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Croatia: end of negotiations to join EU in the first half of 2011 a sound possibility.

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gunnar3”Both for the EU and for the region, it is important that the conditionality linked to a credible EU enlargement process remains a strong incentive for reform. In this sense, the Croatian case is very important for regional dynamics because it can swing the doors wide open for the rest of the region. The goal is to have mutually cooperating countries of the Western Balkans inside the EU. We also expect that Croatia, as a Member State, will be actively contributing to EU policy in the region” emphasized Gunnar Hökmark MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group, at the 12th meeting of the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) which Mr Hökmark co-chaired with Croatian MP, Marija Pejčinović-Burić.

”Croatian Accession negotiations can be concluded in the first half of 2011 provided that Croatia meets all the outstanding closing benchmarks in the remaining chapters.”

”A credible enlargement also means Croatia has to be fully prepared for membership. Since our last meeting, the country has substantially advanced in EU negotiations and the end is in sight. It is now very important that Croatia engages all its reform potential in order to make sure that there are no hesitations left in anybody’s mind when the time comes to say yes to EU accession.”

Hökmark concluded by saying that ”once the Accession Treaty has been signed, the JPC Members and the EPP Group will do their utmost so that the European Parliament gives assent to the Croatian Accession Treaty in the shortest delay.”

For further information:
Gunnar HÖKMARK MEP, Tel: +32-2-284-5822
Lada Jurica, EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-476-330383

Note to Editors:
The EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is a body that brings together representatives of the European Parliament and of the Croatian Parliament twice a year to follow progress in Croatia’s EU accession process. The JPC is co-chaired by Gunnar Hökmark (EPP Group, SE), on the side of the European Parliament, and Marija Pejčinović-Burić (HDZ, EPP) on the side of the Croatian Parliament.

The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.