The Balkan state of Croatia signed a formal agreement with the EU on Friday, paving the way for full membership of the block by July 2013. But the milestone has been overshadowed by widening rifts between existing EU states.
REUTERS - Croatia signed an accession treaty with the European Union on Friday, paving way for the ex-Yugoslav state to become the EU’s 28th state in 2013 as a reward for deep democratic and economic reforms.
EU politicians hope Croatia’s membership will persuade other countries in the Balkans that reforms pay off and accelerate democratic transition in the region torn by ethnic wars in the 1990s.
Speaking during a signing ceremony in Brussels, held on the sidelines of a summit of EU heads of state, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the bloc remained committed to welcoming Balkan states despite its economic woes.
“The achievement of Croatia proves to all in the region that through hard work, persistence, political courage and determination, EU membership is within reach,” Van Rompuy said.
“Croatia is a pioneer, demonstrating in a tangible way that the future of the Western Balkans as a whole lies in the European Union. The Union remains committed to this perspective."
Date created : 2011-12-09