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Croatian support for EU membership steady at 60%: poll

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(ZAGREB) - A majority of Croatians plan to vote in favour of EU membership, according to a survey published three days before a nationwide referendum.

Support for EU membership remained steady at 60 percent, in line with another survey published in December, while the proportion of those opposed to it fell to 31 percent from 33 percent.

Nine percent were still undecided, said the poll of 1,000 people carried out by Ipsos Puls agency over the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Croatian parliament adopted a declaration saying that it was in the Balkan state's "strategic national interest" to join the European Union.

The declaration endorsed by all parliamentary parties, called on citizens to participate in Sunday's referendum and to "express their democratic will."

The vote is valid regardless of the turnout and a majority of over 50 percent is required.

The former Yugoslav republic, which gained independence in 1991, signed an EU accession treaty in December that paved the way for its accession to the bloc on July 1, 2013.

Apart from clearing the referendum in Croatia, the treaty would have to be ratified by all 27 member states of the EU.

Croatian leaders have repeatedly warned that rejecting EU membership would be irresponsible and could lead to a credit ratings downgrade of the Balkan state.

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