25 MAY 2011
By Andrew Willis
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Divisions exist between EU member states over the timing of Croatia's accession to the bloc, with some capitals pushing for a new monitoring mechanism to ensure Zagreb follows through with pledged reforms.
EU foreign ministers discussed the issue in Brussels on Monday evening (23 May), with France leading a group of states who favour a system of additional checks between the end of accession negotiations and eventual EU membership, a period which can last between one to two years.
"We are for the quick conclusion of negotiations, but also for an effective control that the commitments are respected," French Foreign Ministers Alain Juppe told reporters.
Croatia has currently concluded 30 of the 35 policy chapters that aspiring EU members must negotiate, but problems remain in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and the processing of war crimes relating to the 1990s war in the Balkans.
Anti-corruption NGO Transparency International issued a warning last week ahead of the foreign ministers' meeting, indicating its "concern that a clear political will to fight corruption in certain key areas is still lacking."
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