29th Sep 2023

Croatia's EU talks may be delayed

  • Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte believes Croatia's efforts to find a war crimes suspect are insufficient (Photo: European Commission)

The likelihood of Croatia opening EU talks on 17 March has been dealt a blow by claims by the UN chief prosecutor that the country has not done enough to find and arrest a war crimes suspect.

Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague, sent a letter to the Luxembourg EU Presidency criticising Zagreb for not doing enough to locate the fugitive general, Ante Gotovina.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I have had no new information (since 11 February) capable of making me change my evaluation on Croatian co-operation with the ICTY", Ms Del Ponte was reported as saying by Reuters.

"In spite of all the guaranties provided by Zagreb, Ante Gotovina is within Croatian authorities' reach, and we will not be able to say that the country is co-operating fully with the ICTY as long as it has not handed him over to the tribunal", the prosecutor is reported to have written.

Ms Del Ponte has found recent measures taken by Croatia, such as freezing the general's assets, belated and insufficient.

She also said Croatian authorities had tried to obstruct her investigations last year.

Croatia has refuted Ms Del Ponte's criticisms.

"Croatia is doing its best to resolve the Gotovina case and we are regularly putting forward our efforts to Ms del Ponte and the EU", according to a representative of the Croatian Foreign Ministry.

The European Commission had said earlier that if the prosecutor's statement was negative, membership talks with Croatia, planned to start next Thursday, would be delayed.

Member state experts will discuss the issue tomorrow (10 March) with a formal decision expected to be taken by EU foreign ministers at a meeting next Wednesday - on the eve of the planned opening of talks.

However, a Commission spokesperson told the EUobserver on Monday that "if something happens between the 10th and the 16th (March), it will of course be taken into account".


How do you make embarrassing EU documents 'disappear'?

The EU Commission's new magic formula for avoiding scrutiny is simple. You declare the documents in question to be "short-lived correspondence for a preliminary exchange of views" and thus exempt them from being logged in the official inventory.


Will Poles vote for the end of democracy?

International media must make clear that these are not fair, democratic elections. The flawed race should be the story at least as much as the race itself.

Latest News

  1. Added-value for Russia diamond ban, as G7 and EU prepare sanctions
  2. EU states to agree on asylum crisis bill, say EU officials
  3. Poland's culture of fear after three years of abortion 'ban'
  4. Time for a reset: EU regional funding needs overhauling
  5. Germany tightens police checks on Czech and Polish border
  6. EU Ombudsman warns of 'new normal' of crisis decision-making
  7. How do you make embarrassing EU documents 'disappear'?
  8. Resurgent Fico hopes for Slovak comeback at Saturday's election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators, industry & healthcare experts at the 24th IMDRF session, September 25-26, Berlin. Register by 20 Sept to join in person or online.
  2. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  3. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  4. International Medical Devices Regulators Forum (IMDRF)Join regulators & industry experts at the 24th IMDRF session- Berlin September 25-26. Register early for discounted hotel rates
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us