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CROATIA IS SET to become the 28th member state of the European Union after a significant majority of voters yesterday voted in favour of joining in a referendum.Just over two-thirds of the electorate voted yes to joining the EU. However turnout was lower than expected.
The referendum ratified the formal assession treaty Croatia signed in December which signalled its intent to join the EU.
66.2 per cent voted in favour of the referendum while 33 per cent voted against. Invalid votes accounted for 0.60 per cent of the total vote.
The result was a slight increase on opinion polls before the vote, which had suggested that it would pass with around 56 to 60 per cent in favour. The referendum needed at least half plus one of the valid votes to pass.
Opponents had said that joining the EU would lead to a loss of sovereignty for the country. Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic, became an independent country less than two decades ago following a gruelling war.
The vote is a culmination of a decade of plans to join the EU; Croatia applied for EU membership on 21 February 2003.