Croatia hoping for EU membership by 2012

Croatian president Ivo Josipovic said Tuesday he still hoped to conclude European Union accession talks soon, despite disagreements among member states over the schedule for membership.

"It's clear that Croatia would like to finish negotiations as soon as possible, which means June or July, and we would like to be members by 2013," he said at a joint press conference with Finnish President Tarja Halonen in Helsinki, where he kicked off a two-day visit to the Nordic country.

A meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels was divided Monday over when to wrap up negotiations to welcome Croatia into the bloc, with some states including France, Britain and the Netherlands saying the schedule depends on when Croatia meets the EU criteria.