29th September 2011: A Preparatory Meeting* of the EU-Croatia Delegation was held yesterday evening at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
At the meeting Andrew Brons asked the Croatian Ambassador to the European Union, Mr. Branko Baricevic, about the planned referendum on accession to the EU.
Mr. Baricevic said that he expected the referendum to be held either at the end of January or the beginning of February, although he could not be certain about the date.
Andrew asked what guarantees there were to ensure that the referendum was conducted freely and fairly. Would there be umbrella bodies on either side with limits on expenditure?
Mr. Baricevic said that there would be neither.
Andrew then asked him if it would be fair to describe the referendum as 'unconstrained'.
Mr. Baricevic said that the referendum would be conducted according to ordinary Croatian law on referendums and that there would not be any special legislation.
Andrew was asked by a Croatian lady MP if he would withdraw his intention to go to Croatia during the referendum campaign.
Andrew replied that he would go to Croatia if he were to be invited.
* Preparation meeting for the 14th EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting in Brussels in October