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Croatia; European Union: Enlargement

(July 8, 2013) On July 1, 2013, <?Croatia, a state belonging to the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia until 1992 and with a population of under five million, officially joined the European Union, becoming the EU's 28th Member State. Croatia had formally applied to join the EU in 2003. However, the EU postponed the opening of negotiations for two more years, until 2005, when Croatia promised to fully comply with requests of the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague to deal effectively with alleged Croatian war criminals. (Honor Mahony, Croatia Becomes 28th EU Member State, EU OBSERVER (July 1, 2013).)

The event was greeted enthusiastically by both the EU and Croatia. The President of the EU Council, Herman Van Rompuy, stated that “this will change the life of this nation for good,” echoing similar sentiments expressed by the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. Croatian officials highlighted the significance for other countries in the area of taking steps towards future EU membership. (Id.)