Plenkovic says EU, UK should show maturity in negotiations

Photo /Vijesti/2020/01 siječanj/12 siječnja/EOFzhAUWoAAH8Xo.jpg

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has said that in the next few months the EU and the UK should show maturity and negotiate by the end of this year the key areas of their future relations.

Brexit is one of the main challenges of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of this year. The UK is expected to leave the EU on January 31, after which there will be 11 months for negotiations on future relations.

British PM Boris Johnson has said he will not seek an extension of the transitional period, which is why Plenkovic believes that in the next few months it is necessary to "show enough maturity and choose the areas in which there is time to negotiate."

"Now we need clarity, predictability and sensible planning for our citizens and our countries. That's our goal in the next few months," Plenkovic says in an interview on France 24's "Talking Europe" TV show which aired on Sunday.

The European budget

After Finland failed to align the positions of the member states on the new European budget, the job is up to Croatia.

Plenkovic says a compromise should be reached between "the more developed countries, countries which have been in the club for over 60 years, (and) those which joined later, those which came from an undemocratic system, entered the EU 15 years ago or as (Croatia) seven years ago."

He says the less developed countries "should gradually come closer to the standard of living that the most developed countries have," and adds that it is also necessary to put emphasis on climate change, security, migration, innovation, education and other concerns for the 2021-27 period.

European enlargement

"The Croatian presidency will give the Western Balkan countries via the Zagreb Summit in May a clear European perspective, a clear time frame, but also a methodology for future negotiations," Plenkovic says in the TV show.

He reiterates that he expects proposals on certain modifications of the negotiating process methodology and an additional progress report for North Macedonia and Albania. He hopes that will result in "a political solution and restore the confidence of those two countries before the Zagreb Summit."

Asked if the defeat of Croatia's incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in the recent presidential election would negatively impact his HDZ party in the next parliamentary election, Plenkovic says "the government deserves credit for economic growth, it has made big progress with regard to greater solidarity in society and higher salaries."

"Presidential elections are personalised elections. We congratulate the President-elect (Zoran Milanovic) and appreciate everything our President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic did on the international front together with the government."

Text: Hina

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