Croatia could join EU in July

Croatia has been cleared to join the European Union (EU) as earlier as July, according to online news reports including BBC News.

However, the process is not yet complete. It won’t be until all 27 member states have ratified the agreement that it can go ahead. That said 19 member states have reportedly signed off on the Balkan state’s EU accession. But it was not without criticism. A commission monitoring report is quoted by theparliament.com as saying the country needs to take further steps to tackle organised crime and corruption. Nevertheless Deutsche Welle cited an EU report as saying: “The commission concludes that Croatia will be ready to join the EU on 1 July 2013.”

Other factors worth considering in Croatia include the fact that it, like many countries in the region, has had its fair share of financial pressures. The Malta Times reports that Croatia’s accession was also dependent on an overhaul of its struggling shipyards and the settling of a banking dispute with Slovenia, with the commission positive about the country’s progress. This newspaper added that Croatia will not be immediately included in the EU’s visa-free travel zone, but there has been no request from other member states to for the seven-year waiting period that was imposed on Romania and Bulgaria.

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