“Croatia has now advanced so far in its EU membership bid that the conclusion of negotiations is at hand. The next month will be decisive, and my hope is that in the next weeks Croatia’s progress will be positively evaluated in order to allow for EU accession negotiations to conclude by the end of June and no later than the summer recess,” said Gunnar Hökmark MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group and Chairman of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The Committee met for the 13th time on 16-17 May in Dubrovnik.
The June target date was supported by Members of the JPC who adopted a Declaration welcoming Croatia’s advancement in carrying out the reforms that are necessary to meet the obligations of EU membership and expressed hope that negotiations could be concluded by the end of June provided that all remaining benchmarks are fulfilled.
“The Croatian case is crucial for the future of the enlargement process,” said Hökmark. “We have to build on this momentum created by Croatia and make enlargement more tangible for the other countries in the region. We have been strict on Croatia, so that we could say, now that we stand at the end of the process, that the job has been done well. This will send a strong signal to other EU aspirants that reforms do pay off. It will also swing the door wide open for other countries to follow suit.”
“The future of the Western Balkans is in the European Union. All of us who support enlargement have to continue to make the case for democracy and the European future for the region. Croatia is only the first step,” continued Hökmark.
“Croatian EU accession process is also a success of the EU that demonstrates its political power and credibility. It demonstrates that while it is tackling internal issues that go to the core of the European idea, and dealing with the effects of the financial and economic crisis, the EU can reinforce its most successful policy and continue to consolidate the European space,” concluded Gunnar Hökmark MEP.
For more information:
Gunnar Hökmark MEP, tel.: +32-2-284-5822
Lada Jurica, tel.: +32-476-330383
Note to editors:
The EPP Group is the strongest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Croatia brings together parliamentarians from the European Parliament and the Croatian Parliament. It meets twice a year and is co-chaired by Gunnar Hökmark MEP (EPP, SE) on the side of the European Parliament, and Marija Pejčinović Burić (EPP, HDZ) on the side of the Croatian Parliament.