Accession Partnership with Croatia

Accession Partnership with Croatia

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession Partnership with Croatia


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement > Croatia

Accession Partnership with Croatia

The purpose of the Accession Partnership is to assist the Croatian authorities in their efforts to meet the accession criteria, especially the political criteria (or Copenhagen criteria). It covers in detail the principles and priorities for the country’s accession preparations, with particular reference to implementation of the acquis, and forms the reference framework for programming pre-accession assistance from Community funds.

Council Decision 2008/119/EC of 12 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Croatia and repealing Decision 2006/145/EC.


The Accession Partnership is the main instrument intended to provide the Croatian authorities with guidance in their preparations for accession to the European Union (EU) since accession negotiations were started on 3 October 2005. This Accession Partnership is an instrument in the pre-accession strategy.

The legal basis of the Accession Partnership with Croatia is Regulation (EC) No 533/2004 establishing partnerships with countries of the western Balkans. The partnerships are flexible instruments modified according to progress achieved and tasks remaining. The priorities identified are thus defined by the Commission’s opinion on the accession request. They are modified, if necessary, on the basis of reports.

The Council of the EU adopts the Accession Partnership, and any subsequent amendments, by a qualified majority on the basis of a proposal from the Commission.


The objective of the partnership for accession is to register in a single legal framework:

  • the priorities for reform;
  • guidelines for financial assistance with a view to implementing these priority areas;
  • the principles and conditions for implementing the Partnership.

In order to achieve the priorities identified in the Accession Partnership, Croatia is adopting a national programme for transposing the Community acquis (NPAA). This includes the procedures and programme for implementing the Partnership.

The follow-up to the Partnership implementation is ensured within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), notably the Commission’s annual follow-up reports.


The priorities are both realistic and attainable goals relating to legislation and its implementation. They are based principally on Croatia’s ability to comply with:

  • the Copenhagen criteria laid down in 1993;
  • the conditions set for the stabilisation and association process (Council conclusions of 27 April 1997 and 21 and 22 June 1999);
  • the Zagreb declaration of 2000;
  • the 2003 Thessaloniki agenda;
  • the negotiation framework adopted on 3 October 2005.

The Accession Partnership with Croatia includes:

  • key priorities, which are short-term priorities. They relate to: commitments made under the SAA; reform of public administration and the judicial system; the fight against corruption; application of the Constitutional Law on National Minorities; completion of the refugee return and integration process; reconciliation among citizens in the region; cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); resolution of outstanding bilateral issues, particularly in fields relating to borders and fishing; and improvement in business and economic growth potential;
  • political criteria, most importantly democracy and the rule of law (public administration, judicial system, fight against corruption), human rights and the protection of minorities, regional issues and international obligations (protecting the environment and fishing, refugee return, reintegrating returnees, criminal proceedings as regards war crimes, judicial, police and regional cooperation, and border and bilateral issues);
  • economic criteria aiming to guarantee macroeconomic stability, budgetary transparency and management of public debt, to improve management of the health sector, the social welfare system and pensions, to facilitate business entry, to improve the institutional framework for privatisation and restructuring of public enterprises, and to strengthen the labour market;
  • the ability to assume the obligations of membership, namely adoption and implementation of the acquis for 33 of the 35 chapters (thematically arranged by EU legislation policy) to which the accession negotiations apply.

The priorities identified in this Partnership will constitute the basis for future evaluations by the Commission, which regularly evaluates the progress made by Croatia on compliance with the accession criteria, including on the adoption and effective implementation of the acquis.


Croatia has benefited from financial assistance intended to support it in preparing for accession with the pre-accession financial instrument (IPA) for the period 2007-2013. The IPA replaces the instruments Phare, ISPA and SAPARD and CARDS, from which Croatia benefited in the period 2000–2006.

The assistance planned for Croatia under the IPA includes the multiannual indicative financial framework (MIFF link to related MIFF acts) for the period 2009–2011 and the aid planned for Croatia, namely around EUR 749.8 million (including 2007 and 2008). The country is also eligible for funding (including loans and grants) from the European Investment Bank (EIB) under its external lending mandate for the EU’s south-eastern neighbours.

In this context, the accession partnership for Croatia serves as a reference framework for determining the different areas to which funds will be allocated. However, the decisions instituting the financial instruments and the programming documents form the legal framework for financial assistance. Failure to comply with the SAA, the Copenhagen criteria and the priorities defined by the Partnership may result in financial assistance being suspended.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2008/119/EC 19.2.2008 OJ L 42 of 16.2.2008

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 20 April 2004: Opinion on Croatia’s Application for Membership of the European Union [COM(2004) 257 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004 (FR ) (pdf).
The European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Turkey.


Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one part, and the Republic of Croatia, on the other: [Official Journal L 26 of 28.1.2005].


Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) [Official Journal L 210 of 31.7.2006].

Multi-annual indicative financial framework (MIFF) for:

  • 2008–2010 [COM(2006) 672 final – Not published in the Official Journal];
  • 2009–2011 [COM(2007) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Multiannual indicative planning document 2007–2009 for Croatia [EN ] [PDF].


The Reports (EN) are available on the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enlargement.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

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