Croatia’s basic foreign policy aims are the preservation and strengthening of peace and understanding between countries and nations, strengthening of Croatia’s international position, creation of conditions for the realisation of basic strategic priorities by joining the European and transatlantic political, security and economic integrations, fulfilment of the assumed international obligations, solving of all open issues remaining after the break of ex-Yugoslavia, establishing good neighbourly relations and co-operation with neighbour countries based on the principles of equality and reciprocity, establishing friendly relations with the most important factors and countries in the world, strengthening Croatia’s economic position, and promoting Croatia’s general image.
Republic of Croatia, as a democratic and stable modern European country, proportionally to its size, plays an important role in a world that keeps changing - a world of globalisation, regional, political and economic integrations, democratisation of international relations, but also a world of international terrorism and violence. Croatia is located at the heart of Europe as a Mediterranean, Central European and Danube region country, and its geographical location is one of its key strategic advantages. The current European integration processes add a special value to its location, turning it into a potentially key impetus for the country’s overall economic development.
Croatia’s role in establishing permanent peace, stability and development in South East Europe is irreplaceable, but the establishing of a permanent security and stability system in this part of Europe is possible only on the principles of justice, equality and law, with the respect for the interests of all nations and countries in the region, and the agreement of the international community. In conducting its foreign policy, Croatia will adhere to these principles, thus giving its contribution to turning what once was a region of fierce and direct confrontation into a place of renewed co-operation and partnership.
Croatia’s foreign policy goals are essentially connected to the complex program of internal reforms, that is supposed to facilitate economic development, reorganisation of state administration and full implementation of all European democratic standards, that is to say, ensure the rule of law, firm guarantee of civil and religious freedoms, complete equality of all our citizens and the right of each individual to equal life opportunities.
The Republic of Croatia condemns all war crimes and is dedicated to bringing the war criminals to justice, and will fulfil all of the assumed international obligations, as well as support the co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Basic Foreign Policy Aims
1. Full EU membership
Full membership in the European Union as a core of stable peace, democratic freedoms and economic development, is one of Croatia’s basic foreign policy goals. Croatia sees the idea of a European government as an opportunity for all European nations and countries to unite in building a future based on common values and principles, with the preservation of state, national, political, cultural and economic identity, and their equal co-operation and interfusion.
There is a general agreement among the political parties and Croatian citizens about this foreign policy goal. This was confirmed in 2002 by the Croatian Parliament’s declaration, when all of the parliamentary parties voted in support of Croatia joining the EU.
In the context of globalisation, Croatia as a small country, similar to other European transition countries, estimates that the best way to develop and ensure prosperity, that is, to realise its national interests, is to join the European Union. The value system of the EU best reflects the interests of building the Croatian society, and by joining the Union, these values will be best protected. The analysis of costs and benefits of entering the EU has shown that Croatia will profit by it in the long term, in other words, it is estimated that the possibilities of Croatia’s economic, political, scientific and cultural development are greater within the EU, than outside it.
Cherishing the friendly relations with the present, as well as with the future members of the EU, is an integral part of Croatia’s policy towards the EU and its members.
2. NATO membership
In modern international relations, the issues of security become the issues of reciprocity. Today, security is a multilateral issue, and so are the challenges it poses. In such circumstances, it is an absolute priority of the Republic of Croatia to build its international and security position based on NATO membership.
By joining NATO, Croatia has assumed and fulfilled the obligations stemming from the support for and membership in this integration.
Also, joining NATO was the best way for Croatia to protect its national security on a level ensuring the optimal conditions its overall development.
Today's security threats require intensive international co-operation, and NATO, according to the opinion of a majority of Croatian citizens and nearly all Croatian parties, is the best way to respond to these threats and maintain the national sovereignty and security of the Republic of Croatia.
3. Enhancing relations with neighbour countries
Croatia has a special interest in a permanent stabilisation and democratisation of South East Europe, in ensuring a permanent peace and development of this part of Europe, establishing good neighbourly relations based on equality and reciprocity, and in finding a political way based on the international law to solve all open issues remaining after the breakup of Former Yugoslavia.
The Croatian government will develop its relations with neighbour countries based on the principles of good-neighbourliness, mutual respect of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, equality and solving of open issues through political dialogue, based on the principles of international law, or with international legal help.
4. Developing bilateral and multilateral international co-operation
Croatia, as a democratic and open-minded country, wants to develop political and economic relations with all democratic countries in the world based on the principles of sovereignty and equality, whereby the intensity and significance of these relations should correlate with Croatia’s national interests.
Within the context of bilateral relations development, relations with the US have a special significance for Croatia. Strengthening partnership relations with the US can have a positive effect on Croatia’s overall international position and the realisation of its concrete foreign policy goals. Croatia wants to develop economic and political relations with the rest of the big countries, namely Russia and China, which Croatia traditionally has friendly relations with.
Taking part in the activities of international organisations is one of Croatia’s most important foreign policy aims and the Croatian government will work hard to strengthen Croatia’s role in those organisation that are of interest to Croatia, namely EU, NATO, UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, and other international institutions. The government will work on a firmer positioning of Croatia within the UN system, whereby special importance is placed on Croatia’s membership in the Security Council as a non-permament member for the period 2008-2009. Croatia will actively support and participate in the activities of OSCE, Council of Europe and other international organisations that promote the development of democracy, rule of law, and protection of human and minority rights.
Within the framework of co-operation with international organisations, and bearing in mind the multilateral character of security, the Croatian government is ready to take on the responsibilities stemming from the membership in EU, NATO and UN, in particular as regards the participation in peacekeeping missions that are a part of the global war on terrorism.
Regional co-operation, as an integral part of good-neighbourly relations, stability and prosperity in the region, will still have an important place in Croatia’s foreign policy activities, and Croatia will actively take part and contribute to the activities of regional organisations, forums and initiatives.
5. Promotion of Croatia’s economy
As a part of its economic development strategy, the Croatian government plans to increase the export of Croatian products and attract foreign investments, whereby special attention will be given to stimulating Croatian emigrants to invest in the development of new industries.
In modern-day international relations, economic interests are becoming more and more dominant, and that is why Croatia is paying special attention to enhancing the economic co-operation with other countries. In achieving these objectives, co-ordinated activities of the economic diplomacy and the Agency for the Promotion of Investments will play a key role.
6. Overall promotion of Croatia
Country’s image is an important factor in international relations, and can contribute a great deal to the realisation of certain foreign policy goals. That is why the Croatian government will work on presenting Croatia to the world, strengthening its national identity and creating an image of Croatia as a modern, dynamic, democratic and tolerant Mediterranean and Central European country, whereby one of the key activities will be the cultural promotion of Croatia.