Parliament supports SP motion: No admission for Croatia without legislature’s approval

24 June 2011

Parliament supports SP motion: No admission for Croatia without legislature’s approval

In the near future Croatia will be faced with the task of proving that it is fulfilling the demands placed on candidates for European Union membership. Before any agreement to admit Croatia can be endorsed by the Dutch government, it will first have to be sent to the national Parliament, thanks to a proposal from SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel which on Wednesday won the support of a majority of his colleagues across the political spectrum. As Van Bommel explains, ‘we should learn from Bulgaria and Romania, where the admission agreements were too lax and the two countries were admitted too rapidly. That’s why I want to see the agreements with Croatia for myself, and before we take a decision over the country’s admission to the EU.’

Harry van BommelBased on the experiences with Romania and Bulgaria, it appears that there is a big difference between agreements on paper and what happens in reality. The rule of law, the protection of minorities and the fight against corruption remain, in these countries, far from satisfactory, despite the agreements. “After the Netherlands voted to approve their admission,” says Van Bommel, “we no longer had a veto, which meant that we could not do anything to enforce the measures agreed. That’s what we’re trying to avoid this time.”

It is expected that the negotiations with Croatia will be completed during the summer, after which the EU member states’ governments will vote on admission. After that, national parliaments will be asked to give their approval. It will be a year or two before this is completed, and under pressure from the Netherlands in the meantime we will kept informed during this period as to whether Croatia is fulfilling all of the demands. Thanks to Van Bommel’s resolution, Parliament will have a say in this process. As he explains, “in this was we will avoid a situation in which Parliament returns to work after the summer recess only to find that the government has already agreed to the approval process. We are first of all going to look at the agreements made and then, only if Parliament is satisfied with these, will we give our permission to continue the accession process for Croatia.”

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