Slovene parliament lifts veto on Croatia's EU talks

Slovenia, which joined the EU in 2004, has been blocking Croatia's membership talks because of the border dispute.

Slovene parliament lifts veto on Croatia's EU talks

Slovenia's two powerful parliamentary committees approved on Tuesday the government's decision to lift a veto on neighbouring Croatia's European Union entry talks imposed in December because of a border dispute.

The decision, which makes parliament's formal acceptance almost guaranteed, enables EU president Sweden to call an accession conference with Zagreb, where it could seal a number of negotiating chapters.

Slovenia, which joined the EU in 2004, has been blocking Croatia's membership talks because of the border dispute.

On Friday, Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor reached an agreement with his Croatian counterpart Jadranka Kosor that no documents used in EU negotiations would be prejudicial to the outcome of the border dispute.

They agreed border talks would continue with international mediation, as proposed by the European Commission earlier this year.

The exact way of solving the border issue should be determined before the Slovenian parliament approves Croatia's EU accession, most likely in 2011.

Croatia had hoped to end membership talks this year and join the EU in 2010 but Slovenia's objection has put that out of reach. Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Monday Croatia could wrap up entry talks in the first half of 2010.

However, several Slovenian opposition parties have called for a referendum on whether Croatia should be allowed to join the EU before it resolves the border issue with Slovenia.

"The threat of a referendum will always be in the air and is thus a strong weapon of Slovenia in future talks with Croatia," Borut Hocevar, an editor at daily Zurnal24, told Reuters.



Reuters

Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2009, 13:56
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