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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Jadranka Kosor, Prime Minister of Republic of Croatia

Press point

Brussels, 25 October 2010

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to welcome Jadranka Kosor back to the Commission. We had a very good working session which has been useful in advance of the Commission's Annual Enlargement Package that we will present on 9th November.

Obviously, I will not pre-empt what the Commission will decide very soon. Let me however give some initial indications of our thinking.

Croatia's government has embarked in a path of bold and important reforms and I would like to welcome the determination of the Prime Minister on that matter.

Accession negotiations with Croatia are progressing at a steady pace. And we hope that more chapters can be closed by the end of the year.

However we are now moving into the most difficult chapters, in particular on judiciary and fundamental rights.

Reform of the judiciary, fight against corruption and organised crime, investigation and prosecution of war crimes as well as refugee and minority issues remain key for joining the EU. Full cooperation with ICTY also remains a requirement.

I have emphasised to the Prime Minister that it will be important for Croatia to continue to demonstrate concrete results in these areas. A track record of reforms and implementation is needed.

In terms of timing, ultimately, the conclusion of negotiations depends on Croatia`s own merits and when it meets the conditions. This may be possible by next year if Croatia steps up its efforts, but as I said, many challenges remain. The Commission will ensure we assess the achievements fairly and fully recognise the progress being made.

I very much welcome the efforts made by the Croatian government to promote good neighbourly relations with all countries in the region. I believe this is an important step forward and I would like to thank Prime Minister Kosor for her efforts in this respect.

Croatia's example can inspire others in the region to move forward. The European Commission remains engaged with a European perspective for all the Western Balkans.

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