2013 enlargement of the European Union

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Croatian EU accession bid
EU Accession Croatia.svg
European Union Croatia Locator.svg
EU member state average Croatia
PPP GDP ($M) 552,780 80,334
Area (km2) 165,048 56,594
Population 18,583,598 4,284,889
Status
Member state
Opened chapters: 33[1]
Closed chapters: 33[2]
Website
mvep.hr

The 2013 enlargement of the European Union saw Croatia join the European Union as their 28th member state on 1 July 2013.

Croatia is the second former Yugoslav republic to join the European Union after a decade-long negotiation process. The country applied for EU membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council in mid-2004. The entry negotiations, while originally set for March 2005, began in October that year together with the screening process.

The accession process of Croatia was complicated by the insistence of Slovenia, an EU member state, that the two countries' border issues be dealt with prior to Croatia's accession to the EU. Croatian public opinion was generally supportive of the EU accession process, despite occasional spikes in euroscepticism.

Croatia finished accession negotiations on 30 June 2011,[2] and on 9 December 2011, signed the Treaty of Accession. A referendum on EU accession was held in Croatia on 22 January 2012, with 66% of participants voting in favour of joining the Union.[3][4][5][6] The ratification process was concluded on 21 June 2013, and entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU took place on 1 July 2013.[7]

Accession requirements[edit]

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Judicial reform and human rights[edit]

Accession requirements included: judicial reform to strengthen the independence, accountability, impartiality, professionalism and efficiency of the judiciary; a crackdown on corruption and organised crime (this resulted in the conviction of former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader for taking bribes); strengthen the protection of minorities; settle outstanding refugee return issues; improve the protection of human rights.[8]

ICTY co-operation[edit]

Croatia has had to extradite several of its citizens to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a United Nations body, an issue that was often contentious in domestic politics.

Croatia's relations with the court had continually been cited by the EU officials as something that required further improvement. Ratification of the EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Croatia had been stalled because of this.

The European Council, after its summit of 20 December 2004, set the following 17 March as the date to start entry negotiations, provided that Croatia continued to co-operate fully with the ICTY. On 16 March 2005 – the day before talks were to begin – the EU postponed the commencement of negotiations, because the ICTY prosecution assessed the Croatian efforts to capture the fugitive general Ante Gotovina (indicted by the ICTY for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but at large since 2001) as neither timely nor sufficient.

On 7 December 2005 Spanish Police finally arrested Ante Gotovina with the help of the Spanish and Croatian government on the Spanish island of Tenerife, located in the Canary Islands. He was brought to The Hague to be tried for war crimes. With the arrest of Ante Gotovina this issue was resolved, and entry negotiations began anew, after the certification of ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte that Croatia now fully cooperated with the ICTY.

In April 2011, Croatian generals Gotovina and Markač were given extended prison sentences at the ICTY, which was widely perceived as unjust in the Croatian public. This caused a marked increase in opposition to the accession because, in the past, some countries like the Netherlands,[9] conditioned their support for the Croatia's accession process with the continued Croatian co-operation with the ICTY.

On 16 November 2012, the ICTY Appeals Chamber acquitted generals Gotovina and Markač and ordered their immediate release.[10]

Border disagreements[edit]

Croatia has had long-standing border issues with Slovenia, especially over the Piran Bay boundary. Between December 2008 and September–October 2009, Slovenia blocked Croatia's EU accession over these border issues. On 6 June 2010, Slovenia voted to accept the ruling of United Nation arbitrators on the dispute, removing this obstacle.[11]

Croatia has border disputes with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, but these countries are not European Union members and cannot directly block the accession process. In December 2008, Croatia and Montenegro agreed that the outstanding sea border issue between the two countries should be settled before an international court whose decision would be accepted in advance by the parliaments of the two countries.[12]

Land ownership[edit]

Free acquisition of real estate by foreigners is a sensitive issue in Croatia. This matter particularly concerns Italians, especially in Istria. While it has some ties with Italy, the events surrounding World War II, when Istria changed hands between the Kingdom of Italy and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, remain pertinent. Numerous Italian politicians expressed their discontent concerning the inability of Italians to purchase land in Croatia, considering it discriminatory treatment and stating that the issue should be resolved as soon as possible.

Croatia subsequently denied any discrimination, and said that Croatian legislation provided for the same treatment of all EU citizens concerning land ownership. In mid-2006, Croatia and Italy came to an agreement allowing Italian citizens to purchase land in Croatia and Croatian citizens to purchase land in Italy. Other EU members had to resolve similar issues before their accession to the EU. Examples of this include Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, and especially Malta.

Shipyard privatisation[edit]

Croatia was required to stop subsidising its shipbuilding industry, resulting in privatisations, closures and reduced production capacity.[13][14]

Negotiation progress[edit]

Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council (the EU's heads of state and/or government) in mid-2004 and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations, while originally set for early 2005, was postponed to October of the same year. Before starting negotiations with Croatia, the acquis was divided into 35 chapters, 4 more than the usual 31; the new chapters, previously part of the agricultural policy, are areas expected to be troublesome, as they were with the other applicants. Following the opening of accession negotiations on 3 October 2005, the process of screening 35 acquis chapters with Croatia was completed on 18 October 2006.[15] Negotiations had been restrained for ten months because of a border dispute with Slovenia, but in September 2009 it was announced that Slovenia would remove restraints on Croatia's negotiations with the EU without prejudice to the international mediation on the border dispute.[16]

The flag of Croatia and the European flag, on the building of Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, in Zagreb
Acquis chapter EC assessment at start Current situation Screening started Screening completed Chapter frozen Chapter unfrozen Chapter opened Chapter closed
1. Free Movement of Goods Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-01-16 2006-02-24 2008-07-25 2010-04-19
2. Freedom of Movement For Workers Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-07-19 2006-09-11 2008-06-17 2009-10-02
3. Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-11-21 2005-12-20 2007-06-26 2009-12-21
4. Free Movement of Capital Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-11-25 2005-12-22 2008–12 2009–10 2009-10-02 2010-11-05
5. Public Procurement Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-11-07 2005-11-28 2008-12-19 2010-06-30
6. Company Law Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-21 2006-07-20 2008–12 2009–10 2007-06-26 2009-10-02
7. Intellectual Property Law No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-02-06 2006-03-03 2007-03-29 2008-12-19
8. Competition Policy Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-11-08 2005-12-02 2010-06-30 2011-06-30
9. Financial Services Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-03-29 2006-05-03 2007-06-26 2009-11-27
10. Information Society & Media No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-12 2006-07-14 2007-07-26 2008-12-19
11. Agriculture & Rural Development Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-12-05 2006-01-26 2008–12 2009–10 2009-10-02 2011-04-19
12. Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-03-09 2006-04-28 2008–12 2009–10 2009-10-02 2010-07-27
13. Fisheries Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-02-24 2006-03-31 2008–12 2010–02 2010-02-19 2011-06-06
14. Transport Policy Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-26 2006-09-28 2008-04-21 2010-11-05
15. Energy Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-05-15 2006-06-16 2008-04-21 2009-11-27
16. Taxation Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-06 2006-07-12 2008–12 2009–10 2009-10-02 2010-06-30
17. Economic & Monetary Policy No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-02-16 2006-03-23 2006-12-21 2008-12-19
18. Statistics No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-19 2006-07-18 2008–12 2009–10 2007-06-26 2009-10-02
19. Social Policy & Employment Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-02-08 2006-03-22 2008-06-17 2009-12-21
20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-03-27 2006-05-05 2006-12-21 2008-07-25
21. Trans-European Networks No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-30 2006-09-29 2008–12 2009–10 2007-12-19 2009-10-02
22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-09-11 2006-10-10 2008–12 2009–10 2009-10-02 2011-04-19
23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-09-06 2006-10-13 2010-06-30 2011-06-30
24. Justice, Freedom & Security Considerable efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-01-23 2006-02-15 2008–12 2009–10 2009-10-02 2010-12-22
25. Science & Research No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-10-20 2005-11-14 2006-06-12 2006-06-12
26. Education & Culture No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2005-10-26 2005-11-16 2006-12-11 2006-12-11
27. Environment Totally incompatible with acquis Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-04-03 2006-06-02 2008–12 2010–02 2010-02-19 2010-12-22
28. Consumer & Health Protection Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-06-08 2006-07-11 2007-10-12 2009-11-27
29. Customs Union Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-01-31 2006-03-14 2008–12 2009–10 2006-12-21 2009-10-02
30. External Relations No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-07-10 2006-09-13 2007-10-12 2008-10-30
31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-09-14 2006-10-06 2008–12 2010–04 2010-06-30 2010-12-22
32. Financial Control Further efforts needed Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-05-18 2006-06-30 2007-06-26 2010-07-27
33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions No major difficulties expected Generally aligned with the acquis 2006-09-06 2006-10-04 2007-12-19 2011-06-30
34. Institutions Nothing to adopt 2010-11-05 2010-11-05
35. Other Issues Nothing to adopt 2011-06-30 2011-06-30
Progress 33 out of 33[17] 33 out of 33[17] 13 out of 33 13 out of 13 35 out of 35 35 out of 35[18]

[19]

Timeline[edit]

Date Event
1998-03-04 Ministry of European Integration formed within the Croatian Government.[20]
2001-10-29 Croatia signs the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
2003-02-21 Formal application for membership submitted.
2003-10-09 Croatia submits answers to the Commission's Questionnaire.
2004-04-20 European Commission replies to the answers with a positive opinion (Avis).
2004-06-18 Croatia receives official candidate status.
2004-12-20 European Council sets the date for the entry negotiations to begin 2005-03-17.
2005-02-01 SAA comes into force.
2005-03-16 Negotiations postponed.
2005-10-04 Beginning of negotiations (shortly after midnight in Luxembourg).
2005-10-20 Beginning of the screening process.
2006-06-12 1 chapter is opened & closed: Science & Research.
2006-06-28 2 chapters are opened: Competition Policy and Customs Union.
2006-07-20 1 chapter is opened: Social Policy & Employment.
2006-12-11 1 chapter is opened & closed: Education & Culture.
2007-03-29 1 chapter is opened: Intellectual Property Law.
2007-06-26 6 chapters are opened: Company Law, Financial Control, Financial Services, Information Society & Media, Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services, and Statistics.
2007-10-12 2 chapters are opened: Consumer & Health Protection and External Relations.
2007-12-20 2 chapters are opened: Trans-European Networks and Financial & Budgetary Provisions.
2008-04-21 2 chapters are opened: Energy and Transport Policy.
2008-06-17 2 chapters are opened: Freedom of Movement For Workers and Social Policy & Employment.
2008-07-25 1 chapter is opened: Free Movement of Goods. 1 chapter is closed: Enterprise & Industrial Policy.
2008-10-30 1 chapter is closed: External Relations.
2008-12-19 1 chapter is opened: Public Procurement. 3 chapters are closed: Economic & Monetary Policy, Information Society & Media, and Intellectual Property Law.
2009-04-23 EU calls off talks with Croatia due to the latter having a border dispute with Slovenia over the Bay of Piran.
2009-09-11 Slovenia agrees on an immediate ending of its blockade of Croatia's EU accession & further negotiation of the Gulf of Piran border dispute between the 2 countries.
2009-10-02 Croatia closed 5 chapters & opened 6. Chapters that were closed: Company Law, Customs Union, Freedom of Movement of Workers, Statistics, and Trans-European Networks.
2009-11-27 3 chapters are closed: Consumer & Health Protection, Energy, and Financial Services.
2009-12-21 2 chapters are closed: Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services and Social Policy & Employment.
2010-02-19 2 chapters are opened: Environment & Fisheries.
2010-04-19 1 chapter is closed: Free Movement of Goods.
2010-06-30 2 chapters are closed: Taxation and Public Procurement. 3 chapters are opened: Foreign, Security & Defence Policy, Judiciary & Fundamental Rights, and Competition Policy.
2010-07-27 2 chapters are closed: Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy and Financial Control.
2010-11-05 3 chapters are closed: Institutions, Transport Policy and Free Movement of Capital.
2010-12-22 3 chapters are closed: 24. Justice, Freedom & Security, 27. Environment and 31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy.
2011-04-19 2 chapters are closed: 11. Agriculture & Rural Development, 22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments[21]
2011-06-06 1 chapter is closed: 13. Fisheries
2011-06-10 Commission recommends closing of the negotiations and sets 2013-07-01 as target entry date
2011-06-24 European Council calls for finishing negotiations by the end of June and signing of the Treaty of Accession by the end of 2011
2011-06-30 End of accession negotiations. Final 4 chapters are closed: 8. Competition Policy, 23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights, 33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions and 35. Other Issues.
2011-10-12 Commission adopts a favourable opinion on Croatia's accession to the EU
2011-12-01 European Parliament approves Croatia's entry to the EU.[22]
2011-12-09 Croatia and the 27 Member States of the European Union sign the EU accession treaty.[23][24]
2012-01-22 EU accession referendum held in Croatia, 66.25% voted in favour, 33.13% against. About 47% of eligible voters took part in the referendum.[4][5][6]
2012-02-01 Parliament of Slovakia unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[25]
2012-02-13 National Assembly of Hungary ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[26]
2012-02-17 Parliament of Bulgaria ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[27]
2012-03-01 Parliament of Italy ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[28][29][30]
2012-03-05 Parliament of Malta unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[31][32]
2012-03-09 Croatian Parliament unanimously ratifies Croatia's EU accession treaty.[33]
2012-03-22 Parliament of Latvia unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[34]
2012-04-26 Parliament of Lithuania ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[35]
2012-05-03 Parliament of Cyprus unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[36]
2012-06-08 Parliament of the Czech Republic ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2012-06-26 Parliament of Romania unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2012-06-27 Oireachtas of Ireland ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2012-07-04 Parliament of Austria ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2012-09-12 Parliament of Estonia unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[37]
2012-09-14 Sejm of Poland ratifies accession treaty.[38]
2012-09-21 Assembly of the Republic of Portugal ratifies accession treaty.[39]
2012-10-10 Chambers of Deputies of Luxembourg unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[40]
2012-10-24 Cortes Generales of Spain unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[41]
2012-10-30 Parliament of Greece ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[42]
2012-11-07 The Swedish Riksdag ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[43]
2012-12-18 Parliament of Finland ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[44]
2013-01-15 Senate of France unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[45]
2013-01-17 National Assembly of France unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2012-01-24 Chamber of Representatives of Belgium ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2013-01-31 Parliament of the United Kingdom ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[46]
2013-02-05 House of Representatives of the Netherlands passes the approval law for the Croatian accession treaty.
2013-03-07 Croatian and Slovenian governments reach an agreement on Ljubljanska Banka. The Slovenian government starts the process of ratification.[47]
2013-04-02 Parliament of Slovenia unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.
2013-04-14 Croatian European Parliament election
2013-04-16 Senate of the Netherlands ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[48]
2013-05-02 Parliament of Denmark unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[49]
2013-05-16 Bundestag of Germany ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[50]
2013-06-07 Bundesrat of Germany unanimously ratifies Croatian accession treaty.[51]
2013-06-21 The ratification process was completed upon the depositing of the German ratification instruments with the Government of Italy.[24]
2013-07-01 Croatia joins the EU.

Date of accession[edit]

Originally Croatia had been aiming for a 2007 accession date, which would have broken Slovakia's record of 2.5 years of negotiations to complete the process. However, negotiations turned out to be tougher than expected. On 5 November 2008, the European Commission's annual progress report on Croatia's candidacy was published. Olli Rehn stated that the country should aim to complete accession negotiations by the end of 2009, with membership following by 2011 at the latest.[52] In 2009 it was also reported that Iceland may be fast-tracked into the European Union,[53] and Rehn said that "the EU prefers two countries joining at the same time rather than individually. If Iceland applies shortly and the negotiations are rapid, Croatia and Iceland could join the EU in parallel". The last non-acquis hurdle to membership, the maritime border dispute with Slovenia, was overcome in November 2009.

Croatia ultimately finished its accession negotiations on 30 June 2011,[54] and signed the Treaty of Accession 2011 in Brussels on 9 December 2011; followed by approval of it by a national referendum on 22 January 2012 and completing their ratification process on 4 April 2012. Entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU took place on 1 July 2013, as all 27 EU members and Croatia have ratified the treaty before this date.[55][56]

The accession took place at a time of economic difficulty with Croatia in a fifth year of recession with 21% unemployment, and amid the European sovereign-debt crisis.[57]

As Croatia joined the EU, it exited the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

Remaining areas of inclusion[edit]

Croatia became a member on 1 July 2013, but some areas of cooperation in the European Union will apply to Croatia at a later date. These are:

Free movement of persons and visa policy[edit]

Pre-accession entry arrangements for Croatian nationals travelling to EU member states[edit]

Before accession to the European Union, Croatia was categorised as an Annex II country, which meant that Croatian citizens could stay in the Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 days in a 180 day period. Croatian citizens were also able to stay without a visa in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania for up to 90 days in each country, as well as in the United Kingdom for up to 6 months.

The general rule was that non-EU citizens had to use a passport to enter EU member states. However, there was an exception to the Schengen Agreement rules for Croatian citizens. Based on the pre-Schengen bilateral agreements between Croatia and neighbouring EU countries (Italy, Hungary and Slovenia), Croatian citizens were allowed to cross the border with only a Croatian national identity card card (a passport was not obligatory).[58] Many people living near the border crossed it several times a day (some work across the border, or own land on the other side of the border), especially on the border with Slovenia, which was unmarked for centuries as Croatia and Slovenia were both part of the Habsburg Empire (1527–1918) and Yugoslavia (1918–1991). Prior to Croatia's accession to the EU on 1 July 2013, an interim solution, which received permission from the European Commission, was found: every Croatian citizen was allowed to cross the Schengen border into Hungary, Italy or Slovenia with an ID card and a special border card that was issued by Croatian police at border exit control. The police authorities of Hungary, Italy or Slovenia would then stamp the special border card both on entry and exit. Croatian citizens, however, were not allowed to enter any other Schengen Agreement countries without a valid passport, although they were allowed to travel between Hungary, Italy and Slovenia.

These arrangements were discontinued on 1 July 2013 when Croatia became an EU member state. Since then, Croatian citizens have been able to enter any EU member state using only an ID card.

Post-accession access to free movement in other EU member states[edit]

Freedom of movement of Croatian citizens within EU/EEA/CH
  Croatia
  EU member states with free labour market access for Croatian citizens
  Other states (EEA or CH) with free labour market access for Croatian citizens
  EU member states with labour market restrictions for Croatian citizens
  Other states (EEA or CH) with labour market restrictions for Croatian citizens

On 1 July 2013, Croatian nationals became European Union citizens and acquired the right to move and reside freely in other EU member states, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. On the same day, 14 EU member states (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden) allowed Croatian nationals to work without restrictions in their country. However, 13 other EU member states imposed transitional restrictions on Croatian nationals wishing to access their labour markets.[59] Annex V of the Treaty concerning the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union allows member states to apply national measures regulating Croatian nationals’ access to their labour markets for a period of up to five years, and in case of serious disturbance to their labour markets or the threat thereof, and after notifying the Commission, for a further two years (i.e. up to a maximum of seven years in total).

Croatian nationals who on 1 July 2013 had already resided in an EU member state for a continuous period of at least 5 years acquired the right of permanent residence (meaning that they could work without any restrictions in their host EU member state), as long as during their continuous residence of 5 years they were a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person, student or family member accompanying or joining an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.[60]

On 1 July 2013, non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who were family members of a Croatian national and accompanying or joining him/her also acquired the right to move and reside freely in other EU member states.

Establishment of rights of EU nationals of Croatia to work in another EU member state[61]
Another EU member state Croatia
Bulgaria 1 July 2013
Romania 1 July 2013
Finland 1 July 2013
Sweden 1 July 2013
Estonia 1 July 2013
Latvia 1 July 2013
Lithuania 1 July 2013
Poland 1 July 2013
Czech Republic 1 July 2013
Slovakia 1 July 2013
Portugal 1 July 2013
Denmark 1 July 2013
Hungary 1 July 2013
Ireland 1 July 2013
France 1 July 2015
Germany 1 July 2015
Austria 1 July 2015
Belgium 1 July 2015
Netherlands 1 July 2015
Luxembourg 1 July 2015
United Kingdom 1 July 2015
Malta 1 July 2015
Cyprus 1 July 2015
Slovenia 1 July 2015
Spain 1 July 2015
Greece 1 July 2015
Italy 1 July 2015

Visa policy for third-country nationals[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Visa policy of the European Union.

In the run up to accession to the European Union, Croatia aligned its visa policy with that of the European Union. As a result of the new visa regime, some third-country nationals (such as Russian and Turkish nationals) who were previously temporarily exempt from having to obtain a visa to visit Croatia were now subject to a visa requirement. However, to mitigate the effect of the re-imposition of a visa regime on tourist numbers, the Croatian government has introduced a 'facilitated entry of aliens' procedure, exempting travellers who have a Schengen visa or residence permit from having to obtain an additional Croatian visa to visit Croatia until 31 December 2013.[62] In addition, the Croatian government has extended the working hours and capacity of its foreign missions in countries such as Russia and Ukraine to ensure that applications for Croatian visas are processed more efficiently.[63]

Visa requirements for Croatian nationals visiting third countries[edit]

Upon Croatia's accession to the European Union on 1 July 2013, several countries and territories outside the European Union aligned the visa requirements imposed on Croatian citizens with those imposed on other EU citizens. For example, on 1 July 2013, Hong Kong SAR extended the visa-free period of stay for Croatian citizens from 14 days to 90 days in line with the visa-free period of stay granted to other EU citizens,[64] whilst New Zealand introduced a 90 day visa exemption for Croatian citizens.[65] It is likely that these countries and territories amended their visa policy for Croatian citizens because of the European Union's visa reciprocity mechanism. However, other countries such as Barbados,[66] Brunei,[67] Saint Kitts and Nevis,[68] Singapore,[69] South Korea[70] and the United States[71] have not amended their visa policies to harmonise their treatment of Croatian citizens and other EU citizens.

Membership of the Schengen Area[edit]

During June 2011 Croatia began with implementation of the projects and reforms required to join the Schengen Area by 2015.[72] By joining the Schengen Area, border checks will be eliminated at the land border with Hungary and Slovenia, as well as at airports and ports for flights and ships to/from Schengen member states, thus facilitating the freer movement of persons between Croatia and the rest of the Schengen Area.

Membership of the European Economic Area[edit]

Croatia's accession to the EU obliges them to apply for membership in the European Economic Area (EEA).[73] The Croatian government decided to submit their application on 13 September 2012,[74] and membership negotiations started 15 March 2013 in Brussels with the aim to enlarge both the EU and the EEA on the same date, 1 July 2013.[75] However, this was not achieved.[76][77] Following the last enlargement of the EU, with Bulgaria and Romania acceding to the EU on 1 January 2007, an EEA Enlargement Agreement wasn't signed until 25 July 2007, and provisionally entered into force on 1 August 2007.[78][79][80] The agreement didn't fully enter into force until 9 November 2011.[80] On the 11th April 2014, the EU, Croatia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein signed an agreement concerning the accession of Croatia to the EEA. It is yet to be ratified. [81]

Public opinion[edit]

Croatian public opinion was divided on EU accession. Opinion polling for the EU referendum showed the population was mostly in favour of joining. Public support ranged from a high of 80% to lows of 26–38%.[82] Political analyst Višeslav Raos cited the economic problems within the EU among the factors: "[Croatians] know that the European Union is not a remedy to all economic and social problems. So the EU itself is in a sort of crisis, and that reflects on Croatia's accession."[82] The government announced an information campaign to reverse the drop in support.[82]

A referendum was held in Croatia on 22 January 2012 on joining the European Union, and the result was 66% approval to join, though the turnout was low at 43.51%.[3][4][5][6][83]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Negotiations Chapters". Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Croatia. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "EU closes accession negotiations with Croatia". European Commission. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Croats say 'yes' to EU membership | Europe | DW.DE | 22.01.2012". Dw-world.de. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Independent Newspapers Online (23 December 2011). "Croatia sets date for EU referendum". Iol.co.za. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "Croatian parliament calls EU referendum for January 22". Focus-fen.net. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Parl't decides that EU referendum will be held on 22 January". Daily.tportal.hr. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "EU Summit: Accession Treaty with Croatia to be signed in 2011". eu2011.hu. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "INTERIM REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON REFORMS IN CROATIA IN THE FIELD OF JUDICIARY AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (NEGOTIATION CHAPTER 23)" (PDF). Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Croatia sees breakthrough in EU talks". EurActiv. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Appeals Chamber Acquits and Orders Release of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač". ICTY. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Slovenia backs Croatia border deal in referendum vote". BBC News. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Croatia, Montenegro agree sea border issue should be settled before international court". Croatian Government. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Little enthusiasm for EU at Croatia's sinking shipyards". Irish Times. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "State aid: Commission approves changes to restructuring plan of Croatian shipyard 3.Maj". European Commission. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ec.europa.eu". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Slovenia unblocks Croatian EU bid". BBC News. 11 September 2009. Archived from the original on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Excluding Chapters 34 (Institutions) and 35 (Other Issues) since these are not legislation chapters.
  18. ^ In this case Chapters 34 and 35 are taken into account as also if they had not been provisionally opened, they have to be closed the same
  19. ^ Prime Minister Kosor meets with EU delegation head Vandoren 17 January 2011, Government of the Republic Croatia. Retrieved 24 January 2011
  20. ^ "Vlada: 6 / predsjednik Vlade: Mr. sc. Zlatko Mateša". Hidran.hidra.hr. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "Hrvatska zatvara poglavlja Poljoprivreda i Regionalna politika". 
  22. ^ "Croatia's EU accession: green light from Parliament". European Parliament. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
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  69. ^ Singapore grants Croatian citizens a visa-free period of stay of only 30 days, whilst it grants a visa-free period of stay of 90 days to all other EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.
  70. ^ South Korea grants Croatian citizens a visa-free period of stay of only 30 days, whilst it grants a visa-free period of stay of 90 days to all other EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]