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Croatia marks its first year as a Member State

A full year ago Croatia entered the European Union as its 28th Member State, a big and historic step for this small country facing many challenges in the post-communist and post-war transition period. Although the year seems to have flown by, each of its 365 days have been spent working hard and in co-operation with the other Members States to help face the shared problems and overcome the common obstacles making a brighter future for all the EU citizens. 

The Hungary-Croatia Cross-border Co-operation Programme celebrated the Accession by issuing a commemorative Programme Booklet, presented publicly at the celebratory reception held by the Croatian Ambassador  in Budapest; and by organising the Programme’s Accession Conference in Vukovar, where the achievements of the Programme and its contribution to Croatia’s road to EU membership have been presented.
 
The Programme has not stopped there, but has continued the work under changed circumstances with keeping the same enthusiasm, now as a co-operation of two full-fledged Member States. The efforts made by the Programme in its last, phasing-out period  will serve as the best introduction for the time ahead of us, where the experience gathered in the first seven years of bilateral cross-border co-operation between the neighbouring countries will serve as the stepping stone for the new and improved joint efforts in the development of the cross-border region.
 
The visible change that the first year of Croatian membership in the European Union brought to the Programme was reflected in the slight modification  of its name, with ‘IPA’ being  erased; while the most significant impact has been the additional funding that Croatian membership brought with it, now with Croatia’s full access to the ERDF fund. This resulted in 23 additional projects being funded from the Third Call Reserve List, many of which have started with implementation during the same year.
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