Grlić Radman: NATO Countries Think Croatia Has Changed Policy Because of Milanović

Total Croatia News

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Image: Gordan Grlić Radman/Facebook screenshot
Image: Gordan Grlić Radman/Facebook screenshot

Milanović said on Tuesday that the Croatian Parliament “must not ratify any country’s accession to NATO” until neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina changed its electoral law, adding that he considered Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join the alliance “a very dangerous adventure”.

Grlić Radman said the president’s statement had prompted a number of calls, and that he had discussed the matter with his Finnish counterpart on Tuesday and with his Swedish counterpart on Wednesday.

“With these calls we tried to contain the damage done to Croatia’s international political image,” the foreign minister said, noting that Milanović’s statement has been quoted by all leading foreign media and “all NATO countries have expressed great concern.”

“They always think that Croatia has changed its foreign policy if its president said that,” he added.

Unlike Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who said on Tuesday that Milanović should block the two countries’ accession at the forthcoming NATO meeting if he thought he was “a tough guy”, Grlić Radman said no such veto was provided for and “even if it were, it would be political embarrassment.” 

After a country applies for NATO membership, the national parliaments of the member states must adopt an act of ratification proposed by the government, the foreign minister noted.

Grlić Radman said that the membership of Sweden and Finland, which are already compatible with alliance standards, should be separated from the electoral reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina which the Croatian government “strongly supports.”.

Finland and Sweden have Croatia’s “undoubted and unreserved” support, and their accession to NATO is a major challenge to them, given their tradition of political neutrality for centuries and the Russian military invasion of Ukraine which has nearly changed the world order, Grlić Radman said.

In his telephone calls with the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland, Grlić Radman also touched on the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying that Croatia has their support and understanding. 

He told Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, who recently visited Sarajevo, that Bosnia and Herzegovina was “a security, political and emotional” issue to Croatia because the ethnic Croats there were “squeezed between Serb separatism and Bosniak unitarism.”

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.


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