Zagreb succeeded in provisionally closing two more chapters in its accession negotiations on 27 July. The accession conference with Croatia, which took place at deputy level, was chaired by Jean de Ruyt, Belgium’s permanent representative to the EU. At the meeting it was agreed to close chapters 12 (food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary policy) and 32 (financial control).
The EU stressed that it would monitor closely all specific issues mentioned in its common positions on these chapters and would return to them at a later stage if this proved necessary.
The closure of the two chapters brings to 22 the number of policy areas in which accession negotiations have been provisionally concluded, while talks continue on a further 11.
Michael Leigh, the Director General for Enlargement who represented the Commission at the meeting, noted that several difficult chapters – such as those with financial implications and those on competition and judiciary and fundamental rights – were to be dealt with in the coming months. It was in Croatia's own hands to set the pace of the negotiations by fulfilling the outstanding benchmarks on time, Leigh said.