Berlin - The upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, on Friday unanimously ratified Croatia's Treaty of Accession with the European Union which marked the completion of the parliamentary procedure of the treaty's ratification in Germany, the last EU member state to confirm Croatia's membership of the bloc as of 1 July.
The session in the Budesrat was also attended by Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko who thanked Germany for its permanent support during Croatia path to the EU. "I thank the German people for their support which started at the moment of Croatia's international recognition and never ceased to exist," Leko said. "The ratification of Croatia's EU accession treaty in Germany sealed that document. This is the final confirmation of the maturity and readiness of Croatia's policy towards the European Union, but also the confirmation of credibility ... of the German policy towards both the European Union and Croatia," Leko said.
This is a historic day, because Croatia's EU entry is a big step not only for the entire region but also for the entire Europe, said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle of the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP). Addressing MPs is the Bundesrat, Westerwelle said Croatia had invested enormous efforts to meet all the conditions for EU membership. Croatia will become part of the peace process, he said adding that Croatia's EU membership negotiations was a lengthy and difficult process but that in the end Croatia had met all the conditions. He added that all the countries of the region had EU prospects if they met the set criteria. Croatia is politically and culturally a true European country, Westerwelle concluded.
The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann (Green Party) who is also Bundesrat speaker, said Croatia's EU entry was an important signal for the entire region of Southeast Europe. Croatia's example shows that intensive reforms pay off, Kretschmann said.
The Bundestag, the lower house of the German federal parliament, on May 16 ratified Croatia's European Union accession treaty, bringing this process only a step away from formal completion. The treaty was ratified with 583 votes in favour and six abstentions. The Bundesrat, the upper house, must technically approve every law adopted by the Bundestag which refers to the federal regions. Slovakia was the first country to ratify Croatia's EU accession treaty on 1 February 2012. Germany was the last to do so. (Hina)