Germany’s Merkel in Croatia to Promote Economic Cooperation

Posted August 22nd, 2011 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor met in Zagreb Monday to discuss economic cooperation and European Union membership prospects for the Balkan region.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms. Merkel praised Croatia for its efforts to become the EU's 28th member state and said she was impressed by what the country has achieved in 20 years of independence. She urged the government in Zagreb to continue reforms.

Later in the day, the German leader was due to meet President Ivo Josipovic and then attend a formal dinner with Prime Minister Kosor.

Ms. Merkel will leave for Belgrade in the evening where she will met Serbian leaders Tuesday.

In June, the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, said 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.