After the “Big Bang” enlargement of 2004/2007, when the EU expended into Central and Eastern Europe, the accession process became much tougher and more complex for applicant states. Croatia was the first country to seek EU membership under the new framework, which included provision for existing member states to block both the opening and closing of negotiations on each of the 35 chapters of the Accession Treaty.
Using its network of EU contacts and sources, ID provided independent external analysis and advice and acted as an important source of information to the Croatian negotiators on what EU actors were thinking, both in general and on very specific issues in Croatia’s accession process. This included help in resolving some difficult bilateral issues with Croatia’s neighbours and with others.
Membership in the EU, which was achieved on 1 July 2013, is the culmination of Croatia’s progress towards peace, security and development following the wars of the 1990s. It marks an important point in the transition of South-Eastern Europe from conflict to a sustainable peace for the region.