BELGRADE, Serbia – Croatia joined the European Union at midnight Sunday as the bloc’s 28th member and the second from the former Yugoslavia.
“We are here on this historic night. It was your desire to join EU, and your hard work has made this possible,” the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told thousands of revelers in central Zagreb, congratulating them in English and Croatian.
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic focused on Croatia’s “new role” in the region and toward countries with which it has been in conflict – Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia.
“It is up to us to extend a hand to these countries (and help them) in their adoption of European criteria,” Milanovic said.
Croatia negotiated with the EU for more than six years after the bloc agreed to take it in.