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EU Justice Summit: A Path to Expansion and Reform

Zagreb hosted a pivotal EU justice summit, uniting ministers and officials from candidate countries to forge paths toward accession, focusing on the crucial reforms in justice and fundamental rights

In a significant move towards European Union expansion, the Croatian Ministry of Justice and the European Commission Representation in Croatia convened a two-day ministerial conference in Zagreb. The event, focusing on Chapter 23 of the accession negotiations—Justice and Fundamental Rights—drew justice ministers and representatives from EU candidate countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Albania, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Turkey.

Oliver Várhelyi, the European Commissioner, highlighted the geostrategic importance of EU enlargement for peace and stability across the continent. He cited Croatia’s accession experience, particularly in Chapters 23 and 24, as an inspirational model for aspiring members, underscoring the pivotal role of judicial independence and fundamental rights in democratic and economic development.

Olivér Várhelyi

Croatian Justice Minister Ivan Malenica shared insights from Croatia’s technically demanding negotiation process, which involved aligning hundreds of laws and regulations with EU standards, significantly enhancing judicial efficiency and independence within the country.

The conference, set to feature discussions on achieving EU standards in justice and fundamental rights, combating corruption, and strengthening the judiciary, underscores the EU’s commitment to enlargement based on individual achievements, promising comprehensive transformations for candidate countries.

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