Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Union Tightens Conditions for Zagreb's Membership

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Union Tightens Conditions for Zagreb's Membership

Article excerpt

The European Union approved, on 12 February, a revised version of the Accession Partnership with Croatia, which stipulate more strict conditions for Zagreb's future membership of the Union. The catalogue of key priorities' listed in the document has been enlarged by a few new binding elements. One of them is the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (ZERP), which, despite protests from Slovenia and Italy, was activated by Zagreb on 1 January 2008. Unlike the previous version of the Accession Partnership adopted in 2006, the current version requires Croatia to "enhance efforts" to "resolve the ZERP issue". Back in 2006, the EU did not mention this issue as a key priority. It only called on Croatia "to continue the implementation of the trilateral agreement reached in June 2004". Under this agreement, Croatia was not supposed to apply the ZERP to EU member states unless a solution is reached on which all participants would agree.

The latest version of the Accession Partnership calls on Zagreb to step up its efforts to "find definitive solutions" to the outstanding border issues with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro. The previous version of the document had already requested Croatia to settle its border disputes with the countries listed above. Until now, however, Zagreb has failed to meet this requirement.

The EU has also decided to put more emphasis on Croatia's economic development. The Accession Partnership obliges Zagreb to "improve the business environment and economic growth potential," especially by "restricting subsidies, restructuring big money-losing companies and improving the effectiveness of public consumption". …

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