Croatia could conclude EU talks in 2009

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Croatia could conclude EU talks in 2009

Austria and the Czech Republic believe Croatia will be ready to finalise its accession into the European Union from as early as 2009, the respective prime ministers said Monday after meeting in Vienna.

'Both our countries support Croatia's entry to the European Union and we believe the new (Croatian) government will be able to meet the necessary criteria for entry in 2009,' said Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer.

Czech counterpart Mirek Topolanek said that the Czech Republic expects to play a 'leading role' in Croatia's entry negotiations, according to Tompson Financial.

The Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader, who is to reveal a new coalition government on Jan 11, has said accelerating the accession process, which would make Croatia the 28th member state in 2010, is a key priority.

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