“EU and NATO Have Lost Focus on Southeast Europe”

Total Croatia News

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Source: Office of the President

Croatian President comments on situation in Southeast Europe.

In the past decade, the European Union and NATO have lost their focus on Southeast Europe because it seemed that great conflicts in this part of Europe have been resolved and that there is less cause for concern, said Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović at the University of Lund in Sweden, stressing that the region should have greater commitment from the international community, reports Index.hr on March 25, 2017.

Southeast Europe is experiencing the full impact of all major security concerns faced by the European Union and NATO, said the President in a lecture to professors and students of the University of Lund on the topic “Southeast Europe – Proving Ground for European and Euro-Atlantic Determination and Solidarity”. “If this is combined with the inherent political instability of the region, partly weak institutions and economies, it becomes very obvious that these young democracies need a stronger commitment of the EU and NATO”, she said.

President reiterated that Croatia strongly advocates the idea of ​​enlargement of the European Union and NATO in Southeast Europe. She said that Croatia offers help to everyone and respects sovereign decisions of each state which wants to seek alliances and partnerships somewhere else, but does not support and cannot tolerate hidden involvement of third parties in the decision-making processes.

She said that she preferred to use the political term “consolidation of Europe” when thinking about the European Union and the wider Euro-Atlantic integration processes. “I believe that this is a broader concept than ‘EU enlargement’, which is often regarded as a technical process. In order to fully consolidate Europe and achieve stability, security and development, it must include Southeast Europe. The European Union can increase the number of member states with the inclusion of Southeast Europe, but it would not be just enlarged. Instead, it would be complete and consolidated”, said Grabar-Kitarović.

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After a tour of the University, the President said that science, research and innovation were the backbone of development, especially the development of the economy. “When you look at a world map and see where scientific laboratories are located, then you can see that it coincides not only with the developed world, but also with very advanced economies”, she said. “Although we in Croatia will not be able to develop the most advance scientific laboratories in the near future, we should establish scientific cooperation and certainly begin to invest more money in research and development”, said Grabar-Kitarović.

With the visit to Lund, the President completed her five-day state visit to Sweden.


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