Croatia ‘Delays Date for Closing EU Talks’

Croatia has given up hope of completing European Union accession negotiations by the end of the year, the Croatian Times has reported. Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor had suggested two weeks ago that the talks would be completed by the end of 2010, or at the latest, the beginning of 2011.

But Croatia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gordan Jandrokovic, said at an informal meeting with several European Union ministers in Brussels on Friday that he believes Croatia will now finish the negotiations within the first six months of next year.

Croatia has delayed finalising competition policy due to the hurdles it faces in restructuring the shipbuilding industry.

But the European Union believes that, if Croatia makes the necessary effort, negotiations could be completed by March of next year, enabling Croatia to sign the accession agreement by June, according to the Times.

Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle has highlighted Croatian efforts as a good example for other states in the region to follow.

He said that Croatia’s success in EU negotiations, the country’s relations with its neighbours and Zagreb’s implementation of internal reforms should all serve as evidence for other states that they would be accepted into the EU if they do their part, the daily Jutarnji List writes.

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