PM Sanader, Pusic hold preparatory meeting of committee for Croatia's EU membership bid

Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said on Thursday that he was confident that the national committee for monitoring Croatia's European Union membership talks would carry out the tasks of the national alliance for Europe.

Earlier today, Sanader held a meeting with the new head of the national committee, Vesna Pusic, Croatia's chief negotiator Vladimir Drobnjak, and Parliament Deputy Speaker Vladimir Seks.

"I'm sure that the national committee will carry out its duties which we had in mind while implementing the proposal for establishing the Alliance for Europe," Sanader told reporters after the meeting.

The Alliance for Europe is a national strategy of inclusion of all political parties in efforts to accomplish Croatia's plan to become a European Union member.

Pusic said that today's meeting also revolved around contentious issues which the government was currently trying to settle.

The pace of Croatia's EU membership talks has slowed down amidst disagreements with Slovenia and Italy over Croatia's Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (EFPZ). However, EU bodies in Brussels also hold that Croatia is slow in implementing reforms in the judiciary and the state administration, as well as in the struggle against corruption.

Accession negotiations with the EU are making headway and "we are in touch with the European Commission all the time", said Sanader.

Asked by reporters whether she intended to introduce changes in the work of the national committee, Pusic said that her intention was to more intensively hold sessions and expand the committee by including experts on some topics from the negotiating process.

Sanader said that on Friday Pusic would travel to Brussels for a meeting of the European Liberal Democrats and Reformers (ELDR) presidency and that she would also have an opportunity to hold talks with European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.

Sanader added that Rehn would visit Croatia next week.

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