“Croatia is not off the hook yet,” the Dutch government says, but the Netherlands has softened its position on a key sector of Zagreb’s negotiations to join the European Union.
The Dutch government was blocking the opening of talks on judiciary reform because it considered Croatia was not doing enough to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The Dutch move is a nod to Zagreb agreeing to seek documents requested two years ago by the prosecutor leading the case against Ante Gotovina.
The former Croatian Army general, still regarded by many Croatians as a hero, was indicted in 2001, accused of a “criminal enterprise” expelling Serbs at the end of Croatia’s war, in 1995.
Brussels said Croatia might conclude its EU membership talks by the end of this year. It could then join in late 2012, after the ratification by all the current EU members of an accession treaty.