News / Europe

EU Could Punish Croatia Over Extradition Row

FILE - An usher of the European Parliament holds Croatia's national flag during a ceremony marking the start of the country's membership in the EU, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 1, 2013.FILE - An usher of the European Parliament holds Croatia's national flag during a ceremony marking the start of the country's membership in the EU, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 1, 2013.
x
FILE - An usher of the European Parliament holds Croatia's national flag during a ceremony marking the start of the country's membership in the EU, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 1, 2013.
FILE - An usher of the European Parliament holds Croatia's national flag during a ceremony marking the start of the country's membership in the EU, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 1, 2013.
Reuters
The European Commission is likely to punish Croatia next week in a row over extradition rules that has marred the former Yugoslav state's first months as a member of the European Union and may endanger EU aid for border control improvements.

The Adriatic state's entry to the EU in July was celebrated as a mark of recovery from years of war during the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia.

But Croatia has quickly fallen into disagreement with its new peers over amendments to its extradition laws, made just a few days before it joined the group, which effectively ensured protection of veterans from Croatia's 1991-95 independence war from facing inquiries elsewhere in the EU.

Zagreb will also likely fall foul of EU budget rules this year thanks to a protracted recession.

The European Commission, which acts as the bloc's executive, is expected to invoke an article in Croatia's accession treaty that allows it to impose punitive measures if EU rules are broken, the so-called safeguard clause.

“Patience has run out. We will likely move to trigger the safeguard clause,” one senior Commission official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said this would likely happen at the regular meeting of EU commissioners next week.

The Zagreb government pledged last month to apply European rules in full in an effort to avoid sanctions.

At issue – European Arrest Warrant

But the EU's top justice official, Viviane Reding, said in a letter to the country's Justice Minister Ornate Miljenic dated September 4 that its promise to change how the European Arrest Warrant will be applied next year was not enough.

She said the lack of compliance could lead to delays in the country joining the bloc's Schengen passport-free travel zone, which Zagreb has said is a priority.

Two diplomats told Reuters specifically on this score, the Commission may decide to target funds given to Croatia to improve border controls to prepare for entry to the zone.

Croatia's opposition HDZ party, which ruled the country in the 1990s and between 2004-2011, has accused Zagreb's leftist-led government of tweaking EU rules to protect former Croatian intelligence chief Josip Perkovic.

The official had worked for communist Yugoslavia's secret service, the UDBA, and led intelligence services after Croatia became independent, and now faces charges in Germany over the 1983 murder of a Yugoslav dissident in Bavaria.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic has denied any connection with the German case and says Croatia only sought to exercise the same privileges as its EU peers.

EU members could request exemptions from the European Arrest
Warrant before 2002, but the Commission says that only applies to states that were in the bloc at the time. Croatia could have asked for exemptions when it was negotiating its entry to the European Union, but did not do so.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid