"We welcome the positive outcome of the referendum on Croatia's accession to the European Union. With this vote, Croatia's citizens have given their endorsement to European integration. We congratulate Croatia and its people on their choice: EU membership will open up new opportunities for them and help secure the stability and prosperity of their nation.
“With nearly all the votes counted, 66% of voters backed EU membership and with about 33% against.
“With this popular mandate, the Croatian government can now complete the remaining preparations for membership. We are looking forward to a smooth ratification process by the Croatian Parliament as well as by the Parliaments of all EU Member States, so that Croatia can become the Union's 28th member on 1 July 2013.
“The upcoming accession of Croatia sends a clear signal to the whole region of South Eastern Europe. It shows that through political courage and determined reforms, EU membership is within reach. Today's positive vote is therefore good news for Croatia, good news for the region, and good news for Europe."
Last December 2011, Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was among the 27 EU leaders who signed Croatia’s Accession Treaty so as to begin the process for formal ratification. Croatia will become the 28th member state of the EU on 1st July 2013.
Just a few days earlier, the three Maltese MEPs present, the Nationalist Party’s Simon Busuttil and David Casa and Labour’s Edward Scicluna, voted in favour.