it and will be able to assume the obligations of membership on the 1st of July next year.
Today, we have also discussed regional issues and I encouraged Croatia to continue its efforts to find mutually acceptable solutions to open issues with its neighbours, including border issues.
In short, we want Croatia to be a success story: for the benefit of its citizens, for the credibility of the enlargement. And also for the benefit of the region, since you can be a role model for other aspirants in the Western Balkans.''
Commissioner Füle started the day by meeting the President Ivo Josipović. After he meeting he said: "I had a very good meeting with the President. We have focused on two issues. One is to make sure that the success story of Croatia continues in the run up to the entry on the 1st of July and after that as well, because it will be good for the Croatian citizens but also for the citizens of other countries in the region. I think Croatia is well on track, I am very reassured by the Croatian commitment to tackle the remaining issues in finalising the preparations for EU membership as we have identified them in the last Comprehensive monitoring report. I am confident that in the remaining time Croatia will see the end of the ratification process and will join the EU on the 1st of July 2013.
The second issue we have focused on is that Croatia's entry next year would provide the country with an additional and specific role to which the Commission is very much looking forward: it is what I would see as a joint endeavour to help the other candidate and aspirant countries in the region to deliver also on their European aspirations using the Croatian experience, using the positive momentum created by Croatia's EU entry and also using the lead of Croatia on some of the issues. I am very much looking forward to the remaining 7 months, to Croatia's last lap towards membership of the EU."
Apart from bilateral meetings Commissioner Füle also spoke at 4th Balkan Civil Society Forum.
More information Commissioner Füle 's article on how the EU prepares for Croatia's entry, Commissioner's speech at the 4th Western Balkan Civil Society Forum and the Press points from the end of the visit