Croatia will support Serbia’s European path, but it will have to fulfil all the conditions.
Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miro Kovač said that Croatia wanted to have good neighbourly relations with Serbia and would support Serbia on its path towards the EU membership, but added that Serbia would have to meet the accession criteria and, among other things, abolish its jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes committed on Croatian territory, reports Index.hr on September 19, 2016.
“That is in the interest of Croatia as well. However, Serbia will have to meet the accession criteria. For example, it will have to abolish its law which gives it jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes committed on Croatian territory. We need to define a solution for Croatian courts to prosecute war crimes committed in Croatia and for Serbian courts to prosecute those committed in Serbia”, said Kovač in an interview with Serbian media. Asked if the new Croatian government would change its policy towards Serbia, he said that “it is in Croatia’s interest to have good relations with Serbia”. Kovač said that Croatia stoically endured incredible irrational accusations from Serbia, but that they did not help Serbia. “We want cooperation, not confrontation. We expect verbal assaults from Serbia to stop.”
He disagreed with the opinion that the current relations between the two countries were “at the lowest level” since 2000. “Relations between Croatia and Serbia are developing well, especially in the economic field. For example, in 2000 our citizens needed visas to travel between the two countries. Visas do not exist anymore”, said Kovač. “Serbia should start working and making progress on the road towards EU membership. Croatia will help along the way, and it will be strict but fair”, he said.
His wish is for relations between Croatia and Serbia to resemble those between France and Germany. “We should have the courage to face the past, to solve the issues left from the war, to talk about the war which Slobodan Milošević waged in Croatia in the 1990s”, he added.
Kovač said that future Prime Minister Andrej Plenković would decide whether he would stay as Foreign Minister in the next government, adding that “there have been no discussions about individual posts”.
He is convinced that “a ministerial visit to Serbia will happen very soon”. “We have a number of open issues which we need to discuss”, said Kovač. “Cooperation between Croatia and Serbia is the key for stability in south-eastern Europe”, concluded Kovač.