EU warns Croatia in arrest warrant row

17th September 2013, Comments 0 comments

The European Union warned Tuesday that it will crack down on newest member Croatia for dragging its feet to comply with the bloc's arrest and extradition regime.

"A sanction will be imposed, that is it clear," EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said.

"The Commission has the right to impose sanctions ... We will consult with member states, then apply them," Reding said.

Reding said Croatia's adherence to the Schengen visa-free agreement could be under threat if Zagreb failed to reverse controversial changes to its extradition laws made just days before joining the bloc on July 1.

The changes prevented the extradition of suspects of crimes committed before 2002, which would cover war crimes committed during the country's 1991-1995 independence war.

Croatia was initially defiant when a Brussels deadline on conforming with the EU's laws passed and the bloc threatened sanctions.

In late August, Zagreb appeared to give ground when it promised swift legislative action to remedy the problem but Reding said the pledge had yet to be fulfilled.

The row has especially soured Croatia's relations with Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel was a no-show at ceremonies marking Zagreb's entry to the EU.

After hastily amending its extradition laws, Zagreb declined a German request to extradite a former spy, Josip Perkovic, sought in connection with a Communist-era murder.

He is wanted for involvement in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Djurekovic in Germany in 1983.

Perkovic headed Croatia's military intelligence services after the country proclaimed independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

© 2013 AFP

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