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Prime Minister meets EU delegation head to talks about Zagreb's EU entry talks

ZAGREB, Aug 20 (Hina) - Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor on Friday met the head of the Delegation of the European Union in Croatia, Paul Vandoren, to talk about Croatia's EU entry talks, notably the remaining two negotiating chapters - Chapter 8 Competition Policy and Chapter 23 Judiciary and Fundamental Rights.

Kosor and Vandored were not scheduled to address the press after the talks in the government headquarters. Vandoren, however, confirmed that the talks focused on the two key chapters that need to be closed, adding that they talked about privatisation and restructuring of shipyards and judicial reform, including fight against corruption.

The government wants to wrap up the negotiations as soon as possible and we support that ambition, Vandoren said, adding that a lot of hard work has already been done.

Great progress was made in the implementation of judicial reform, but there are still areas in which additional progress is required, Vandoren said, adding that the EU gave a clear message to the government and the government knows what to do.

The government said in a statement that the talks focused on the course of Croatia's EU membership negotiations, adding that Kosor informed Vandoren of Croatia's efforts to meet all the criteria so that Zagreb could sign an accession agreement during Hungary's EU presidency.

Vandoren, the European Commission and the European Union fully support the Croatian government and Prime Minister Kosor and the job ahead of them, the statement said.

The talks also focused on the importance of informing the citizens of Croatia's future EU membership, the statement said.

Croatia has opened all 33 chapters of its EU membership talks, of which two thirds have been temporarily closed. Zagreb hopes to close the remaining 11 chapters by March 2011 and sign the accession agreement during Hungary's EU presidency, namely in the first half of 2011.