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European Parliament backs Croatia membership

European Parliament backs Croatia membership
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The European Parliament has approved Croatia’s entry to the EU, ahead of the formal signing of an accession treaty next week. Representatives of the Croation parliament took the plaudits on behalf of their country for the reforms it implemented to join the bloc.

“Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda said: “First of all, they (Croatians) contribute with a strong a full cooperation with the international criminal tribunal in the Hague, concerning war crimes. Secondly they did a lot war crimes trials also inside the country, not yet finished but they did it.”

Dealing with its wartime past has been a difficult issue for the Balkan nation. While it cooperated with the International Criminal Court there was anger among many Croats when former military leaders were sentenced by the Hague.

Tackling corruption remains an issue and the trial of former prime minister Ivo Sanader and other political figures are being closely watched in Brussels. But analysts say Croatia has come a long way.

Corina Stratulat, an analyst with the European Policy Centre said: “He (Sanader) is said to have taken vast amounts money from two different companies, the Adria bank and an Hungarian Oil Company. There are those who argue that in fact these series of charges being exposed is an evidence the rule of law and justice is functioning in Croatia.”

Croatia is scheduled to finally join the Union in July next year. There will a referendem in the coming weeks, and while the population’s enthusiasm for the EU has dipped at times, it is widely expected they will approve their country becoming the EU’s 28th member.