B92, November 19, 2002
Encourage Serb repatriations, OSCE tells Croatia
ZAGREB - The OSCE, in a report due out tomorrow, will call on Croatia to ensure Serb refugees feel safe to return to their home.
Reuters today quotes an unnamed Western diplomat familiar with the report as saying that the OSCE regards a resolution of the issue of displaced Serbs as a prerequisite for Croatia’s approach to EU membership.
The report will almost certainly serve as the basis for an assessment which the European Union's executive, the European Commission, is due to make early next year on Croatia's progress in meeting commitments made in an EU association accord - a prelude to membership.
"What we ask is whether there is clear determination by the government to tackle those issues; if efforts are aimed at real reforms," the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Croatia has been implementing the EU association accord for a year and aims to be ready for full membership of the bloc in 2007.
The diplomat said the case of the ethnic Serb refugees was an overriding issue and one that the government had "omitted from a list of priorities it adopted in July".
Other issues facing Croatia's coalition are reforms of the judiciary and state television