Croatia sets date for EU referendum


The Croatian parliament on Friday decided to hold a referendum on the country's entry into the European Union on January 22, a move enabling Zagreb to eventually join the bloc in mid-2013.

It was the first major decision by Croatia's new parliament, dominated by the centre-left coalition, a day after its inauguration following December 4 general elections.

A total of 124 of 136 deputies present backed the decision “calling for a state referendum on a decision on Croatia's accession into the EU” to be held within a month. The remaining 12

voted against.

Earlier this month Croatia signed an EU-accession treaty, paving the way for it to become the bloc's full-fledged member on July 1, 2013.

Apart from a referendum over the issue in Croatia, the treaty has to be ratified by all current 27 EU member states.

The decision was adopted just hours after the centre-left cabinet of Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic was sworn in.

The latest survey showed that some 60 percent Croatians would vote 'Yes' in the referendum.

Croatia is the second of the six Balkan republics that formed the former socialist Yugoslavia, which collapsed in a series of bloody wars in the 1990s, to join the bloc.

Of the six - Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia - only the latter is an EU member since 2004. - Sapa-AFP


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