Germany Pressures Croatia to Stop Blocking Serbia

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Croatia’s decision to block Serbia’s EU accession negotiations does not have the support of other member states.

EU member states should act in a European spirit and seek solutions through dialogue and not through blockades, said Gunther Krichbaum, the Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Bundestag, reports on April 16, 2016.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle titled “We Have No Understanding for the Croatian Blockade”, Krichbaum said that blocking the opening of negotiating chapters in the process of Serbia’s European integration was not a good decision. “I have no understanding for Croatian demands because these are bilateral issues that we expect to be addressed in other ways – including through international courts. I have no understanding for blocking Chapters 23 and 24”, said Krichbaum.

“In cases like these, it is normal to expect that the countries in question would solve problems between themselves and would not misuse the European Union for this purpose. I recall that Croatia was in a similar situation with regards to Slovenia about the issue of the border line in the Bay of Piran. Then we pressured Slovenia to drop the blockade”, said Krichbaum.

Asked whether there was already pressure being put on Zagreb, he said: “There is an appropriate format of the European Council in which this issue will certainly be covered. I hope that Croatia will give in. They should remember how we helped them when they were in a similar situation and that Croatia has promised to European partners it would not create such blockades. And now we see that it did it anyway”, said Krichbaum. He added that the Croatian demands “have nothing to do with the European Union, or rather they have only to the extent that the EU cares about protecting the rights of minorities”.

“Croatia also needs the EU and it needs partners from the EU, and Croatia will have its goals that it will want to be accomplished. However, Croatia could soon realize that its ideas and projects will not be welcomed. Because, in the European Union, the rule is that you have to both give and take. Nothing is set in stone. We are committed to seeking solutions through discussions and negotiations because that is what makes the European spirit and we want the EU members states to act in this spirit”, concluded Krichbaum.


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