Low turnout but Croatia votes in favour of EU

A MAJORITY of Croatia’s population have voted in favour of joining the European Union, the country’s state referendum commission said last night.

Officials said that with about 30 per cent of the ballot calculated, around 67 per cent of those who took part in the referendum today supported joining the EU, with around 32 per cent voting against.

However, turnout was around just 42 per cent, illustrating voters’ apathy toward the 27-nation EU.

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Croatia signed an EU accession treaty last year and will become its 28th member in July 2013 after all the EU states ratify the deal.

The government says joining the EU offers the former Yugoslav republic its only chance of economic recovery despite the turmoil in the 27-state bloc.

“This is a big day for Croatia and 2013 will be a turning point in our history. I look forward to the whole of Europe becoming my home,” president Ivo Josipovic said after voting.

The EU has said Croatia can become its 28th member on 1 July 2013, after completing seven years of tough entry talks in June last year.

It would become the second former Yugoslav republic to join, following Slovenia in 2004.

The “No” camp says the timing is all wrong because the EU is not what it once was, given the debt crisis threatening the single currency. Others complain they are unsure what membership will mean for the country of 4.3 million people.

“The EU is politically and economically unstable. We should vote against and then have a public debate about the pros and cons and inform the citizens properly before holding another referendum,” the right-wing Party of Rights said in a statement on the eve of the vote.

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