It took six years of negotiations, but Croatia’s entry into the European Union is now officially a formality.
In a mad dash to the finish line, the Hungarian presidency managed to squeeze in one last mini-summit to consecrate the deal before the clock runs out on their six-month stint at the EU Council’s helm Thursday evening.
Now comes the behind-the-scenes work of translating that political agreement into an accession treaty which can be signed and ratified by the existing 27 EU members – and the Croats, of course. The drafting and translating into 23 languages should be done by the end of the year; the actual accession date is set for 1 July 2013.
If the Greek crisis has taught us anything over the past few weeks it’s that going from a bail-out back into the financial markets is hard, and any rescue programme should be very conservative when it comes to estimating how much private-sector borrowing a bailed-out country will be able to do.
The recent scare occurred because a Greek gap opened in March 2012, when the original €110bn bail-out programme envisioned Athens dipping back into the bond market. Everyone now acknowledges this is impossible, particularly with 10-year Greek bonds still over 16 per cent, despite Wednesday’s rally driven by the successful Greek parliamentary vote on austerity measures.
As our friends and rivals at the Wall Street Journal have pointed out, detailed reports on Ireland show its programme has become much more conservative, with only about €3.4bn in private-sector borrowing called for in 2012 (originally it was €12.3bn; Greece was supposed to raise €15.9bn in the first quarter of 2012 alone). Read on for our first look at Portugal’s financing assumptions.