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Nov 26, 2007 17:37 EEST
ZAGREB (Croatia), November 26 (SeeNews) – The European Union welcomes the broad consensus over accession that exists among the main political parties in Croatia and pledges to continue supporting the efforts of a new Croatian government to achieve membership, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Monday.
The ruling conservative HDZ party has a slight edge over the main opposition, the Social Democrats, after Croatia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, partial results indicate. Both the SDP and the HDZ support Croatia’s membership of the EU.
" I trust the future government will strive for EU membership and work on fulfilling the necessary criteria in order to meet the ambitious targets which Croatia has set for itself. For our part, the Commission will continue to be fully engaged in supporting these efforts," Rehn said in a statement.
Whichever of the two main contenders wins the elections, it will need to seek a coalition with smaller parties to form a cabinet.
“I am sure that the elected politicians will work smoothly for the rapid formation of the new government,” Rehn added.
Political analysts agree that the risks for the country's economic stability from a change in government after the elections are low, as the main challenges ahead for the new cabinet - fighting corruption, restructuring the economy, reforming the judiciary and the public administration - are all determined by Croatia's EU accession process.
Croatia started EU accession talks in October 2005 and hopes to join the bloc by the end of the decade. The country expects to receive an invitation for NATO membership next year.
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