Today Croatia officially became the EU’s 28th Member State. We would like to take this occasion to welcome our new fellow EU citizens, as well as give you a short update of the implications of the accession to the EU legal system.
Basically, there will be some transitional provisions and there will be some institutional modifications. As regards the transitional arrangements the Commission has made a useful guide which you can find here.
Institutionally speaking, Croatia will be given an EU Commissioner, a place within the Council and European Council, a number of seats in the European Parliament, and last but not least two judges at the CJEU. Other institutional changes (for example in relation to the ECB) can be found in the Act of Accession which simultaneously amends the EU Treaties as well.
The new EU Commissioner from Croatia will be Mr Neven Mimica. His portfolio will be consumer protection.
Croatia will get 7 votes according to the Nice system in the Council and now 260 votes in favour necessary for a decision to be adopted under QMV (used to be 255).
The European Parliament
Article 19 of the Act of Accession provides that 12 Members of Parliament from Croatia will be added to the European Parliament (elected this April). Here they are. So now we have 766 MEP’s. That will be reduced to 751 again coming next elections in 2014.
The Act of Accession modifies the Protocol (no 3) on the Statute of the CJEU so as to accommodate the inclusion of two new judges within the CJEU (amendments of articles 9 and 48 Statute). The General Court shall now consist out of 28 judges (the CJEU itself already specified to have one judge per Member State) and the rotation of judges within the CJEU shall be the replacement of 14 judges every three years. Their terms will expire on 6 October 2015 (CJEU) and 31 August 2013 (GC).
So far no decision by the governments of all the Member States has been made concerning the appointment of the new judges. Articles 19 TEU, 253 and 254 TFEU require such a decision after the consultation of a Panel of legal experts. The candidates proposed by Croatia are Siniša Rodin for the CJEU and Vesna Tomljenović at the General Court. We wish them good luck with their new jobs!