Croatians Vote to Join European Union

Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 6:20 am (UTC-5)
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The European Union is welcoming the Croatian vote to become the newest EU member. Croatia's membership must now be approved by the bloc's 27 current members.

Officials say 66 percent of Croatian voters supported EU membership in the vote Sunday. But fewer than half of eligible voters turned out for the referendum.

Supporters of EU membership say Croatia's floundering economy can benefit by entering into a union with its much stronger European neighbors. But opponents note that all of Europe is struggling economically, and they say Croatia could lose some of its sovereignty by joining.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic called Sunday's vote a turning point for Croatian history. He said he looks forward to all of Europe becoming his home.

If all current EU members give final ratification to Croatian membership, Croatia would become the 28th member on July 1, 2013.