European Council: Conclusion of the accession negotiations before the end of June
The European Council meeting, held in Brussels on 23-24 June, agreed that the accession negotiations with Croatia should be concluded by the end of June 2011, thus confirming its strong commitment in terms of the enlargement perspective of the Western Balkans.
In its Conclusions, European Council commended Croatia for its intensive efforts, which have allowed accession negotiations to reach their final stage. The ongoing examination of the remaining negotiating chapters by the Council is being conducted in full respect of strict conditionality and in line with the negotiating framework. In the light of the progress made and the Commission´s positive assessment, the European Council invited the Council to take all necessary decisions for the conclusion of the accession negotiations with Croatia by the end of June 2011 on the basis of the draft common positions recently presented by the Commission, with a view to the signing of the Accession Treaty before the end of the year.
Croatia should continue its reform efforts with the same vigour, in particular as regards the judiciary and fundamental rights, so as to be able to assume fully the obligations of membership from the date of accession. Monitoring up to accession of these reform efforts will give the necessary assurance to Croatia and current Member States. The Council, acting by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, may take all appropriate measures.
After the European Council meeting Herman Van Rompuy regarding Croatia stated: The European Council paved the way for Croatia´s accession to the EU as the 28th Member State. We expect the Council to conclude the accession negotiations very soon, before the end of June. We would then sign the Accession Treaty before the end of the year.This future accession of Croatia brings new momentum to the European vocation of the countries in the Western Balkans.
European Commission President Barroso made the following remarks: We stand on the verge of a historic moment for Croatia and for the Western Balkans as a whole, and also for the European Union. I am confident that Croatia will continue its preparations for membership until then with the same vigour as it has done over the past months. The European perspective of the Western Balkans is very real. It is also a significant contribution to peace, reconciliation and stability in the Western Balkans.
Video from the Joint press conference with European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President Jose Manuel BarrosoHungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, and the Croatian Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor.
More information is available on the European Council website.