Croatia Signs EU Accession Treaty, Decision on Serbia Delayed

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Croatia is poised to become the 28th member of the European Union in July 2013 after signing a long-awaited accession treaty with the bloc.

The treaty was signed Friday in Brussels, and comes after six years of accession talks that involved pledges from Croatia to crack down on corruption. Its membership must still be ratified by all 27 EU states and Croatia.

Meanwhile, EU leaders have delayed until March a decision on granting Serbia the status of EU membership candidate, a key step in its road to full membership. The bloc cited concerns over Belgrade's tense relations with Kosovo, its former province which declared independence in 2008.

Serbia had hoped to gain candidate status after extraditing the last of several dozen war crimes suspects earlier this year.

Croatia is to become second of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia to join the EU after Slovenia, which became a member in 2004. All other countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia — Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia — are seeking membership.