BRUSSELS -- The EU Commission has given the green light on Friday for Croatia to join the union, with membership likely to start in 2013, the European Union justice chief said.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he would recommend that EU nations to wrap up talks and prepare to welcome Croatia as the 28th member state.

The Commission said the negotiations with the Balkan nation could be wrapped because talks on reforming the Croatian judiciary have been successful. The EU leaders now have to officially approve Croatia's membership.