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.

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