Croatia to Conclude EU Entry Talks by End of June

Posted June 20th, 2011 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Croatia is poised to wrap up its negotiations for European Union membership by the end of this month.

EU leaders said in a draft statement Monday that they would announce the agreement to conclude entry negotiations with Croatia by the end of June at a summit Thursday and Friday in Brussels.

Earlier this month, the European Commission, the union's executive branch, said that Croatia had made sufficient progress toward meeting strict conditions to join the 27-nation bloc.

Zagreb has conducted six years of tough negotiations to gain the EU entry. Official corruption has been one of the greatest stumbling blocks on its membership path.

Aspiring member nations must carry out political, economic, social and judicial reforms to bring them in line with EU standards.

Croatia's former prime minister Ivo Sanader is currently detained in Austria and is awaiting extradition to Croatia where he is wanted on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Austrian officials said Monday that he has withdrawn his extradition appeal, paving the way for his return to Zagreb.