Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Zagreb Could Suspend Ecological Zone to Salvage Eu Bid

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Zagreb Could Suspend Ecological Zone to Salvage Eu Bid

Article excerpt

In a bid to unblock Croatia's EU accession negotiations, the ruling Democratic Union (HDZ), led by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, is intent on suspending the application of the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (ZERP) in the Adriatic to the member states of the Union. A proposal to this effect was put forward by Sanader at the first session of the newly constituted National Committee for the Supervision of Negotiations with the European Union.

"The prime minister talked about the possibility of leaving ZERP in force, but refraining from its implementation [for EU member countries] until Croatia enters the EU," the committee's Chairwoman, Vesna Pusic, said at a press conference following the meeting on 11 March.

Asked for comment, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said that once the "issue is settled in the European spirit, the negotiations will move faster". He expressed his confidence that the conflict can be solved "shortly". Rehn's comments came at a press conference following the EU foreign ministers' meeting, on 10 March in Brussels.

The new proposal on the ZERP will be further discussed at the second meeting of the committee on 12 March, Sanader confirmed. He expressed hope that his coalition partner, the Peasants' Party (HSS) - the staunchest supporter of the ZERPa- would agree to the partial suspension of the zone. "I think the HDZ and the HSS are on the same line, which is [the determination] to defend national interests," Sanader said. "We only need to see which national interest is the greatest at the moment [the benefits of ZERP or the benefits of the EU integration process]," he added. …

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