published: 08.06.2012, 10:27 | updated: 08.06.2012 10:44:17
Prague - The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, smoothly ratified the treaty of accession of Croatia to the European Union, with 151 out of 164 deputies present supporting it in the vote today.
The other house of parliament, the Senate, nodded to Croatia´s EU accession in April.
The Czech ratification process will be complete after the treaty is signed by president.
If Croatia's accession is ratified by all EU members, Croatia will become the 28th member of the European Union as from July 1, 2013.
Under the accession treaty, Croatia will have 12 representatives in the European Parliament and the necessary changes to the voting systems in the European Council and the Council of the EU will be made. The treaty also deals with transitional periods related to agriculture, environment taxes and the free movement of people and commodities, among others.
The Czech government originally wanted to link the parliament´s vote on Croatia´s accession with the vote on the Czech opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, a part of the Lisbon Treaty. In late 2009, the opt-out was Czech President Vaclav Klaus´s condition for adding his signature to the Lisbon Treaty and enabling its coming into force.
However, if Czech parliament had voted on the two issues jointly, the Croatian accession treaty would probably have failed because the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), who dominate the Senate, are against the opt-out.
Croatia applied for EU entry in 2003. Its accession talks started two years later and were closed last June. The Czech Republic has been an EU member since 2004.
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