Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia: Membership Talks Launched as War Crimes Cooperation Confirmed

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia: Membership Talks Launched as War Crimes Cooperation Confirmed

Article excerpt

Establishing full cooperation with ICTY was the only remaining obstacle to the start of accession negotiations and the EU has been listening carefully to Ms Del Ponte's advice. Croatia's accession talks were postponed in March as its war crimes efforts were deemed insufficient.

Developments in Luxembourg appeared sudden although back in June EU Foreign Ministers had already signalled that 'three to four months' were needed to determine whether Croatia's efforts to establish full war crimes cooperation had produced tangible results.

The new Del Ponte announcement immediately paved the way for the launch of membership talks, just as such negotiations were also being opened with Turkey. Foreign Ministers gave the go-ahead after the task force had positively assessed Croatia's efforts, and a ministerial accession conference was held to formally launch the talks.

In a set of conclusions, Ministers also made clear that sustaining full co-operation with ICTY would remain a requirement for progress throughout Croatia's accession process. They welcomed the "clear commitment" by the Croatian Prime Minister that full co-operation would be maintained until the last remaining indictee - wanted General Ante Gotovina - was in The Hague.

Ministers decided that their conclusions would form part of the framework setting out the principles and procedures for the negotiations with Croatia. …

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