On the 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the EU after a decade of carrying out all the reforms needed to bring it into line with EU laws and standards.
Croatia will share not only the benefits of EU membership, but also the responsibilities that come with it. The country takes an equal role in decision making with its 27 EU counterparts. In April 2013, Croatian voters went to the polls to choose 12 members of the European Parliament. The country has also appointed its EU Commissioner, Neven Mimica.
There are benefits for both Croatia and the rest of Europe. It strengthens stability in the entire Western Balkans region. It expands the EU's internal market, along with new opportunities for EU businesses and customers. In addition, it expands the area where EU standards apply, be it in energy, transport or environmental protection. It also enhances the EU's cultural diversity and human potential, facilitating mobility and exchange opportunities for students and researchers.
Croatia – situated in the Western Balkans on the Adriatic Sea - has been an independent country since 1991. It applied for EU membership in 2003 and was in negotiations from 2005 until 2011. On 9 December 2011 leaders from the EU and Croatia signed the accession treaty.
Throughout the interim period until the accession, Croatia as an acceding country had active observer status in the European Institutions. The purpose was to allow Croatia to become familiar with the working methods of the EU institutions and to be involved in the decision-making process.
June 1991: Croatia declares independence
October 2001: Signs the Stabilisation and Association Agreement
February 2003: Applies for EU membership
June 2004: Obtains candidate status
October 2005: Accession negotiations start
December 2011: Signs EU Accession Treaty
January 2012: EU accession referendum: two-thirds in favour
July 2013: Croatia joins the EU