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Croatian Lawmakers Ratify EU Accession Treaty

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
The Croatian parliament has unanimously ratified a treaty on that country's entry to the European Union.

All 136 deputies present in the 151-seat parliament backed the document, which was signed in Brussels in December.

Addressing lawmakers before the vote, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said the EU was "a means to achieve a better and more secure life for our citizens."

Before Croatia formally joins the EU, which is set for July 1, 2013, the accession treaty has to be ratified by all 27 member states.

So far it has been done by five countries -- Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Malta, and Italy.

In a January referendum, some 66 percent of Croatians voted "yes" to joining the EU.

Of the six former Yugoslav republics, only Slovenia is currently an EU member.

With AFP and Reuters reporting