Merkel: EU leaders agree on Croatian membership

By the Associated Press | June 24, 2011 | 7:29 AM EDT

BRUSSELS (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says European leaders have agreed they want Croatia to become a member of the EU.

Merkel made the announcement Friday at the conclusion of a two-day EU summit in Brussels.

A draft summit conclusion had said talks on Croatia's membership should be concluded this month and an accession treaty signed by December. The parliaments of all 27 members will then have to ratify the document, a process expected to last until June 2013, when Croatia will formally be inducted into membership.

The leaders also welcomed the arrest in Serbia of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, saying it showed that Serbia had taken a new step toward EU membership.