“So far we have been in favor of a situation where every state and every public health system is able to make decisions based on its own assessments. We have been functioning that way all this time,” Plenković said.
One of the topics of the summit is a debate on a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, there will be a discussion on economic recovery, migration and external relations, including those with Turkey and Russia.
Some member states, including Germany, are pushing for the EU to agree on stricter and more consistent restrictions on travel from areas affected by new strains of coronavirus. German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Portugal for its decision to allow British tourists to enter the country despite the fact that the Indian/Delta variant of coronavirus is prevalent there.
On the other hand, member states more dependent on tourism are advocating a more liberal approach.
“At the moment, Croatia has a fairly good epidemiological situation, a low number of new infections, fewer patients in hospitals, fewer deaths. The number of persons vaccinated with either the first dose or with both doses is gradually rising,” Plenković said.
He added that freedom of movement was a fundamental value of the EU and that it had to be re-established.
“Freedom of movement enables a normal life, normal circulation of people, capital, trade, and ultimately tourism. Tourism is very important to us, we expect this tourist season under the slogan ‘Safe Stay in Croatia’ to be more successful and better,” Plenković said.
EU’s twin-track approach to relations with Russia
Relations with Russia will also be discussed at the summit. Ahead of the summit, Germany and France proposed that Europe adopt an approach to Russia where it would on the one hand threaten it with the possibility of new economic sanctions and on the other hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The EU is already following a twin-track approach. Last week EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell issued a report warning that the EU should prepare for a further downturn in its relations with Russia and proposed that the Union simultaneously reject Russia’s behavior, exert pressure and engage in dialogue with Russia.
Croatia against discrimination against any minority
One of the topics not on the agenda but which cannot be avoided is the issue of Hungarian law which has been condemned by most leaders due to discrimination against the LGBTIQ community.
Prime Minister Plenković said that Croatia’s position was clear against discrimination.
“We are against any kind of discrimination, against any minority, anyone’s human rights, and we are very clear about that,” Plenković said, adding that the European Commission, as the guardian of the EU treaties, has the task of checking whether certain national laws are in line with EU values and the acquis. “We are against any form of discrimination and see no need to additionally join some positions or declarations.”
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