OCTOBER 11 2012 22:03h
ZAGREB, Oct 10 (Hina) - The Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Croatia is fairly positive but the European Commission (EC) has identified ten issues that Croatia needs to take seriously and meet before joining the EU, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Croatia Paul Vandoren said on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that the report on Croatia is fairly good, I would like you to consider that the identified issues should be taken very seriously and I encourage...the government to undertake what needs to be done before accession, Vandoren said at a press conference after the monitoring report was released.
The EC released an annual report on Wednesday that reviews enlargement strategies and progress toward EU membership in the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland which includes a comprehensive monitoring report on Croatia. A press conference by the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fuele was televised live in the EU Information Centre in Zagreb on Wednesday after which Vandoren spoke to reporters.
Referring to the 10 actions the EC identified Vandoren commented that they were no surprise and that they referred to three policy chapters -- Competition Policy, Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, and Justice, Freedom and Security.
The EC also expects the Croatian government to do more to improve the investment climate, Vandoren pointed out.
Asked if he was surprised that shipbuilding companies are constantly mentioned in reports, he said that the restructuring of shipyards was a difficult issue in a series of countries but hoped that progress would soon be made in Croatia regarding this issue.
As for the matter of the now defunct Ljubljanska Banka, Vandoren said it was not a question tied to the ratification of (Croatia's EU treaty).
The EU has been encouraging both countries (Croatia and Slovenia) to come to an agreement that will satisfy both sides and I am confident that the matter will be resolved in time so that there would not be any problems with accession (of Croatia to the EU). That needs to be resolved by the two countries, he pointed out.
Asked about the border agreement between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed by Presidents Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic, Vandoren said that he believed any effort made to solve bilateral matters between Croatia and any other country in the region was a step in the right direction.
He added that Croatia would not automatically enter the Schengen zone but that this would occur when the country would be ready to do so.
I hope that Croatia will be faster in doing that than EU newcomers in 2007, the ambassador said.