Brussels, 6 June 2012
Remarks by Commissioner Füle following the EU-Croatia Stabilisation and Association Council
‘Today´s Stabilisation and Association Council with Croatia is the 8th one since we started the accession process with Zagreb and it might possibly be the last one before the accession of Croatia.
Since our previous meeting in April last year, Croatia made substantial progress: closed the negotiations, signed the Accession Treaty, approved it in the referendum and ratified it in the Parliament.
We are almost there: having Croatia as the next new member of the European Union (when the ratification process in the Member States is completed)
But: there is still work to be done and we had a good discussion today to assess the progress on Croatia's last preparations for membership.
Overall, Croatia is on track. Now, the Croatian authorities need to take all necessary measures identified in our spring Monitoring report to ensure that the country is fully prepared for membership by 1st of July next year.
Today´s Council was a first opportunity for follow-up on this report and we have focused on political and economic criteria as well as on outstanding issues in the areas of competition policy, judiciary and fundamental rights, as well as justice, freedom and security.
The Commission will continue monitoring the fulfilment of the commitments made by Croatia on the issues reflected in the spring Monitoring report. The remaining issues will be especially followed up in the context of the autumn Comprehensive Monitoring report.
During lunch we have also discussed regional issues, including the impact of Croatia´s EU entry on the neighbouring countries. We expect Croatia to continue to play an active role in regional cooperation.
Our enlargement policy works and we are determined to have Croatia as a success story on how enlargement leads to reforms, on how it transforms the society and on how it stabilises the neighbourhood.
That is why the successful accession of a well prepared Croatia to the European Union on 1 July 2013 is our joint priority.’