Croatia is expected to learn this month or next if negotiations to join the 27—member EU bloc can be concluded. The long process has soured many on membership but Pope Benedict said Croatia’s entry was "logical, just and necessary."

Pope Benedict XVI has given strong backing to Croatia’s bid to join the European Union but says he understands those who fear the EU’s “overly strong centralized bureaucracy.”

The Pope made the comments while en route to Croatia, the Roman Catholic country visited three times by his predecessor. He arrived on Saturday morning and is spending the weekend in Zagreb to mark the local church’s national family day.

Croatia is expected to learn this month or next if negotiations to join the 27—member EU bloc can be concluded. The long process has soured many on membership but Pope Benedict said Croatia’s entry was “logical, just and necessary.”

More In: International | News