Croatia could wrap up entry talks with the European Union next year, the bloc's executive arm said on Wednesday.
An annual progress report by the European Commission criticised would-be members over corruption, weak courts and other shortcomings, making it clear it will take many years before the bulk of them can join the now 27-country EU.
"If Croatia meets all outstanding benchmarks in time, the accession negotiations could be concluded next year," the Commission said in a statement.
The Commission said other EU hopefuls -- Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo -- were making uneven progress towards membership.
Last Mod: 14 Ekim 2009, 15:06