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PM Dzurinda says Croatia meets criteria for starting EU accession talks

CROATIA meets the criteria for starting EU accession talks, said Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda following a meeting between of prime ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4 - Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia).

However, Prime Ministers Ferenc Gyurcsány of Hungary, Jiøí Paroubek of the Czech Republic, Marek Belka of Poland and Dzurinda failed to agree regarding Croatia's progress.

Since the ministers could not agree, a formal letter urging the EU to start talks with Croatia will not be sent to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Gyurcsány pledged that Budapest would send a letter supporting opening talks with Croatia regardless.

Accession talks with Croatia were originally supposed to start on March 17. Brussels decided to postpone the negotiations when Croatia failed to arrest fugitive General Ante Gotovina who is wanted by the ICTY in The Hague.

During his March visit to Slovakia, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader received assurance by Dzurinda that Slovakia would continue to support Croatia’s bid for EU membership. Dzurinda is one of the main activists supporting Croatia.

Compiled by Beata Balogova from press reports
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