Croatia celebrates EU membership, Turkey waits
Croatia has entered the European Union as the bloc’s 28th member, despite worries over the economy while Turkey keeps waiting at the door.
The entry of Croatia into the European Union is confirmation that it belongs to the European democratic and cultural set of values. Croatian officials have unveiled EU signs and removed customs posts at the borders with Slovenia, the first former Yugoslav republic to have joined the bloc, and with Hungary. Croatia is the first new EU member since Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007.
With one in five persons unemployed and Croatia’s national debt officially classed as junk, some Croatians feel joining an economic bloc with its own serious troubles will do little to improve their prospects. The EU has given Croatia a clean bill of health - and praised reforms which improve the rule of law and tackle corruption.
Turkey and Croatia both started the negotiation process eight years ago. Turkey started on the road toward EU accession when it applied for associate membership of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1959, in other words 54 years ago. It had the candidate country status in 1999, when Croatia was an 8-year-old country as it declared its independence in 1991 and the accession negotiations for both countries started in October 2005.