Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Ministers Inch Closer to Consensus on Zagreb's Accession

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia : Ministers Inch Closer to Consensus on Zagreb's Accession

Article excerpt

The accession negotiations with Croatia will top the agenda of the General Affairs Council, on 21 June in Luxembourg. The ministers will attempt to iron out all remaining differences on the closing of the last four negotiating chapters, with the aim of paving the way for the conclusion of accession talks with Zagreb by the end of June. "There are still a few issues on which consensus needs to be reached," an EU diplomat said, on 17 June. He made it clear, however, that even if an agreement is struck on 21 June, no chapters would be formally closed. "For this we need the intergovernmental conference (IGC)," he said.

The Hungarian EU Presidency, which is steering the enlargement discussions in the Council and is in charge of convening the IGC, had announced earlier that such a meeting will take place on 21 June, on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council. However, faced with the lack of agreement among the member states on the closure of the remaining chapters, Budapest decided to postpone the IGC to a later date. Talks with Croatia are still ongoing within the Council on competition (Chapter 8), judiciary and fundamental rights (23), financial and budgetary provisions (33) and other issues (35).

It is not yet clear what the new date for the IGC will be. "The IGC could be convened shortly after the General Affairs Council and before the European Council [23-24 June] or after the European Council but still before the end of June," the EU diplomat said. …

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