Parl't decides that EU referendum will be held on 22 January
Croatia's Parliament on Friday adopted a decision to hold a referendum on Croatia's European Union membership on 22 January 2012, with 129 deputies voting in favour of this decision and the six MPs of Croatian Democratic Party of Slavonia and Baranja (HDSSB) abstaining from the vote.
In this way, the parliament amended its declaration on basic principles of negotiations for Croatia's full membership in the EU, which previously regulated that the referendum to this effect should be held within 30 days upon the signing of the Croatia-EU Accession Treaty. The document was signed on 9 December which meant that the referendum should have been held by 9 January.
During a parliamentary discussion on the matter, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic thanked everybody engaged in Croatia's EU membership talks, and said that the date of the referendum should be shifted for three weeks so that during that time the government could explain to citizens "all what is important".
Jadranka Kosor of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that she supported the initiative for the country's admission to the EU as her cabinet had been committed to completing Croatia's accession negotiations.
"If we don't start now, we will not do all job on time," she said.
Although during today's debate, the Labour Party's representatives had proposed a three-month postponement of the referendum in order to hold broad discussions on the matter, they voted for 22 January as the referendum date.
The HDSSB club insisted on a six-month postponement, asking the authorities to answer questions whether by its admission to the EU, Croatia would lose elements of its sovereignty.
At the end of today's meeting, Sabor Speaker Boris Sprem extended seasonal greetings and adjourned the parliament until mid-January 2012.