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Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 21:04 UK

Croatia's EU entry talks resume

By Dominic Hughes
BBC News, Brussels

Sweden's FM Carl Bildt, whose country is current holder of the EU Presidency, addressing a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels (15 Sept 2009)
Swedish FM Carl Bildt said it was a "critical day" for Croatia's EU ambitions

Croatia has resumed EU membership talks, after neighbour Slovenia lifted an embargo on furthering the matter.

The two countries have been locked in a bitter border dispute for years, but now seem close to settling the issue.

The EU says the resumption of talks in Brussels was of "critical" importance to Croatia's EU membership ambitions.

Slovenia and Croatia have been involved in an argument over disputed borders since 1991, when both decided to declare independence from Yugoslavia.

Croatia's chances of becoming the 28th member of the European Union looks to be back on track, with the resumption of talks in Brussels.

It marks the end of a 10-month embargo imposed by neighbouring Slovenia.

This was a critical day for Croatia's ambition to join the EU, according to the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the EU's presidency.

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He said very substantial progress had been made with negotiations on five policy areas - or chapters in EU jargon - which had been completed, with a further six having been opened.

It is certainly a big leap forward for Croatia after months in which talks had stalled, thanks to the veto by Slovenia.

Now that the joint border dispute appears to be close to a resolution, talks are once again under way.

Croatia still has some work to do though - its fight against corruption, the efficiency of its courts and public administration bodies, and co-operation with The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia all present considerable challenges.



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