ZAGREB, July 27 – New Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said Croatia was a friend to all the countries on their journey to the EU, and that it should encourage solutions for all outstanding issues with its neighbours, both those with a European perspective and with Slovenia concerning the border arbitration.
Speaking of outstanding issues between Croatia and Slovenia, he said on national radio that both countries joined the EU without resolving the border dispute. “I have a feeling we could put it on the agenda again, bilaterally, so that both countries have a win-win situation.”
Asked if Croatia should push for resolving the bilateral issues with its neighbours before they were invited to join the EU, the minister said it was in Croatia’s “interest to close all bilateral issues, notably because of our past.”
He said it was necessary to resolve the issue of the war missing with Serbia. “We can’t expect that to resolve itself, we need dialogue.”
Speaking of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the minister said the “principle under which the Bosnian, Croat and Serb peoples are equal and constituent must be retained and reflected in the election of the Presidency.”
He said that as a member of NATO and the EU and in the context of its chairmanship of the Council of the EU next year, Croatia had a responsible role in encouraging the solving of all outstanding issues.
“Croatia is the biggest supporter of enlargement and a friend to all the countries on the journey to the EU,” he reiterated, adding that it was necessary they meet all the requirements.
The minister went on to say that the recent death of Croatian soldier Josip Briski in Afghanistan would not change Croatia’s NATO policy. “Croatia contributes to peace. Mr. Josip Briski was died, but not in vain.”
He said Croatian interests did not end only at the physical borders, and that “Croatia is not somewhere on the side but is involved in international obligations.”
As for new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Croatia next week, the minister said Croatia “must not be indifferent to that but emphasize it and say that it is among the top three EU countries.”
He said the visit was also a sign of respect for Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who was an EPP negotiator on leading positions in the EU. “Croatia showed credibility and consistency in supporting (Manfred) Weber. Our prime minister strongly pushed for the idea that was also supported by (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel.”