At midnight on July 1st Croatia officially became the 28th member of the European Union. Tens of thousands of people celebrated through the night in the squares and streets of all the country’s cities a goal reached after ten years of reforms aimed at democratic and liberal development.
President Napolitano and Minister Bonino at the Zagreb celebrations
Italy has been one of Croatia’s staunchest supporters in its bid for European integration. On Sunday President Giorgio Napolitano and Minister Emma Bonino participated in the festivities in Zagreb, along with the entire European Union delegation – Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz – and the representatives of 170 foreign delegations. “It was a great day for Europe, which turned out to express its vitality and ability to be inclusive”, said President Napolitano.
The Balkans’ EU integration is an Italian foreign policy priority. Italy’s impetus toward this achievement played a role in encouraging the European Council of 27 June to set the date of January 1st for the launch of Serbia’s accession negotiations and Kosovo’s Association and Stabilisation Agreement (ASA).