That is being prolonged yet Croatia is expected to act as if it is playing in the first four Series A or premiership league teams, Milanović said after meeting with his Maltese counterpart George Vella.
Apart from strengthening cooperation, the presidents discussed foreign policy topics including migration which has once again come to the fore with the Afghanistan crisis.
Milanović believes that Croatia is in an unfavorable situation due to its position.
“This puts us and our reputation in a bad situation because if the Croatian police don’t control the border then Croatia is unreliable and isn’t doing its job. If the Croatian police do their job and make mistakes at times, exceeding their authority, then it is something that Europe points its finger at Croatia. That’s not fair,” said Milanović.
Milanović asked Malta to support Croatia, as the youngest EU member state, and its accession to the Schengen Area and criticized the Union for “procrastination and delay.”
Romania and Bulgaria have been members of the EU since 2007 and are still waiting for a green light to access that European area without border controls.
Vella said that the migration issue is a huge challenge for the EU, however, he expects a consensus from all 27 members of the bloc.
Saying that his small country is full of migrants, the only solution is to proportionally distribute migrants and refugees among member states prepared to take them.
We are trying to find countries – 20, 22- as many as possible willing to work together and try and implement a system of distribution (of migrants), said Vella.
Milanović praised Malta for its treatment of the migration issue.
“A small nation such as Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean – with a special culture, language and identity, is different from others yet open in every aspect the whole time – it is able to deliberate the difficult topic of migration maturely, soberly and humanely, while some Central European states are just about to arm their population. Incredible difference! This just says how openness, especially for small economies, is important. Well done, Malta!”
This is the second meeting between the presidents in a few weeks and Vella said that it confirms “the splendid relations between the two countries and the friendship that has been developing between our nations.”
EU enlargement: The bloc “is buying time and the years are passing”
The two presidents talked about the countries in Southeast Europe and their journey towards the Union.
Vella said that Malta has “always advocated for the Western Balkans to become part of the EU.”
“Countries such as Croatia and Slovenia have become members and can definitely help, they can show the way. The process of EU accession is lengthy, certain sacrifices are necessary, but I am sure that there is a strong will both in the EU and in the Western Balkans for them to join the EU,” said Vella.
During the recent EU-Western Balkans Summit organized by Slovenia as the incumbent chair of the Council of the EU, membership prospects for those countries were once again confirmed however they were not given any time frame for that.
I wouldn’t want this to be transformed into some kind of procrastination, delay. “A lot indicates that the EU has such a policy because, in fact, it hasn’t got one, it’s buying time and the years are passing,” said Milanović.
There is an election here or there, hence the fear of leading mainstream politicians of right voters and rivals on the right (…) and then countries with an Islamic population which is one of the prejudices we have to talk about, are some of the reasons why the EU is not clearly stating what it wants, believes Milanović.
Croatia’s President said he wants a more stable neighbor and that in the context of the Western Balkans it is necessary to talk about stability, predictability, security, and money.
“When we talk about the Western Balkans, we must talk about stability, predictability, and security, and ultimately we talk about money too because those are fundamentally impoverished states,” he said.
Malta’s President Vella and his wife are on a state visit to Croatia at the invitation of President Milanović.
Vella is expected to meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković. He will also visit Varaždin.
For more, check out our politics section.