- Published: 04.11.2019.
FM: Support to neighbouring countries' European future guarantee of Croatia's security
Southeast Europe is one of the priorities of Croatia's presidency of the EU in the first half of 2020 because Southeast European countries deserve a European future and Croatia must lend a hand, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Monday, noting that support to Southeast Europe also guaranteed Croatia's security.
"As of January 1, Croatia is neutral in terms of the presidency itself, meaning that it is responsible for all member countries and must listen to what they say and pursue a policy of consensus. And Southeast Europe indeed is one of the priorities," said Grlic Radman.
Grlic Radman and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Monday held a working meeting in Zagreb with ambassadors and permanent representatives of Croatia as part of activities in EU member countries during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU.
"That is our immediate neighbourhood. All those countries deserve a European future and we must help our neighbours. Support to that part of Europe also guarantees our own security," the minister said in a comment on presidential candidate Miroslav Skoro's statement that it was not good to put emphasis on the Western Balkans during Croatia's EU presidency.
Skoro said that the EU presidency should be used to derive benefit for Croatia rather than to focus on the Western Balkans.
PM Plenkovic recalled that the coming Zagreb summit meeting of EU member states and Southeast European countries, or technically speaking Western Balkan countries, had been planned carefully and for a long time but that that could not be easily recognised by someone who had served as a diplomat only in Pecs (a reference to Skoro's serving as Croatia's consul-general in Pecs in the 1990s).
"We also view the summit in the context of what Croatia can do for Croats as an equal and constituent ethnic group in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for Croats in Serbia. One should first expand one's horizons and then make statements, but there will be time for that," Plenkovic said.
Among Croatia's priorities is a Europe that connects - in terms of transport, infrastructure and digitally, keeping pace with the fourth industrial revolution, said the PM.
Grlic Radman explained that those dealing with the EU and processes in it should know that when a member country was taking over EU presidency, it could not focus on its own interests but was responsible for all member-countries.