Croatia Adapting to New Global Circumstances

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Prime Minister Plenković spoke in Parliament about Croatia’s foreign policy.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković briefed on Wednesday members of Parliament about meetings of the European Council held in 2016, emphasizing that it was very important for Croatia to position itself regarding changed global circumstances, reports Jutarnji List on January 18, 2017.

Speaking about 2016, Plenković said that prime ministers of two EU member states, Great Britain and Italy, resigned after suffering defeats at referendums and added that this had not ever happened before in Europe. In this context, it is extremely important for Croatia to position itself, especially after Donald Trump’s victory in the United States and the new global circumstances, such as a more assertive role of Russia, he said.

“When it comes to migrations, Croatia believes that it would be best for EU member states to have a joint response to migration pressures”, said Plenković. He recalled that Croatia has committed to accommodate 1,600 people, and that so far only 19 people have relocated to Croatia from Italy. Croatia also supports the reform of the European asylum system and promotes efficient management of the external borders of the EU, and is pleased with the rapid establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard, which is a good example of the European response to the crisis. “Our priority is for the so-called Eastern Mediterranean or Balkan route to remain closed”, he said.

“This is extremely important for Croatia in security and political terms, and we need to persevere in dialogue with the countries of Southeast Europe and all EU member states”, said Plenković, pointing out that borders should be protected with technology and people, and not by physical barriers.

An important part of the speech was dedicated to relations between the European Union and Russia, which need to be redefined due to numerous changes in the balance of power. In this context, Plenković said that a new kind of dialogue with Russia would be a key topic for 2017.

After Great Britain leaves the EU, the Union will never be the same, said Plenković. “I think that it was a big, unforgivable political mistake by former British Prime Minister David Cameron, who called a referendum which was not necessary, and it says a lot about referendums as such, because it had become a losing situation for him personally, and quite certainly for the United Kingdom as well. The repercussions for the European project remain to be seen, as well as for the global financial markets”, said Plenković.

More frequent reporting to Parliament about European activities it one of new practices introduced by Plenković’s government in order to better inform MPs and Croatian citizens about European issues. Earlier, prime ministers used to report once a year about meetings of the European Council.


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