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EU Heads On Croatia, Greece

  • June 25th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

eurobook-cover-trim.jpgCroatia has been cleared to become the 28th member country of the European Union, under a decision by the EU’s Heads of Government at Brussels, 24.6.11.

The summit also approved the current phase of debt relief for Greece.

SETTING A NEW PLACE AT THE TABLE

The Croatian decision has been long-coming, building up wide support; side-tracked at times by problems such as a squabble over the border with Slovenia, outstanding cases against accused war criminals, and luke-warm public opinion among nationalists, about getting into any fresh international unions.

The decision by the European leaders this week means the accession discussions can be finished shortly, and, subject to a national referendum, membership to take effect in 2013.

No other short-term or medium-term membership proposals are in hand, although an application from Serbia ahs been given new impetus, following the arrest of the former general, Ratko Milodic, on 26.5.11.

See EUAustralia: “Pope to Croatians …”, 5.6.11; “’Got Him!’ (again) …”, 27.5.11; “Former Yugoslavia …”, 17.4.11.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS ON GREECE

Much of the work being done on the current phase of debt management for the beleaguered Greek economy, the European Summit quickly ticked that item – to await a vote in the national Parliament next week.

The government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is proposing further austerity measures, in response demands of its European creditors, and in the face of a two-day general strike.

One report from Brussels, in The Economist, says a caucus of the Heads of Government and senior EU officials, from conservative parties in Europe, put some time into Andonis Samaras, their colleague and the Opposition Leader in Athens.

His troops have been voting solidly against austerity; this week he may have been reminded as to which side his ideological bread was buttered.

PLENTY TO TALK ABOUT

Perplexing problems are the order of the day, generally in Brussels. The government leaders had a full plate of other matters for attention, not least:-

Persistent crowding of undocumented migrants into Europe, adding to the ever-building crisis in Greece; causing rifts also between Italy and France (patched up at a mates’ summit in March, Silvio Berlusconi and Nicolas Sarkozy agreeing, in public, to ask the EU to settle issues of on-passing of migrants across its open  borders).

Decisions about whether Europe might hold onto the top post at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following the resignation in disgrace of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, is seen as the front-runner; the Mexican economist, Augustine Carstens, is getting support from emerging economic powers; and this week received a joint-endorsement from Australia and Canada. A decision on the post was set to be made this month.

“Greek vote on crisis”, 22.6.11; “Greek crisis unrelenting”, 18.6.11.

Reference

Al Jazeera, Doha, “Croatia gets green light to join EU”, 24.6.11. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/06/201162415159534282.html, (25.6.11).

“Charlemagne”, “Greek opposition under EU fire”, The Economist, London, 24.6.11.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2011/06/eu-summit, (25.6.11).

Justyna Pawlak, “EU leaders give conditional go-ahead to Croatia entry”, Reuters, London, 24.6.11. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-eu-croatia-idUSTRE75N4LF20110624, (25.6.11).
Carsten Volkery, Europe Throws Its Support Behind Greek Prime Minister, Der Spiegel, Hamburg, 24.6.11. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,770290,00.html, (25.6.11).

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