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Ironduke
30 Oct 03,, 23:01
Germany backs Croatia's EU bid

Germany insists Croatia is co-operating with UN's war crimes tribunal - despite international concern at its failure to hand over an indicted former general.
The Croatian Government says it does not know where General Ante Gotovina is, although tribunal officials insist he is hiding in the country.

The issue has hindered Croatia's bid to become a member of the European Union.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, on a visit to Zagreb, defended Croatia saying it could be a member by 2008.

Mr Schroeder said he was impressed by the government's recent reforms and insisted Croatia's application should not be linked to the case of General Gotovina.

"Croatia is co-operating with the tribunal," he said in the Croatian capital.

"You cannot arrest someone who isn't there... and there should be more understanding for this."

Historic links

This is the first visit by a German leader to Croatia since the country declared independence from the old Yugoslavia in 1991.

Mr Schroeder took the opportunity to reinforce the strong historical, political and economic links between the two countries, said the BBC's Balkans correspondent Nick Hawton.

He said he was impressed by the reforms carried out by the government of Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan.

The country should be in a position to begin negotiations to join the EU next year with membership possible in 2007 or 2008, he added.

He said Croatia had already caught up with Romania and Bulgaria - expected to join the EU in 2007 - "and we support that date for Croatia too".

Mr Schroeder's comments will be seen as a strong endorsement of Mr Racan's government, which faces a general election at the end of November, says our correspondent.

Hero

However, the sticking point remains General Gotovina who has been on the run since his indictment was made public in 2001.

General Gotovina is accused of the murder and disappearance of hundreds of Serb civilians during the Croat offensive in the Krajina region in 1995.

But to many Croats, he is a war hero because of his role in defending the ancient port city of Zadar from attack by Serb militias and the Yugoslav National Army.

The tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, insists the general is hiding in Croatia - but the government says it does not know where he is.

The Netherlands and Britain have refused to ratify an EU associate membership accord with Zagreb until they are convinced of Croatia's full compliance with the tribunal's requests.

The European Commission, which is due to give its opinion in April on whether Croatia can start accession talks, has also said co-operation with the tribunal remains an obstacle.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3228405.stm

Officer of Engineers
01 Nov 03,, 04:39
What a freaking surprise!

roshan
04 Nov 03,, 00:22
i think that this will cause the collapse of the eu. at first the eu only consisted fo the rich western european countries, but now all the poor ones in eastern europe are also joining in.... they might be a burden to the west european countries.

Ironduke
04 Nov 03,, 00:43
The European Community and European Economic Area had members that would be considered as poor as Eastern European applicants today are.

Ironduke
07 Nov 03,, 01:01
Netherlands warns Croatia over EU, NATO bids

ZAGREB (AFP) Nov 06, 2003
The Netherlands warned Croatia on Thursday that full cooperation with the United Nations war crimes tribunal is a key condition for Zagreb's future membership of the European Union and NATO.
Visiting Dutch Defence Minister Henk Kamp told journalists that cooperation with The Hague-based tribunal was the "most important" problem that had to be solved before Croatia could join the two blocs.

The Netherlands and Britain have not ratified an association and stabilisation agreement between the EU and Croatia, the first step toward membership, due to concerns about Zagreb's alleged lack of cooperation with the UN court.

All 15 EU member states have to ratify the agreement before it can enter into force.

Croatia applied for EU membership in February and hopes to join the bloc in

Brussels has made clear that Zagreb's progress toward the EU will be on ice until it hands over fugitive general Ante Gotovina, who has been indicted for the murder of some 150 ethnic Serbs during Croatia's 1992-95 war.

He has been on the run since his indictment in 2001 and Zagreb insists that he has probably fled the country.

The ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte claims that Croatia could extradite Gotovina if it wanted to, arguing that blocking the country's entry to the EU is the "only way to get him."

But the Croatian government says there should be no link between EU membership and the fugitive general.

Kamp met President Stipe Mesic, Prime Minister Ivica Racan and Defence Minister Zeljka Antunovic during his one-day visit to Croatia.

http://www.spacewar.com/2003/031106171450.n5m8pxrr.html

davor_suker
10 Nov 03,, 10:05
Yes, the burden of poorer European nations may be hard on the Western European nations but it may also do the reverse and be beneficial. Countries such as Croatia, which have a good tourism industry is relatively unknown throughout the rest of the world as a destination. Joining the EU will surely bring more people to the area as tourists.