Foreign Minister Reveals Croatia’s Conditions for Serbia in EU Accession Negotiations

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Croatian Foreign Minister Kovač explains what Serbia has to do to enter the European Union.

Croatia wants Serbia to abolish its jurisdiction for war crimes in the entire territory of the former Yugoslavia and to protect the rights of the Croatian minority in order to conclude the accession negotiations with the European Union, said Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miro Kovač in an interview published on Sunday, reports Večernji List on April 4, 2016.

Just like Belgrade started to build good-neighbourly relations with Priština under pressure from the EU, it should now change its law on jurisdiction for war crimes in the entire territory of the former Yugoslavia and guarantee the rights of the Croatian minority, said Kovač in an interview with Austrian news agency APA. “We want this point to enter the negotiating benchmarks and to be implemented during the negotiations. Otherwise, the negotiations will not be completed”, said Kovač.

He reminded that Serbia, due to pressure especially from Germany and the United Kingdom to establish a dialogue with Kosovo, had to wait for the start of negotiations with the EU for two full years. No one in Serbia “was complaining then”, said Kovač, referring to the current complaints by Serbia that Croatia is using bilateral issues to stop its accession to the European Union.

“We want to have a partnership with Serbia just like exists between Germany and France. However, the partnership does not include Serbia presenting itself as a judge for the whole of the former Yugoslavia, including Croatia. This is unacceptable. Croatia expects that this law will be changed”, said Kovač.

Regarding the migrant crisis, Kovač said that Croatia would participate in the EU plan for the redistribution of refugees and would receive at most 1,600 refugees. However, he cautioned that the question is whether the migrants will want to stay in Croatia, because they generally want to come to Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria.

Kovač also said that Croatia would not rush with the introduction of the euro. “We need to first strengthen our competitiveness”, he said, referring to the problems of European countries with weak economic structure, such as Greece.


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