On 25 June 1991, Croatia became an independent nation. Serbian and Yugoslav forces soon invaded the country, with the area known as Slavonia being a major battleground changing hands frequently throughout the conflict. The Dayton Peace Accords in November 1995 ended the fighting and Slavonia returned to Croatia on 15 January 1998. In 2003 Croatia applied for European Union membership and in 2004 received official candidate status. Prime Minister Ivo Sanader stated that 2007 is a critical year if Croatia wishes to become an EU member. While not directly included in these discussions, Croatia’s substantial mine-affected areas are seen as a humanitarian concern.



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