Eurozone, Schengen and OECD – Croatia’s Foreign Policy Priorities in 2018

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The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister meet with the diplomatic corps.

Getting closer to entering the eurozone, the Schengen Area and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are Croatia’s three major foreign policy points for the coming year, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Wednesday while attending a reception for the representatives of the diplomatic corps in Zagreb, reports Večernji List on December 12, 2017

“Three points of our ambitions in the years ahead are acheiving the criteria which is needed to adopt the euro as our currency, to become part of the Schengen Area and to achieve membership in the OECD, as the final organisation which Croatia may realistically belong to at this time,” said Prime Minister Plenković at the reception which was also attended by President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, ministers and representatives of religious communities, business sector and unions.

“I’m sure that, in close cooperation between the President, Parliament, diplomats and other stakeholders in the society, we’ll fulfil these goals and that they will bring us what’s most important us, which is a higher quality of life for our citizens,” said the Prime Minister at the State Residency in Visoka Street.

Plenković said that the current year was “more challenging than anyone had planned,” not only because of the attempt to implement a series of measures planned in our political programme, but also due to having to deal with “inherited issues and even crisis management.”

“I am particularly pleased that, through our engagement and the Law on Extraordinary Administration in Companies of Systemic Importance, we’ve prevented a serious economic crisis in the country, a domino effect for our business entities and the financial system,” the prime minister said, emphasising that the government’s efforts enabled the realisation of Croatia’s best tourist season, as well as the continuation of favourable macroeconomic trends.

Plenković stressed the government’s desire to “build a tolerant, inclusive society in which human rights, media freedom, the right to [free] speech and criticism are respected, and where minorities are firmly protected and integrated into society.”

The Foreign Minister said that Croatia’s priorities in the next year remained the same – the further strengthening and development of the European Union, its expansion into South Eastern Europe, active participation in international institutions, and stronger cooperation with the Euro-Asian area, Africa, Latin America and Australia.

In 2017, Croatia began its membership with the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will last until 2019. Croatia will chair the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe from May to November next year, Pejčinović-Burić said. Croatia also headed the South East European Cooperation Process this year, and in 2018, the country will hold the rotating presidency of the Central European Initiative, with which it will “try to revive and give it better content,” the Minister said.

In 2017, Croatia started to prepare intensively for the presidency of the EU Council, which is expected in 2020 and which will be “an important test for our diplomacy and public administration,” said the Minister, adding that work on preparing for membership in the OECD had also started.

Among other priorities, the Minister mentioned the “China+16” initiative, involving the countries of central and eastern Europe and China, and voiced her hope that Croatia would soon take over the chairmanship of the initiative.

Translated from Večernji List.


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