become the 28th member state of the European Union on Monday 1st of
At midnight, the customs’ signs
have been removed from the symbolic crossing border with Slovenia, marking the
historical integration of Croatia as the 28th European member
state. At the same time a sign bearing
the logo of the EU has been installed in the far east of the country, on the
border with Serbia, a country with which Brussels gave its green light to the
opening of negotiations for his accession to the European Union.
Croatia applied for EU membership
in 2003 and the European Commission recommended officialising its candidature
in early 2004. Croatia signed the Treaty of Accession to become the bloc's 28th
member on 9th December 2011. The ratification process was concluded
on 21 June 2013 and the entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU has
taken place on 1 July 2013.
The benefits for both Croatia and
the rest of Europe are being discussed. Although Croatia is not yet joining the
single currency or the Schengen zone, the entry of this new member expands the
EU's internal market, along with new opportunities for EU businesses and
customers. Consequently, the area where EU standards will be applied is as well
expanded, in energy, transport or environmental protection. Moreover, it might
strengthen stability in the entire Western Balkans region and reshape relations
with candidates for enlargement, especially with Serbia.
However, the accession takes
place at a challenging time of economic torments, as Croatia began his fifth
year of recession and the unemployment has reached 21%. Although public opinion has been generally
supportive of the EU accession process, the on-going European sovereign-debt
crisis and Croatian economic difficulties are both conditions that could
jeopardize European credibility and stability.
Neven Mimica appointed as the 28th Commissioner, focusing on
After the Council of the European
Union formally confirmed the European Parliament's decision, Mimica took
over EU Consumer Policy on July 1. He will hold the post until the end of the
mandate of the current European Commission on 31th October 2014. The
Health and Consumers general directorate is to be split into two: Tonio Borg
will hold the post of health commissioner while Mimica will take over consumer
During a hearing organised in
June by the Internal Market and Public Health Committee at the European
Parliament, Neven Mimica developed his roadmap concerning his up-coming
commitment on consumer portfolio: the proposals on product safety, market
surveillance and access to a basic bank account through, removing barriers to
online shopping, ensuring safe products and informing consumers of their rights
will be the focus of the croatian commissioner.
In order to ensure consumer
protection, Mr Mimica pledged to strengthen the cooperation between the 11
commissioners that have portfolios related to consumers.