Croatia not quite ready for the EUCroatia received word this week that the European Union is not quite ready to start membership negotiations, though a number of countries – including Slovenia – are backing Croatia’s bid. The 10 March meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives decided that Croatia has not made sufficient reforms and is not fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and therefore the time is not right for negotiations on Croatian membership in the EU to begin.
Among EU members, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia have come out in favor of Croatian membership, while the United Kingdom is at the head of those countries which believe Croatia needs more time.
Meanwhile, the head of Italy’s Veneto region announced that his region will move to secede from Italy if the EU does not begin accession negotiations with Croatia soon. Giancarlo Galana, the region’s head, strongly supports Croatian membership on the basis of the long historic links between Veneto and Croatia [Mladina / 15.03.05 / Odcep Veneta zaradi Hrvaške].
EU foreign ministers will meet again on 15 March, and all must agree that Croatia is ready if negotiations are to begin on 17 March, as was previously planned [SN / 10.03.05 / Slovenia Backs Start of Croatia's EU Talks, No EU-Wide Consensus].