Croatia became the 28th Member of the European Union

Jul 1, 2013 12:35 IST

Croatia on 1 July 2013 became the 28th member of the European Union, with crowds joining celebrations in the capital Zagreb. It comes almost two decades after Croatia's brutal war of independence. . Croatia's split from Yugoslavia caused a 1991-1995 war to secure its independence.

Croatia had finished its accession negotiations on 30 June 2011 and it signed the Treaty of Accession in Brussels on 9 December 2011. It was followed by its approval through a national referendum on 22 January 2012. It completed its ratification process on 4 April 2012. Entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU took place on 1 July 2013. It had applied for EU membership in 2003. Croatia is the first new EU member since Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. After Slovenia, Croatia is the second former Yugoslav republic to join the EU.   

European Union (EU)
The European Union is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The EU operates through a system of independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member nations. Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens. The EU's capital is Brussels.

A monetary union, the eurozone, was set up in 1999 and it comprises 17 member states.

What do we mean by a member state of EU?
A member state of the European Union is a state or nation that is party to treaties of the European Union (EU) and thereby subject to the privileges and obligations of EU membership. Unlike the membership of an international organisation, EU membership places each member under binding laws in exchange for representation in the EU's legislative and judicial institutions.

On the other hand, EU member nations exercise considerable autonomy compared to the constituent states of a federation, maintaining their national military and foreign policy.

What is Copenhagen Criteria
According to the Copenhagen criteria, membership of the European Union is open to any European nation that is a stable, free market liberal democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights.

The Copenhagen criteria are the rules that define whether a nation is eligible to join the European Union. These membership criteria were laid down at the June 1993 European Council in Copenhagen.

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