Thursday, 17 April 2014

Senate unanimously nods to Croatia's EU accession

26 April 2012

Prague, April 25 (CTK) - The Czech Senate smoothly approved Croatia's EU accession treaty, as expected, Wednesday when all 59 senators present voted in favour of it.

The Czech ratification process will be complete after the treaty is approved by the Chamber of Deputies, which nodded to it in first reading in mid-March.

To be ratified, the treaty needs support from three-fifths of senators (i.e. 49 at least) and three-fifths of deputies (120 at least).

If Croatia's accession is ratified by all EU members, Croatia will become the EU's 28th member as from July 1, 2013, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg recalled in the Senate discussion Wednesday.

The Czech government originally wanted to link the parliament's vote on Croatia's accession with the vote on the Czech opt-out from the EU Lisbon Treaty's Charter of Fundamental Rights. In late 2009, the opt-out was Czech President Vaclav Klaus's condition for adding his signature to the Lisbon Treaty and enabling its coming into force.

However, if Czech parliament had voted on the two issues jointly, the Croatian accession treaty would probably have failed because the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), who dominate the Senate, are against the opt-out.

Croatia applied for EU entry in 2003. Its accession talks started two years later and were closed last June.

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