Netherlands support Croatia's EU bid
Updated: 2013-01-30 10:00
THE HAGUE - A majority of the Dutch parliament on Tuesday approved the accession of Croatia to the European Union (EU) later this year.
Croatia finished accession negotiations in June 2011 and on Dec 9, 2011 signed the Treaty of Accession. After that the Croats voted in favor of EU membership in a referendum.
Before July 1, all EU member states should have ratified the treaty, followed by accession of Croatia as the 28th EU member.
The Dutch parliament agreed with Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who stated that the EU has learned from the mistakes that were made when Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007. After their accession, it became clear that these countries were not meeting the conditions and therefore should not have been admitted.
According to Timmermans, the Croats have made sufficient progress to join the Union.
Labor (PvdA), the Liberals (VVD), the Christian Democrats (CDA), the Democrats of D66 and GroenLinks (Green Left) supported the accession of Croatia, although government parties PvdA and VVD still find the situation in Croatia is not yet ideal.
Only the anti-Europe Party of Freedom PVV and the Socialist Party SP are against the Croatian accession. The SP is concerned about the arrival of migrants from Croatia looking for a job in other EU countries.
Timmermans advocated a transitional period, in which Croats cannot work in the Netherlands immediately after the membership is approved.
The European Commission will report on the progress made by Croatia in March. Until that date the Dutch cabinet waits with the signing the Accession Treaty.