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Croatians Vote to Join European Union


Croatian voters cast their ballots at the polling station in Zagreb, Croatia, January 22, 2012.

Croatian voters cast their ballots at the polling station in Zagreb, Croatia, January 22, 2012.

Croatia has made a giant step toward joining the European Union after voters approved membership in a referendum Sunday.

With the vote counting still under way late in the day, officials said 67 percent supported membership. Voter turnout is expected to be less than half.

Supporters of EU membership say Croatia's floundering economy can benefit by entering into a union with its much stronger European neighbors. But opponents note that all of Europe is struggling economically, and they say Croatia could lose some of its sovereignty by joining.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic called Sunday's vote a turning point for Croatian history. He said he looks forward to all of Europe becoming his home.

If all current EU members give final ratification to Croatian membership, Croatia will become the 28th member on July 1, 2013.

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