Unhappy Hungarians: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović Looks for Answers in Budapest

Lauren Simmonds

Can the President get some clarity following the Hungarian block on Croatia’s OECD membership request?

As Jutarnji List reports on the 12th of September, 2017, Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović arrived in Hungary today, Tuesday the 12th of September, a visit by which she intends to attempt to gain clarification on the rather uncomfortable situation after Budapest denied Zagreb support for membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last week.

The work visit to Budapest started with a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Hungarian Parliament, and will continue on with that theme with a meeting with Hungarian President Janos Ader. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will try to find some sort of explanation for the Hungarian blockade, after Slovenia had previously stated that it would not back the Croatian request for membership because Zagreb does not want to implement a compromised arbitration decision on the Croatian-Slovenian border issue.

“I will talk to Prime Minister Viktor Orban and President Janos Ader. I hope I’ll get some sort of further explanation and we can start talking about how to unblock [the Hungarian block on Croatia’s OECD membership request],” said the President, noting that she was unpleasantly surprised by Hungary’s actions regarding the matter.

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that Budapest will not support the Croatian request for membership in the OECD because of the strained relationship between Zagreb and MOL, as well as with the President of the company.

The dispute between the Republic of Croatia, which holds 44% of INA’s shares, and its strategic partner MOL, which holds 49%, has been the core of rather sore relations between Zagreb and Budapest for quite some time now, despite statements from both sides that the ongoing issue should be tackled in a good, neighbourly manner and that it should be resolved through dialogue. Both sides have stated that the entire issue is too politicised and that such an approach is not good for solving the overall problem.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has stressed that membership of the OECD is important for Croatia. This international organisation, which is made up of 35 developed countries, would, among many other things, be particularly useful in attracting foreign investors.

The new Hungarian diplomatic offensive has not only been launched against Croatia, but also against Romania, a country which Hungary also denied support to last week at the OECD Council session in Paris, due to the closure of a Catholic secondary school in Targu Mures, which is attended mainly by Hungarian children.

Apart from the Slovene side, with which problems have existed for a long period of time now, it is becoming more and more obvious that the Hungarians are also ”thinking of pressing bilateral issues, or possibly scandals,” Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Monday.

In addition to talks with Adar and Orban, the Croatian President will visit the Danube Commission, which is considered one of the oldest intergovernmental international organisations in the world. At the head of the Danube Commission as its President is currently Ambassador Gordan Grlic-Radman, and the chief of its Secretariat is Petar Margić.


Translated from Jutarnji.hr


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