ZAGREB, April 5, 2018 – Croatians’ sentiment towards the European Union today is significantly different than five years ago, when they voted in a referendum in favour of joining the bloc, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday, announcing additional government efforts to strengthen the pro-EU sentiment.
Plenković’s statement was prompted by the government’s decision to adopt the Action Plan 2018-2021 for the implementation of the Croatian-French strategic partnership which lists among its priorities a stronger European partnership between the two countries, stronger trade relations and a more intensive exchange of people and cultural exchange. The document will be signed on Friday when French Minister for Europe Nathalie Loiseau is scheduled to arrive in Zagreb.
Plenković said that Loiseau’s arrival would be extremely beneficial because, as part of her visit, citizens’ dialogues will be held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
“French President (Emmanuel) Macron wants to additionally encourage this initiative and I am happy that Croatia is the first country to be chosen as part of those efforts. I believe this is very good for Croatia-France cooperation and for returning the European topics to the public sphere in a healthy fashion,” Plenković said. He noted that, since the referendum campaign in 2013, Croatia has developed an unusual sentiment, “almost an anti-European reflex.”
That is why the government, notably the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, needs to make additional efforts when it comes to “the consolidation of European values,” Plenković said.