Opening of negotiations with Croatia raises questions

4 October 2005

Opening of negotiations with Croatia raises questions

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has asked Secretary of State for European Affairs Atzo Nicolaï for clarifcation regarding the decision to begin accession negotiations with Croatia. Mr Van Bommel said: “It appears that Austria has given up its opposition to Turkey's accession in exchange for a start being made on accession negotiations with Croatia. This looks like a political parlour game.”

In June 2004 EU heads of government demanded Croatia's full co-operation with the Yugoslavia Tribunal before accession negotiations could begin. The arrest of war crimes suspect General Ante Gotovina was seen as the most important obstacle.

Harry van BommelAs Mr Van Bommel points out, “Gotovina is not yet in The Hague, but senior Tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is nevertheless of the opinion that Croatia's co-operation is now satisfactory. This is a remarkable development, especially in view of the fact that a few weeks ago Ms Del Ponte was still saying that Croatia must make more effort to locate Gotovina and ensure his arrest.”

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