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Friday, 27 April 2012

Czech's Approve Croatian EU Accesion, US To Build Bridge In Vukovar











Czech Senate unanimously nods to Croatia's EU accession

Prague, April 25 (CTK) - The Czech Senate smoothly approved Croatia's EU accession treaty, as expected, Wednesday when all 59 senators present voted in favour of it.

The Czech ratification process will be complete after the treaty is approved by the Chamber of Deputies, which nodded to it in first reading in mid-March.

To be ratified, the treaty needs support from three-fifths of senators (i.e. 49 at least) and three-fifths of deputies (120 at least).

If Croatia's accession is ratified by all EU members, Croatia will become the EU's 28th member as from July 1, 2013, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg recalled in the Senate discussion Wednesday.

The Czech government originally wanted to link the parliament's vote on Croatia's accession with the vote on the Czech opt-out from the EU Lisbon Treaty's Charter of Fundamental Rights. In late 2009, the opt-out was Czech President Vaclav Klaus's condition for adding his signature to the Lisbon Treaty and enabling its coming into force.

However, if Czech parliament had voted on the two issues jointly, the Croatian accession treaty would probably have failed because the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), who dominate the Senate, are against the opt-out.

Croatia applied for EU entry in 2003. Its accession talks started two years later and were closed last June.
Copyright 2011 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.

Announcement of Construction of a New Pedestrian Bridge Spanning the Vuka River - Statement by Ambassador Foley in Vukovar


Mayor Sabo, dear friends, it is my honor to join the City of Vukovar on a project that, we hope, will make a significant contribution toward this city's continued recovery from the terrible aggression which nearly annihilated it 20 years ago. The war destroyed lives, it destroyed buildings, but it did not destroy the will of the people of Vukovar to build their city anew and to rebuild the human ties that make this and any city an embodiment of civilization. Our project aims, in a modest way, to help restore Vukovar's vitality as well as its infrastructure; to build an enduring bridge between its citizens as well as one between our two countries.

I am therefore very proud to announce the construction of a new pedestrian bridge spanning the Vuka River in the western area of Vukovar. The choice of this humanitarian project was the result of careful consideration and consultations with Mayor Sabo and city authorities and it is intended to meet a particular need of this community. The bridge will connect the isolated areas of Olajnica and Sajmiste with the rest of Vukovar, directly benefiting approximately 11,000 people in these neighborhoods. Olajnica is a new and developing area that currently has neither a kindergarten nor a school, and the children unfortunately have to cross a vehicular bridge on their way to school. We hope that the new pedestrian bridge will contribute to the safety both of these children and of elderly citizens, and indeed serve to better connect these communities with the city center.

Finally, I want to mention that this project, which is valued at $525,000, is financed by the United States Military's European Command (EUCOM). The main contractor for the project is the United States Army Corps of Engineers, but the actual construction will be done on the basis of a competition among local firms. The project is implemented through the U.S. Embassy's Office of Defense Cooperation, which has delivered $5.7 million of humanitarian assistance to similar projects all across Croatia since 2008.

I am very pleased to be joined by Colonel Ken Dobbertin, who is in charge of the Office of Defense Cooperation. I think it is important to mention that all such projects demonstrate our pride in our Security partnership with Croatia as fellow allies within NATO.

As Croatia prepares to enter the European Union, we look forward to the full rebirth and recovery of this uniquely European city. And we hope that this bridge will serve as a monument to the friendship between the United States and Croatia and to our profound respect for the people of Vukovar.

For additional information, please contact Ms. Anja Picelj-Kosak at the U.S. Embassy's Public Affairs Office, phone (01) 661-2284, cell 091-661-2284, or e-mail:


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