ZAGREB, March 29, 2019 – Europe will be stronger after Brexit, and Great Britain’s departure from the EU will not have a strong impact on Croatia, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said at a press conference on Friday dedicated to her foreign policy activity over the past three weeks.
“My conviction is that it will come out stronger,” she said when asked if Europe would come out of Brexit stronger or experience substantial disruptions.
The president said every member state had the right to leave the EU if it wanted to. “Great Britain exercised that sovereign right, although we are all sorry the United Kingdom is leaving the EU. However, that’s their decision and it should be honoured.”
The president believes Brexit will not have a major impact on Croatia and that the uncertainty over it will be resolved in the coming days. “We believe the cooperation with Great Britain may even become stronger after their departure.”
She also commented on the distrust in the EU institutions among member states’ citizens. “Brussels’ policy must come closer to the people. The rise of populism is one of the results of political elites moving away from the people, running away from the people, from real problems. It seems to me that politicians are often afraid to come into such situations. The EU must definitely think about how to come closer to the people.”
All ideas about strengthening the European project are welcome, the most well-known being the one by French President Emmanuel Macron, Grabar-Kitarović said. “I and Croatia firmly believe that Croatia wants to be part of Europe’s core. Actually, all of the EU should be the core, a union of equal members with equal obligations as well as equal development possibilities.”
As for the possibility of Macron visiting Croatia, the president said they met a number of times on the fringes of various events but that, due to the situation in France, she did not talk dates. “The invitation stands. The visit will take place and I wish it to occur at a time when we can really concentrate on Croatia-France relations and on how we can advance bilateral relations and the European project.”
Also today, European Council President Donald Tusk scheduled a summit of member states’ leaders for April 10 after the British Parliament rejected a withdrawal deal for the third time.
Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić believes that Great Britain’s exit from the European Union and the consequent reduction of the EU budget will not affect subsidies for Croatian farmers from EU funds in the new financial perspective.
“Support for our farmers will be at the same or higher level than now,” he told reporters after opening the Gudovec Spring Fair in the town of Bjelovar.
“Our farmers can expect a lot more money for primary production, for boosting competitiveness and further development and I expect that in the next few years we will have continuous positive results. There are some sectors in which we need to invest more efforts, such as the dairy sector where we are trying hard but recovery can’t occur overnight,” Tolušić said.
More news about Croatia and Brexit can be found in the Politics section.