Croatia Supports EU Enlargement to Western Balkans

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 17, 2018 – The European Union member states neighbouring the Western Balkans must set the tone with a view to stepping up enlargement to those countries, in which the individual achievements of those wishing to join the EU are of key importance, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday.

“We are first and foremost for meeting the requirements, for individual achievements, but also for a more open approach, as we believe that too much hesitation isn’t good,” he said in Sofia, where he was attending an EU-Western Balkans summit.

The migration and financial crises and other problems in the EU have pushed enlargement back, but “the neighbouring EU member states, including Croatia, must set the tone so that the process is faster and so that the candidate states are better prepared,” Plenković said.

The very fact that all 28 EU leaders came to the summit is a big success, given that five of them do not recognise Kosovo’s independence, he said, adding that there had not been such a summit since the one in Thessaloniki in 2003. “That’s a bigger message than the nuance from the final statement.”

He underlined the importance of better connections, saying the capitals in the region did not have the best air, rail and motorway connections. “For Croatia, as one of the countries which considerably supports the process of further enlargement and which is helping its neighbours, this represents focusing on the region which has been sidelined for many years.”

He said that in 2020, during its presidency of the EU, Croatia would organise another EU-Western Balkans summit, 20 years after the Zagreb Summit.


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