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06/23/07

Government satisfied with outcome of Brussels summit



The Croatian government is satisfied with the successful outcome of the European Council meeting in Brussels which created the foundations for a new, better institutional activity of the EU, while at the same time providing for its further enlargement, notably with regard to Croatia.

ZAGREB, June 23 (Hina) - The Croatian government is satisfied with the successful outcome of the European Council meeting in Brussels which created the foundations for a new, better institutional activity of the EU, while at the same time providing for its further enlargement, notably with regard to Croatia, a statement said on Saturday.

The government is satisfied that the results of the meeting pave the way for an Intergovernmental Conference at which EU countries will jointly formulate a treaty that will update existing EU treaties, the statement said, adding that this provided the foundations for better functioning and further enlargement, notably with regard to Croatia.

EU president Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the helm, deserves credit for effectively leading the complex and demanding negotiations that resulted in a historic agreement of the 27 EU countries, the statement said.

The Croatian government applauded the statements in which Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso underlined the importance of last night's agreement for Croatia's accession to the EU, and expressed gratitude for all the support they gave Croatia on its road to the EU.

Croatia finds in the latest European Council results encouragement to continue the accession negotiations within which six new chapters will be opened on Tuesday, said the statement.

The government remains determined to continue with the negotiations at full intensity, keeping sight of the strategic importance yesterday's agreement has on Croatia and its citizens, the statement concluded.

The leaders of 27 EU countries early on Saturday morning reached agreement to start negotiations on a new treaty to reform European institutions, which will pave the way for the continuation of EU enlargement, Merkel told reporters.

Only the fact that we stand a good chance of having a new treaty in 2009 will pave the way for enlargement, she said.

The Treaty of Nice was designed for 27 member-countries and with it, enlargement would be impossible. That was one of the main reasons why we said that we had to act quickly. Only with a new treaty that we will get will Croatia be able to become a member, Merkel said.

Barroso said that without a new treaty, the EU would not be able to go on with enlargement because some members would oppose it. This is a big success for enlargement, especially for Croatia, he said.