Foreign Minister Kovač Discusses Serbia’s EU Accession

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Croatia supports EU enlargement, once candidate countries meet all the conditions.

Croatia and Slovakia are two of few countries in the European Union which currently advocate for further EU enlargement, but the enlargement is important for stabilization of political systems and as motivation for change and reforms, said Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs Miro Kovač and his Slovakian counterpart Miroslav Lajčak during their meeting in Bratislava, reports Večernji List on April 30, 2016.

“We are two of few countries in the European Union which are committed to enlargement. We believe that the enlargement of the European Union to the countries of the Southeast Europe is correlated with the stabilization of political systems. It is therefore important that we work together in this area”, said Kovač. He announced that on that front Croatia would cooperate with Slovakia which will take over the EU presidency on 1 July and had announced that the enlargement will be one of its priorities.

“We have agreed that the enlargement policy was very important because it gives an incentive for change in countries, to implement reforms and meet European standards. It is not very popular now in European capitals, but Croatia and Slovakia support the expansion. This will be one of priorities of the Slovakian EU presidency”, said Lajčak.

Kovač stressed that it was necessary that countries meet the accession criteria in order for “the enlargement process to be credible and to be a powerful instrument for transformation of societies”. “Croatia is confident that neighbouring countries will progress towards membership, and that includes Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia”, said Kovač, while Lajčak added that he believed that Croatia would support Serbia and other countries in the region. “I think this will quickly be demonstrated in practice.”

Croatia has not given the green light for the opening of Chapter 23 Judiciary and Fundamental Rights in EU negotiations with Serbia because it strongly opposes the Serbian law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes committed during the war in the former Yugoslavia, and also demands full cooperation of Serbia with the ICTY and implementation of the law on minority representation in parliament.

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