Following the successful ratification of its European Union Accession Treaty by the national parliaments of the 27 Member States, the Republic of Croatia is set to join the EU as the 28th member on July 1 this year. This event will mark an end to the Croatian EU integration journey, which formally started with the opening of the accession negotiations in the 2005. The Accession Treaty arranges accession of Croatia to the EU and European Atomic Energy Community, and amends earlier treaties of the European Union. As such, it is an integral part of the primary law of the EU.

The substance of the negotiations between the European Union and a membership-aspiring country is the acceptance, by the prospective member, of the so-called acquis communautaire. The acquis basically represents the complete accumulated legislation of the European Union, ever since its formation in the early 1950s — also known as EU law. Accession negotiations in other words imply: rights and obligations attached to the European Union system and its institutional framework, the legislative alignment with it by the prospective member state, and finally, the effective implementation of the acquis communautaire by the future member state. By closing the negotiation process with the signing of its EU Accession Treaty in December 2011, Croatia has fully harmonized its domestic legislation with EU law. In practical terms, this means that a large body of rules and regulations governing the political, administrative, social and economic life of the European Union and its Member States shall now be fully extended to the territory of Croatia as well.

It is important to note that the Croatian negotiating process, while sharing the basic principles with the previous five EU enlargement phases, has had several very important novelties in terms of methodology. It introduced the idea of an open-ended process of negotiation, the system of benchmarking, the monitoring of provisional closure of the negotiating chapters, as well as the so-called suspension clause. In this way, it has established a new basic standard for all the future enlargements of the European Union.

After the successful completion of the Croatian EU accession process, the Croatian government is now dedicated to fulfill and live up to the expectations of its citizens and of its friends and partners within the EU. Furthermore, it will always strive to share its experience and knowhow with all the countries of Europe that are not yet members of the EU but see themselves as part of this unique union of states and peoples. In the end, I would like to congratulate all the citizens of the EU on their day, May 9, Schuman Day!

Information on exhibitions in Japan about Croatia

As part of the EU-Japan Friendship Week 2013, there will be exhibitions on Croatia, soon to be the European Union’s newest member, as follows:

“Croatia” will be held at Nagoya University Economics Library through May 17. For more information, call (052) 789-4922.

“Drago mi je” (“How do you do”) will be held at Hitotsubashi University Library in Tokyo from May 13 to June 7. For more information, call (042) 580-8239.

“Croatia and EU Enlargement” will be held at Hokkaido University Library from June 6 to 13. For more information, call (011) 706-2973.

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