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Zagreb, 26 March 2013
Remarks by Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy to the press after the meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović
A short while ago I presented the Commission´s last Monitoring Report to the Croatian government. It is a positive report. Let me summarise its main findings it in four points:
First: Croatia is generally meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations, in all chapters.
Second: Croatia has demonstrated its ability to fulfil all other commitments in good time before accession.
Third: Croatia has completed the ten priority actions identified in our previous report last October.
Four: We are confident that Croatia will be ready to join the EU on 1 July 2013.
This is the result of a long and thorough process, and I wish to congratulate everyone who has worked in order to fullfil this goal.
This report is a clean bill of health. But to remain healthy you cannot fall asleep on the laurels.
The EU membership is an additional incentive to carry on with reforms. Croatia is expected to continue developing its track record in the field of the rule of law, notably in the fight against corruption.
Also, Croatia needs to continue its structural reforms – not only because it will join the eurozone in the future, but also to enhance the competitiveness of the economy.
Croatia is now a different country than it was at the start of the accession process. It also arrives to the European Union better prepared than some other acceding countries.
This is not the end. It ends by completing the ratification procedures by all Member States. Then a new chapters starts on the 1st July with Croatia's EU entry.
Croatia's is a success for enlargement. It is a proof of the credibility of the enlargement policy: when candidate country delivers on the criteria and commitments, the EU delivers on the membership perspective. This is also a good example for the rest of the region as it moves closer to the EU.
The EU membership offers substantial opportunities. These opportunities now need to be used so that Croatia´s participation in the EU will be a success – to the benefit of Croatia, its people, but also to the benefit of the Western Balkans and of the EU as a whole.''