Leko says Croatia, EU building shared future

Zagreb - Croatia will become a member of the European Union on July 1 but its job does not end there; it will be faced with new challenges which it can overcome by being responsible and credible in building a shared European future, Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said on Saturday at a special parliamentary sitting held on the occasion of Croatia's EU entry.

"The day after tomorrow, on July 1, Croatia will become a full member of the European Union, but the job does not end there. On the contrary. We will be faced with new challenges, but I am confident that we will show, as we have so far, all the necessary responsibility and credibility in building a joint European home and a joint European future," Leko said addressing MPs, numerous state officials and foreign guests.

EU membership is confirmation to Croatia that it has achieved high international standards as a democratic state of the rule of law and freedoms, Leko said. He recalled that the first steps on that path were the first free and democratic multiparty elections held in the spring of 1990 after which the first democratic parliament was constituted. Recalling the most important events from Croatia's recent history, Leko said that in 2000 Croatia turned a new leaf on the home and foreign fronts and that the process of Croatia's joining NATO and the EU was launched.

"Owing to the consensus of all Croatian parliamentary parties, the comprehensive job of adjusting Croatia's legislation to that of the EU as well as other necessary social reforms have been successfully implemented," Leko said, underlining the exceptionally important role of the Sabor as the highest legislative and representative body. Leko used this opportunity to thank everyone, deputies, employees in the Sabor "who contributed to Croatia's EU membership" as well as everyone else who contributed to Croatia's success on the EU path.

After Croatia's Treaty of Accession with the European Union was signed on 9 December 2011, the process of ratifying the document started in EU member states. "During that process, we were looking forward to every act of ratification with equal enthusiasm, from Slovakia, which ratified the document first, to Germany, which did it last. We saw this as a friendly handshake and a greeting outside the wide-open door of our joint family - the European Union," Leko said.

At the end of his address, Leko wished the Sabor and all Croatian citizens as well as the European Union a long and happy path to a shared, better future.

Author: Hina