Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - February 12, 2010

DE RUEHVB #0098 0431353
P 121353Z FEB 10



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SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - February 12, 2010

1. (U) Slovenia to Unblock 2 Chapters in Croatia's EU Entry Talks
Next Week: Local media are reporting that Slovenian Prime Minister
Borut Pahor confirmed on Thursday that his government would lift its
reserve on at least two policy chapters in Croatia's EU membership
negotiations, which means they could be opened at an
Intergovernmental Conference scheduled for February 19. "Slovenia
has removed its objections because we have all the necessary
guarantees from Croatia, so at least two chapters will be opened on
February 19," Pahor said at a press conference after an informal
summit of EU leaders in Brussels. While Pahor would not specify
what chapters would be unblocked, local media report that the
"Environment" and "Fisheries" chapters will be opened at the

2.(U) Kosor Says Dutch Ready to Start Chapter 23
Negotiations:Croatian media report that Dutch Foreign Minister
Maxime Verhagen told the Dutch parliament on February 11 that the
Netherlands would allow Croatia to submit its negotiating position
on Chapter 23 -- Judiciary and Fundamental Rights -- in Croatia's
accession talks with the European Union. Prime Minister Kosor
welcomed the news, saying, "...this shows that diligence and hard
work pay off." The Netherlands, Britain, Denmark, Belgium and
Finland had until recently prevented Croatia from opening
negotiations on Chapter 23 over objections raised by the ICTY chief
prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, that Zagreb was not fully cooperating
in delivering military documents sought by prosecutors in the trial
of three Croatian generals. All those countries, except for the
Netherlands, confirmed over the past two weeks that they were
prepared to lift their holds and allow preparations to open the
chapter to begin. If these preparations go smoothly, and the EU can
agree on what closing benchmarks should be, then the chapter would
be formally opened in April. A spokesman for the Dutch foreign
ministry told Croatian press in Brussels that the Dutch expect clear
references in the closing benchmarks that Croatia must deliver the
requested documents and ensure full cooperation with the Hague

3. (U) Parliament Reappoints Bajic as Chief State Prosecutor: On
February 12, Parliament reappointed Chief State Prosecutor Mladen
Bajic to a third four-year term. The lopsided vote of 84 to 34
followed Prime Minister Kosor's appearance before parliament
yesterday to push for Bajic's reappointment. She said Bajic shares
a great deal of the credit for Croatia's advances on dealing with
corruption and war crimes. Although the opposing Social Democrats
were vocal in their stance, other opposition parties said that with
major ongoing corruption cases and EU accession, this was not the
time to change leadership at the prosecutor's office.

4. (U) Croatian Archbishop Cardinal to Visit US:Zagreb Archbishop
Cardinal Josip Bozanic will visit Croatian Catholic communities in
the US and Canada between February 12 and March 3. Bozanic is
scheduled to travel to Missouri, New York, New Jersey and Cleveland,
Ohio. According to the press, he will also visit priests and nuns in
Croatian catholic communities in Canada.


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