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Croatian President Presses for EU Membership

The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" on 12 March quoted Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader as saying on a recent visit to Berlin that his country hopes to join the EU in 2007 or 2008.

In response to suggestions from some individual EU officials that all remaining former Yugoslav republics should wait to join the EU at the same time, Sanader argued that Croatia should be judged on its own merits -- as was Slovenia, which will join the EU in May.

He noted that Slovenia has served as a positive example for its southern neighbors, arguing that Croatia can do the same.

The Croatian leader declined to answer a question about how his government views possible Turkish EU membership, saying that Croatia is a candidate and not a full EU member.

Referring to his own plans for economic reform, Sanader said that one model he is studying is that of Slovakia, which recently introduced a 19 percent flat-rate tax.

(RFE/RL 12.iii.04)

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