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Croatia's parliament, the Sabor, unanimously ratified the country's EU Accession Treaty on Friday, 14 months before Croatia is due to join the European club as its 28th member.
Croatian MPs on Friday ratified the treaty by which Croatia is to join the European Union as the 28th member state on July 1, 2013.
Membership is subject to the parliaments of all 27 existing member states ratifying Croatian accession over the next 14 months.
So far, five EU member states have ratified the treaty: Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy and Malta.
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in parliament ahead of the vote that "the EU is the goal of our generation". After 20 years [of independence], it is time to complete the state."
Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic agreed, saying that there was a longstanding political consensus in Croatia over the issue of EU membership.
Until accession, Croatia remains under EU monitoring, which may slow the ratification process if any member country lodges complaints about Croatia's implementation of EU standards.
The Accession Treaty was signed December 9, 2011 in Brussels by Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.
Croatia started accession negotiations in October 2005. They have been the longest negotiations of any of the 12 EU member states that have joined since 2000.
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