Progress report on Croatia
Delivered in Plenary - 16th February 2011
Croatia’s progress towards EU membership continues smoothly, as the report makes clear. British Conservatives support the enlargement of the EU to include countries that fully meet the Copenhagen criteria, as we believe that a larger EU should result in a more flexible and less centralised union.
Croatia should be congratulated for its efforts to stamp out corruption, as evidenced by the arrest of former Prime Minister Sanader. I am pleased that Slovenia will no longer be blocking Croatia’s accession over the two countries’ border dispute. This was always a bilateral issue but should in no way preclude Croatia from joining our Union. There is also a small dispute with Montenegro, for which I am the rapporteur, which will be resolved by the ICJ.
I also believe that Croatia’s accession will accelerate the integration of the whole region of the former Yugoslavia into the EU, in particular as Montenegro’s rapporteur and a strong friend of Serbia. I hope that Croatian membership will inspire both countries to press ahead with reforms and that Croatia will not try and settle old scores, once it is in the Union, by blocking Serbian accession.