Last updated at 14:54 BST, Monday, 01 July 2013

Croatia enters the European Union

Summary

1 July 2013

The European Union now has 28 member states. Croatia officially joined on Monday after a process that lasted almost a decade. Thousands of people attended a special event in the capital Zagreb to mark the occasion. But the new era has been greeted cautiously by both locals and foreign officials.

Reporter:

Guy De Launey

Fireworks over the Croatian border

Fireworks light up the Croatian sky

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Report

As the clock struck midnight, the anthem of the European Union rang out across Zagreb's main square and at last Croatia completed its journey from combat zone of the former Yugoslavia to member of Europe's biggest club.

But this was not entirely an ode to joy. Zagreb's main square was hardly packed for most of the coming-out party. And that reflects the ambivalence many people here now feel about membership. After the prolonged economic crisis, the EU no longer looks like the promised land Croatia applied to join a decade ago.

Likewise, the new member's own economic troubles have caused concern among the other 27 states. Visiting foreign ministers stressed the EU's role as a builder of peace rather than prosperity. A good point, bearing in mind Croatia's recent past. But also, perhaps, a diplomatic fig-leaf.

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Vocabulary

anthem

official song of a particular country or organisation

combat zone

battleground during war

an ode to joy

a song about happiness (also, the title of the European Union anthem)

ambivalence

having positive and negative feelings at the same time

prolonged

continuing for a long time

the promised land

a place where people expect to find complete happiness

prosperity

financial success / having lots of money

a diplomatic fig-leaf

a political idea or action that covers up an embarrassing issue

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