The Croatian path towards the European Union started in the early 2000s through the Stabilization and Association Agreement, but the application for membership was formally submitted February 21, 2003. At the time, the government of Croatia was the Government of Ivica Racan, and Tonino Picula, the current MEP, was the Foreign Minister.
Croatia was not surprised with the EU Membership, because it has been preparing for it for a long time, says Picula for T portal.
"We have had long lasting, unique and difficult negotiations. Because of the good adaptation to the new European standards, those segments of society that knew what they wanted, benefited. However, EU membership was more negative for the inert part of society that could not, did not wanted or knew how to deal with with changes. Shortly, the challenges of Membership negotiations continued to be a challenge for us even after July 1, 2013", says Picula.
Although almost every day we are witnessing benefits of our Membership, such as the ability to work beyond the borders of Croatia or the withdrawal of money from European funds, Picula warns that there is still room for improvement.
"Cohesion policy is an institutional reflex of one of the most important values ??of the European project - solidarity and a line of defense of EU credibility. For Croatia, it is crucial that in attracting European funds over the next five years, Croatia is far more successful. We have to use the EU funds more to remove the internal disparities, but also to make all citizens of Croatia feel the direct benefit of Membership in the Union.
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