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Press release: Croatia is ready to become a Member of the European Union. Gunnar Hökmark, MEP

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”Croatia has made impressive progress in all areas and is continuing with the reforms that were part of the criteria for accession. I have no doubt that on 1 July 2013 every single voice will welcome Croatia into the EU,” said Gunnar Hökmark MEP, Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Croatia, welcoming the European Commission Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Croatia’s state of preparedness for EU Membership made public today.

The report is a half-yearly exercise by which the European Commission assesses how Croatia continues with the agreed reforms which are now irreversible.

”Croatia will have no problems fulfilling the remaining commitments regarding a limited number of issues, in time for accession. I see good progress in the three chapters under closer monitoring, but I also see that this time the report has put more focus on the economic criteria. As a Member State Croatia will have to assume all burdens on Membership and its economy has to be able to cope with the market pressures in the EU,” continued Hökmark.

The Accession Treaty with Croatia foresees closer monitoring of Chapter 23 Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, Chapter 8 Competition Policy and Chapter 24 Justice, Freedom and Security.

Hökmark stressed that these monitoring reports are important for smooth ratification in EU Member States of the Croatian Accession Treaty: ”Some states have been waiting for this mid-term review of Croatia. That is why I am satisfied things are moving in the right direction. 15 EU Member States have ratified the Treaty so far, as well as the Croatian Parliament. The Monitoring Report should certainly further speed up the process.”

”Croatia’s road to membership sets a good example for its neighbours. Croatia’s accession will represent an important step for the whole region and motivate candidate and potential candidate countries to continue with their own efforts to join the European Union,” concluded Gunnar Hökmark by highlighting the regional dimension of Croatian EU entry.