Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Meps Want Zagreb to Complete Accession Talks This Year

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Meps Want Zagreb to Complete Accession Talks This Year

Article excerpt

In an unprecedented display of cross-party agreement, the European Parliament gave Croatia thumbs up for its efforts made in 2009 to qualify for EU membership, concluding that the country could complete its accession talks by the end of 2010. However, the Greens - who in general support Croatia's speedy admission to the EU - remained opposed to the idea of setting 2010 as a target date for completing the negotiations.

During the Parliament's plenary debate on Croatia's 2009 progress report, held on 10 February, all the political groups as well as the representatives of the European Commission and the Council agreed that Zagreb made "great progress" last year, especially with regard to one of the most serious shortcomings - the fight against corruption and organised crime. "Now no one is protected in the fight against corruption, no one is above the law and that's a good signal," said Hannes Swoboda (S&D, Austria), the Parliament's rapporteur on Croatia.

This time last year Croatia was strongly criticised by MEPs for widespread corruption and a poor record in fighting graft and organised crime. Back then progress in this field was identified as indispensable for the country to successfully finalise its accession talks.

The current positive assessment by Parliament is the direct result of a series of reforms launched by the recently appointed Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor, who took over from Ivo Sanader. Immediately after taking up her post, she launched fresh investigations into state-run firms, resulting in dozens of officials being detained, according to media reports. …

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