EC encouraged by Croatias efforts to combat corruption.

By bne IntelliNews February 11, 2010
The newly appointed EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fuele, said that the European Commission (EC) was encouraged by Croatia s efforts to combat corruption. He stressed that the country could finalise the negotiations for the EU entry by the end of the year if it continued to show progress in meeting the requirements. Fuele said that Croatia had to continue with the reforms in the judiciary and public administration, the fight against corruption and organised crime, minority rights, including the return of refugees, as well as on war crimes trials and full cooperation with the Hague tribunal. Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said that the full cooperation with the Hague tribunal has not been achieved yet. However, he stressed the positive steps, which have been undertaken, namely the establishment of a task force and the stepping up of efforts in the search for documents sought by the tribunal. In related news, Vesna Pusic, the head of the national committee for monitoring of the negotiations with EU, said that Croatia had to complete 16 key tasks by the summer in order the country to be able to complete the accession negotiations by end-2010 . The committee identified 16 issues, which had to be performed in order the country to open and close negotiations on 16 chapters. There were 5 policy chapters, on which negotiations had not been opened yet, namely environment, fisheries, foreign security and defence policy, judiciary and fundamental rights and market competition. Some of the issues will require the adoption of new legislation, some will require constitutional changes and some will be related to adoption of laws and establishment of new institutions. Pusic also added that these chapters had to be opened in February and April, by stressing that the most sensitive chapters, especially judiciary, had to be closed in the second half of 2010.

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