The question of Croatia's membership is no longer an issue for the European Union, with some details still to be agreed, which should be done by the end of this week, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said on Monday.
The target date is 1 July 2013, we are on the right track. There are some details we should solve by the end of this week. We should sign the accession treaty this year, after which there will be 18 months for its ratification. I think that Croatia's accession is no longer an issue for the EU, Asselborn said arriving at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said a stricter monitoring of how Croatia was complying with its commitments was necessary in the period between the completion of the accession negotiations and accession.
This monitoring has to be explicit in several components regarding rule of law and the fight against corruption, he said.
There is no need for that, but let's wait for the outcome of the discussion, said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb underlined the importance of monitoring compliance with commitments from the "Judiciary and Fundamental Rights" negotiation chapter, but said monitoring after accession, as the one introduced for Bulgaria and Romania, was not acceptable.
The European Commission last Friday suggested the usual monitoring that had been applied until now and did not mention the possibility of any penalties in case of non-compliance with commitments.
According to diplomatic sources, representatives of some countries in the enlargement task force want stricter monitoring and the possibility of adopting appropriate measures in case commitments are not being complied with, based on the monitoring and the Commission's proposal.
The General Affairs Council, which comprises foreign or European affairs ministers of EU countries, is expected to discuss Croatia tomorrow.