- Accession of Croatia to the European Union
Croatian EU accession bid EU member state average Croatia PPP GDP ($M) 552,780 82.272 Area (km2) 165,048 56,542 Population 18,583,598 4,453,500 Status
Opened chapters: 33 Closed chapters: 33 Website
Croatia applied for European Union membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council in mid-2004. The entry negotiations, while originally set for March 2005, began in October that year together with the screening process.
Croatia finished accession negotiations on 30 June 2011. Signing of the Accession treaty and Croatian referendum are both expected to take place in the second half of 2011. The ratification process, by the Parliaments of all 27 EU member states, is expected to be concluded by the end of June 2013. Therefore, entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU is expected to take place on 1 July 2013.
Croatian public opinion has been generally supportive of the EU accession process. Spikes in Euroscepticism have occasionally happened, for example in April 2011 due to the association of the Hague tribunal with the EU.
Issues of dispute
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Croatia has had to extradite several of its citizens to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a United Nations body, an issue that was often contentious in domestic politics.
Croatia's relations with the court had continuously been cited by the EU officials as something that required further improvement. Ratification of the EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Croatia had been stalled because of this.
The European Council, after its summit of 20 December 2004, set the following 17 March as the date to start entry negotiations, provided that Croatia continued to cooperate fully with the ICTY. On 16 March 2005 – the day before talks were to begin – the EU postponed the commencement of negotiations, because the ICTY prosecution assessed the Croatian efforts to capture the fugitive general Ante Gotovina (indicted by the ICTY for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but at large since 2001) as neither timely nor sufficient.
On 7 December 2005 Spanish Police finally arrested Ante Gotovina with the help of the Spanish and Croatian government on the Spanish island of Tenerife, located in the Canary Islands. He was brought to The Hague to be tried for war crimes. With the arrest of Ante Gotovina this issue seems to be now resolved, and entry negotiations have begun anew, after the certification of ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte that Croatia now fully cooperates with the ICTY.
In April 2011, Croatian generals Gotovina and Markač were given extended prison sentences at the ICTY, which was widely perceived as unjust in the Croatian public. Because of a perceived association of the ICTY (a United Nations body) with the European Union, this caused an increase in opposition to the accession.
Croatia must also contend with long-standing border issues with Slovenia. Good trade relations have precluded this up to December 2008 when Slovenia's blockade of Croatia's EU accession stalled the negotiating process for 10 months. In September 2009, it was announced that Slovenia would remove restraints on Croatia's negotiations with the EU without prejudice to the international mediation on the border dispute. However, as of April 2010, Slovenia is still blocking opening of Chapter 31 (Foreign, Security & Defence Policy). As of June 2010, Slovenia has voted to accept the ruling of international arbitrators on the dispute, removing this obstacle. Croatia has border disputes with Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro, but these countries are not European Union members and cannot directly block the accession process. In December 2008 Croatia and Montenegro agreed that the outstanding sea border issue between the two countries should be settled before an international court whose decision would be accepted in advance by the parliaments of the two countries.
Free acquisition of real estate by foreigners is a sensitive issue in Croatia. This matter particularly concerns Italians, especially in Istria. While it has strong cultural and historic ties with Italy, the events surrounding World War II, when Istria changed hands between the Kingdom of Italy and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, remain pertinent. Numerous Italian politicians expressed their discontent concerning the inability of Italians to purchase land in Croatia, considering it discriminatory treatment and stating that the issue should be resolved as soon as possible.
Croatia denied discrimination, say that Croatian legislation provided for the same treatment of all EU citizens concerning. In mid-2006, Croatia and Italy came to an agreement allowing Italian citizens to purchase land in Croatia and Croatian citizens to purchase land in Italy. Other EU members had to resolve similar issues before their accession to the EU. Examples of this include Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, and especially Malta.
Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council (the EU's heads of state and/or government) in mid-2004 and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations, while originally set for early 2005, was postponed to October of the same year. Before starting negotiations with Croatia, the acquis was divided into 35 chapters, 4 more than the usual 31; the new chapters, previously part of the agricultural policy, are areas expected to be troublesome, as they were with the other applicants. Following the opening of accession negotiations on 3 October 2005, the process of screening 35 acquis chapters with Croatia was completed on 18 October 2006. Negotiation had been restrained for 10 months because of a border dispute with Slovenia, but in September 2009 it was announced that Slovenia would remove restraints on Croatia's negotiations with the EU without prejudice to the international mediation on the border dispute.
Acquis chapter EC Assessment at Start Current situation Screening Started Screening Completed Chapter Frozen Chapter Unfrozen Chapter Opened Chapter Closed 1. Free Movement of Goods Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 16.1.2006 24.2.2006 - - 25.7.2008 19.4.2010 2. Freedom of Movement For Workers Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 19.7.2006 11.9.2006 - - 17.6.2008 2.10.2009 3. Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 21.11.2005 20.12.2005 - - 26.6.2007 21.12.2009 4. Free Movement of Capital Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 25.11.2005 22.12.2005 12.2008 10.2009 2.10.2009 5.11.2010 5. Public Procurement Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 7.11.2005 28.11.2005 - - 19.12.2008 30.6.2010 6. Company Law Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 21.6.2006 20.7.2006 12.2008 10.2009 26.6.2007 2.10.2009 7. Intellectual Property Law No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 6.2.2006 3.3.2006 - - 29.3.2007 19.12.2008 8. Competition Policy Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 8.11.2005 2.12.2005 - - 30.6.2010 30.06.2011 9. Financial Services Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 29.3.2006 3.5.2006 - - 26.6.2007 27.11.2009 10. Information Society & Media No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 12.6.2006 14.7.2006 - - 26.7.2007 19.12.2008 11. Agriculture & Rural Development Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 5.12.2005 26.1.2006 12.2008 10.2009 2.10.2009 19.4.2011 12. Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 9.3.2006 28.4.2006 12.2008 10.2009 2.10.2009 27.7.2010 13. Fisheries Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 24.2.2006 31.3.2006 12.2008 2.2010 19.2.2010 6.6.2011 14. Transport Policy Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 26.6.2006 28.9.2006 - - 21.4.2008 5.11.2010 15. Energy Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 15.5.2006 16.6.2006 - - 21.4.2008 27.11.2009 16. Taxation Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 6.6.2006 12.7.2006 12.2008 10.2009 2.10.2009 30.6.2010 17. Economic & Monetary Policy No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 16.2.2006 23.3.2006 - - 21.12.2006 19.12.2008 18. Statistics No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 19.6.2006 18.7.2006 12.2008 10.2009 26.6.2007 2.10.2009 19. Social Policy & Employment Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 8.2.2006 22.3.2006 - - 17.6.2008 21.12.2009 20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 27.3.2006 5.5.2006 - - 21.12.2006 25.7.2008 21. Trans-European Networks No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 30.6.2006 29.9.2006 12.2008 10.2009 19.12.2007 2.10.2009 22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 11.9.2006 10.10.2006 12.2008 10.2009 2.10.2009 19.4.2011 23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 6.9.2006 13.10.2006 - - 30.6.2010 30.06.2011 24. Justice, Freedom & Security Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 23.1.2006 15.2.2006 12.2008 10.2009 2.10.2009 22.12.2010 25. Science & Research No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 20.10.2005 14.11.2005 - - 12.6.2006 12.6.2006 26. Education & Culture No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 26.10.2005 16.11.2005 - - 11.12.2006 11.12.2006 27. Environment Totally incompatible with acquis Generally aligned with the acquis 3.4.2006 2.6.2006 12.2008 2.2010 19.2.2010 22.12.2010 28. Consumer & Health Protection Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 8.6.2006 11.7.2006 - - 12.10.2007 27.11.2009 29. Customs Union Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 31.1.2006 14.3.2006 12.2008 10.2009 21.12.2006 2.10.2009 30. External Relations No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 10.7.2006 13.9.2006 - - 12.10.2007 30.10.2008 31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 14.9.2006 6.10.2006 12.2008 4.2010 30.6.2010 22.12.2010 32. Financial Control Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 18.5.2006 30.6.2006 - - 26.6.2007 27.7.2010 33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 6.9.2006 4.10.2006 - - 19.12.2007 30.06.2011 34. Institutions Nothing to adopt - - - - - 5.11.2010 5.11.2010 35. Other Issues Nothing to adopt - - - - - 30.06.2011 30.06.2011 Progress 33 out of 33 33 out of 33 13 out of 33 13 out of 13 35 out of 35 35 out of 35
Date Event 4 March 1998 Ministry of European Integration formed within the Croatian Government. 29 October 2001 Croatia signs the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. 21 February 2003 Formal application for membership submitted. 9 October 2003 Croatia submits answers to the Commission's Questionnaire. 20 April 2004 European Commission replies to the answers with a positive opinion (Avis). 18 June 2004 Croatia receives official candidate status. 20 December 2004 European Council sets the date for the entry negotiations to begin 17 March 2005. 1 February 2005 SAA comes into force. 16 March 2005 Negotiations postponed. 3 October 2005 The beginning of negotiations. 20 October 2005 Beginning of the screening process. 12 June 2006 1 chapter is opened & closed: Science & Research. 28 June 2006 2 chapters are opened: Competition Policy and Customs Union. 20 July 2006 1 chapter is opened: Social Policy & Employment. 11 December 2006 1 chapter is opened & closed: Education & Culture. 29 March 2007 1 chapter is opened: Intellectual Property Law. 26 June 2007 6 chapters are opened: Company Law, Financial Control, Financial Services, Information Society & Media, Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services, and Statistics. 12 October 2007 2 chapters are opened: Consumer & Health Protection and External Relations. 20 December 2007 2 chapters are opened: Trans-European Networks and Financial & Budgetary Provisions. 21 April 2008 2 chapters are opened: Energy and Transport Policy. 17 June 2008 2 chapters are opened: Freedom of Movement For Workers and Social Policy & Employment. 25 July 2008 1 chapter is opened: Free Movement of Goods. 1 chapter is closed: Enterprise & Industrial Policy. 30 October 2008 1 chapter is closed: External Relations. 19 December 2008 1 chapter is opened: Public Procurement. 3 chapters are closed: Economic & Monetary Policy, Information Society & Media, and Intellectual Property Law. 23 April 2009 EU calls off talks with Croatia due to the latter having a border dispute with Slovenia over the Bay of Piran. 11 September 2009 Slovenia agrees on an immediate ending of its blockade of Croatia's EU accession & further negotiation of the Gulf of Piran border dispute between the 2 countries. 2 October 2009 Croatia closed 5 chapters & opened 6. Chapters that were closed: Company Law, Customs Union, Freedom of Movement of Workers, Statistics, and Trans-European Networks. 27 November 2009 3 chapters are closed: Consumer & Health Protection, Energy, and Financial Services. 21 December 2009 2 chapters are closed: Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services and Social Policy & Employment. 19 February 2010 2 chapters are opened: Environment & Fisheries. 19 April 2010 1 chapter is closed: Free Movement of Goods. 30 June 2010 2 chapters are closed: Taxation and Public Procurement. 3 chapters are opened: Foreign, Security & Defence Policy, Judiciary & Fundamental Rights, and Competition Policy. 27 July 2010 2 chapters are closed: Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy and Financial Control. 5 November 2010 3 chapters are closed: Institutions, Transport Policy and Free Movement of Capital. 22 December 2010 3 chapters are closed: 24. Justice, Freedom & Security, 27. Environment and 31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy. 19 April 2011 2 chapters are closed: 11. Agriculture & Rural Development, 22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments  6 June 2011 1 chapter is closed: 13. Fisheries 10 June 2011 Commission recommends closing of the negotiations and sets 1 July 2013 as target entry date 24 June 2011 European Council calls for finishing negotiations by the end of June and signing of the Treaty of Accession by the end of 2011 30 June 2011 End of accession negotiations. Final 4 chapters are closed: 8. Competition Policy, 23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights, 33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions and 35. Other Issues.
Date of accession
Originally, Croatia had been aiming for a 2007 accession date—such an accomplishment would have broken Slovakia's record of 2.5 years of negotiations to complete the process. However with the closing of negotiations on 30 June 2011, accession is expected on 1 July 2013.
On 5 November 2008, the European Commission's annual progress report on Croatia's candidacy was published. Rehn stated that the country should complete accession negotiations by the end of 2009, with membership following by 2011 at the latest. In 2009 it was reported that Iceland may be fast-tracked into the European Union. Rehn said that "the EU prefers two countries joining at the same time rather than individually. If Iceland applies shortly and the negotiations are rapid, Croatia and Iceland could join the EU in parallel". The last non-acquis hurdle to membership, the maritime border dispute with Slovenia, was overcome in November 2009.
Croatia finished accession negotiations on 30 June 2011. Signing of the Accession treaty and Croatian referendum are both expected to take place in the second half of 2011. The ratification process, by the parliaments of all 27 EU member states, is expected to take around a year and a half if no controversy arises. Therefore, entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU is expected by 1 July 2013.
Croatian public opinion is divided on EU accession. The opinion polling for the EU referendum has shown the population is mostly in favour of the accession, but often with only a relative majority. Public support has wavered from a high of 80% to lows of 26-38%. Among other factors, political analyst Višeslav Raos cited economic problems within the EU: "[Croatians] know that the European Union is not a remedy to all economic and social problems. So the EU itself is in a sort of crisis, and that reflects on Croatia's accession." The government announced an information campaign to reverse the drop in support.
An opinion poll conducted by Ipsos Puls and published in December 2010 indicated that 76 per cent of those polled would vote in a referendum on the subject and that 64 per cent of this group would vote "yes" to membership, 29 per cent would vote "no" and seven per cent were undecided.
- ^ "Negotiations Chapters". Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Croatia. http://www.delhrv.ec.europa.eu/?lang=en&content=67. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
- ^ a b "EU closes accession negotiations with Croatia". European Commission. 30 June 2011. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/824&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- ^ "EU Summit: Accession Treaty with Croatia to be signed in 2011". www.eu2011.hu. 27 June 2011. http://www.eu2011.hu/news/eu-summit-accession-treaty-croatia-be-signed-2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- ^ "Slovenia unblocks Croatian EU bid". BBC News. 11 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8250441.stm. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- ^ "Slovenia backs Croatia border deal in referendum vote". BBC News. 6 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/10248037.stm. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- ^ "Croatia, Montenegro agree sea border issue should be settled before international court". Government of Croatia. March 12, 2008. http://www.vlada.hr/en/naslovnica/novosti_i_najave/2008/ozujak/predsjednik_vlade_s_predsjednikom_vlade_crne_gore. Retrieved 2009-12-27.
- ^ "Ec.europa.eu". Ec.europa.eu. http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/candidate-countries/croatia/eu_croatia_relations_en.htm. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
- ^ "Slovenia unblocks Croatian EU bid". BBC News. 11 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8250441.stm. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- ^ Excluding Chapters 34 (Institutions) and 35 (Other Issues) since these are not legislation chapters.
- ^ In this case Chapters 34 and 35 are taken into account as also if they had not been provisionally opened, they have to be closed the same
- ^ Prime Minister Kosor meets with EU delegation head Vandoren January 17 2011, Government of the Republic Croatia, Retrieved 24 January 2011
- ^ "Vlada: 6 / predsjednik Vlade: Mr. sc. Zlatko Mateša". Hidran.hidra.hr. http://hidran.hidra.hr/hidrarad/rh/rh66.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- ^ "Hrvatska zatvara poglavlja Poljoprivreda i Regionalna politika". http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6507243,00.html.
- ^ Statement by President Barroso on Croatia – Commission proposes to close the last "Chapters" in the accession talks European Commission, 10 June 2011
- ^ Traynor, Ian (2008-11-05). "Croatia given timetable for EU entry". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/05/croatia-eu. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- ^ Traynor, Ian (2009-01-30). "Iceland to be fast-tracked into the EU". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/30/iceland-join-eu. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- ^ Croatia: EU membership in 2014, at latest Balkans.com, 2011-01-31
- ^ a b c "Croatians waver over European Union membership". BBC News. January 9, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12111568. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- ^ "Croatian support for EU membership grows: poll". EUbusiness.com. 2 December 2010. http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/croatia-enlarge.7fc/. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- Jović, Dejan (April 2006). "Croatia and the European Union: a long delayed journey". Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans 8 (1): 85–103. doi:10.1080/14613190600595598. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/cjsb/2006/00000008/00000001/art00006.
- Official website - Negotiations for the Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union
- Official EU-website concerning enlargement
- BBC News: inside Europe: EU enlargement
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