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Joint Declaration of the Foreign Ministers of the Visegrad Countries and Croatia on the Occasion of the Croatian Accession to the EU

The Foreign Ministers of the V4 countries and Croatia acknowledging that

Since their accession to the European Union, the V4 countries have been providing strong political support to the EU enlargement process by keeping this issue high on the EU's agenda and by transferring their unique experience in the field of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Hungarian and then the Polish Presidencies of the Council of the European Union succeeded in giving new impetus to the accession negotiations.

The term of the outgoing Polish V4 Presidency has overlapped with the final phase of Croatia's EU accession, meanwhile Hungary will take over the rotating V4 Presidency on July 1, 2013—the day Croatia becomes the 28th Member State of the EU. The accession will open a new window of opportunity for Croatia who will become one of the creators of common EU policy thus sharing the responsibility for Europe's future.

Regional cooperation is the cornerstone of the European integration. Following the country's accession to the EU, the V4 countries express their readiness to share their experience relating to the initial stages of EU membership with Croatia. Similarly, Croatia's experience with accession will be extremely valuable for other applicant countries and can contribute substantially to the improvement of regional cooperation.

Underlying the need for closer cooperation contributing to reach stronger positions of the region and towards a strong, stable and democratic Europe, the V4 countries and Croatia, as a new EU Member State intend

  • to further develop and strengthen the European integration process;
  • to support EU's further enlargement policy, especially regarding the Western Balkans;
  • to actively support the European Neighbourhood Policy, with special emphasis on the Eastern Partnership;
  • to pursue joint political and project-oriented activities;
  • to step up jointly in tackling regional challenges of mutual concern in the first phase of the cooperation outlined by the Program of the upcoming Hungarian V4 Presidency, particularly to clear the infrastructural bottlenecks in the region and to develop the North-South axis of the region's road and rail transport network and to enhance energy security;
  • to encourage the cultural exchange of the V4 countries and Croatia to stimulate people-to-people contacts and intensify the civil society ties;
  • to deepen the sectoral cooperation among them.

On July 1st 2013 Croatia will become the 28th member of the European Union. The V4 has been and will continue to be a strong supporter and promoter of the very successful EU enlargement policy that will continue to offer new opportunities for all the concerned. We are looking forward to Croatia joining us in this endeavour.

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