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Croatia ‘could join EU in January 2013’

Friday 28 January 2011 – by Andrew Hickley

Croatia is making progress towards joining the EU, but won’t enter until 2013 at the earliest, according to the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the country’s accession.

“If all goes well, a possible date for admission would be 1 January 2013,” Hannes Swoboda was quoted today as saying by press agency Hina, as he set out conditions including reform of the country’s anti-corruption and competition policies.

The comments follow the European Parliament’s adoption of a resolution on Wednesday saying membership negotiations could be completed by the end of the first half of 2011, provided it continue its “substantial progress” on reforms.

The resolution concluded that it must however first make efforts to fight corruption, fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and reform its public administration.

Following EU accession talks, all 27 member states will then have around a year-long period to ratify the accession treaty.

“If a problem crops up somewhere then we should work on making entry possible on 1 January 2014 so that Croatia could participate in elections for the European Parliament that year,” the Austrian added.

Croatia would likely become the 29th member of the union, having originally applied for EU membership in 2003.

Iceland too is undergoing a screening process with a view to also joining in 2013.

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