Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the PES Task Force on Western Balkan Enlargement said: “I would like to congratulate the people of Croatia on their tireless efforts in this 8-years journey to meet the goals of accession negotiations. This is a historical moment for Croatia. But its significance goes well beyond the country itself. This is a crucial signal for the enlargement process both in the EU and in the region. It is now important for Member States to ratify the Treaty without delay so that the 1 July 2013 deadline can be met.”
He added: “I would like to congratulate SDP Croatia for its fantastic result in the recent elections. With Zoran Milanovic leading the country as Prime Minister and Ivo Josipovic as President, Croatia is in very good hands to cross the EU finishing line. Following on from the success of the SDP in the elections, I am sure that the people of Croatia will strongly support the upcoming accession referendum. As the political family most committed to the enlargement process the PES will be particularly proud to see a strong and progressive Croatia coming through the EU doors.”
Montenegro was another success story with their acceptance as a candidate country to the EU. Membership talks are set to start in June 2012 if there is an improvement in tackling corruption and crime. The good news was not continued in the case of Serbia which was not granted candidate status. This decision was taken due to the fact that progress in talks with Kosovo was not considered sufficient and fast enough. Candidate status may be granted in March 2012.
Kristian Vigenin said: “The PES continues to support the progress of all Western Balkan countries to accession including Serbia, and we are certain that by March 2012 Serbia will be a candidate country.”