Edition: Lublin 2011
Croatia is the only country of the Western Balkans which will soon enter the EU. It started the accession negotiations in 2005, and in December 2008 the talks were de facto stopped on the initiative of Slovenia, due to the unresolved disagreement between the two states over the sea borderline. Till the time Croatia managed to close some negotiation chapters and a further few to open. On principle the EC spoke positively about the directions of reforms carried out by the Croatian government, but a lot of problems remained unresolved at the time. Among them there are inefficient judiciary system and incompetent administration as well as low effectiveness in the fight with corruption and organised crime. Almost the whole year 2009 passed on Croatia’s attempts to solve the argument with Slovenia. Only at the end of the year, after the resignation of the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, a new Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor led to the conclusion of the agreement on this issue and to the renewal of the membership talks with the EU. Soon we will be able to see not only the acceleration of Croatia’s accession negotiations, but also the actions of a newly elected President Sanader for the improvement of relations with Serbia, as the EU recommended. In the report on Croatia’s progress on the way to the EU from November 2010, the European Council stated that in the first quarter of the following year it would publish an additional document concerning the negotiations in the fields of judiciary and basic rights which the country had greatest difficulty with. In spite of the EC’s criticism in the announced report, in June 2011 the EC recommended the closing of the negotiations with Croatia in this and some other chapters, which soon led to the end of the negotiations. If after signing the accession treaty with Croatia, planned for December 2011 in Warsaw, there will not be any complications in its ratification by the EU states, this country will become the 28th EU member in June 2013. Croatia’s accession will be a clear sign that the process of EU enlargement is being continued. After entering the EU, this country will possibly maintain good relations with the EU leaders, but it may also be interested in the Central European or Mediterranean co-operation. Croatia’s membership will not have any visible effects for the functioning of the EU institutions or economy.