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EU commissioner positive on accession prospects for Turkey and Croatia

The European Union's enlargement commissioner has described the accession attempts of Turkey and Croatia in a positive light, portraying the latter as an example to other countries in the western Balkans.

Commissioner Rehn told the MEPs at a European parliament foreign committee that European states should show patience towards Turkey's attempts to join the EU, as the country is undergoing a "difficult but historic process of transformation". He added that the election of a new government, president and parliament in the country could add momentum to the reform process following a debate about secularism.

Rehn also noted that Croatia is well on track to become a full member by 2010, provided its current good progress continues. „Croatia is a sound benchmark for the other countries of the western Balkans,” he remarked, adding that other countries in the region would do well to follow its example. Last month, the European parliament congratulated Croatia on its success so far in preparing for EU membership. MEPs said, however, that more could be done to create a truly open and competitive market economy. (ready2invest.co.uk)