Commissioner for enlargement Stefan Füle said: "We are confident that this will happen because negotiations have been in depth and substantial. The negotiations have been structured along 35 different chapters covering the complete range of areas which fall under the competence of the European Union. For each of these chapters, Croatia had to fulfil clear criteria to open and to close the negotiations."
Speaking on this important step forward towards EU membership for Croatia, the Commission President Jose Manual Barroso said it was a signal to the rest to of South Eastern Europe.
"It shows that enlargement works, that the EU is serious about its commitment, and that structural European reforms in the countries pay off," Mr Barroso said. "I therefore hope that Croatia's progress is an inspiration to our other partners to reinvigorate their reform efforts and to deliver to the benefit of their people. This is also in the EU’s self-interest. As I saw again during my two recent visits to the region, a credible enlargement policy remains our most important tool for strengthening mutual stability and prosperity in South Eastern Europe."
Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003, and formal negations began October 2005.