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Croatia To Become 28th EU Member

BRUSSELS, Dec. 6 (UPI) — Croatia will join the European Union July 1, 2013, under a decision approved by the EU General Affairs Council, a council spokesperson said Tuesday.

Approved last week, the agreement on Croatia’s accession as the 28th member of the bloc was scheduled to be signed Friday during the European Union summit in Brussels, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

All 27 EU members must ratify the agreement for it to be effective. Croatia also will conduct a referendum, EuroAlert.net reported.

The council official said Croatia’s EU accession “sends a positive signal to the whole Balkan region.”

The organization’s envoy to Croatia, Paul Vandoren, said the country would join the European Union even if it fails to fulfill its remaining obligations, RIA Novosti said. Vandoren said the EU would still monitor Croatia’s judiciary reforms, the country’s battle against corruption and Croatia’s reorganization of its ship-building industry.

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