After more than seven years of political wrangling and one year of becoming a candidate for membership in the European Union, the country of Croatia, a former part of Yugoslavia, has signed a treaty enabling it to join the European Union in the year 2013 at a time when the euro and much of Europe is still facing a crippling financial crisis.
Croatia’s economy has been very sluggish due to the global financial situation and presides over an unemployment rate of approximately 17% which has some EU members worrying that Croatia may drag others in the EU down.
Government officials optimistically hope that its entry into the EU may bring benefits, including economic ones, of all kinds to the country.
Talks between the Croatian government and the EU were considerably slowed down due to Croatia’s disputes with its neighbors, the failure on part of the government to bring war criminals of the 1991-1995 Croatian War of Independence to justice and the issue of human rights in the country which significantly improved at the onset of the 21st century.
For now Croatia will be an observer country in all of the European Union sectors until its membership is fully recognized by the other member states in 2013, 18 months from now.
Croatia’s signing of the treaty is a beacon of hope to other Balkan countries that wish to enter the European Union with similar reasons that Croatian officials gave.
Croatia has come ahead of Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia (which is still amid the process of becoming a candidate for membership), Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and others who are still vying for EU membership.
Slovenia was the first nation from the former Yugoslavia to enter the European Union.
Some benefits of being a full on EU member includes representation in the European Union’s Parliament, the Councils, the Court of Justice, the Central Bank, Commission and Court of Auditors along with the position of the President of the Council of the European Union which rotates around all of the member states every six months.
(Cover Photo: Telecoms)