Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman 7 October 2019 received ambassadors of the EU member states, European Economic Area and the head of European Commission Representation in Zagreb. The minister and his associates informed the ambassadors about the priorities and the progress of preparations for Croatia’s Council of the EU chairmanship in the first half of 2020.
Croatia will push for an EU that is growing economically stronger and more developed; that facilitates additional connectedness among its member states as well as with the rest of the world; that protects its citizens (greater internal and external security); that has a bigger role in the neighbourhood and beyond.
Grlić Radman recalled that the topic of demography had been included into the EU 2019-2024 strategy on the Croatian prime minister’s request, as that is an issue affecting not only Croatia but more than half of the member states. Although the subject falls within the competence of national policies, it has become a great challenge for the EU as a whole. The activities of the newly-elected EC Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica will therefore be aimed at prompting discussions on this important matter, which will help in proposing solutions.
The highlights of Croatia’s chairmanship programme will be the EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb (May 2020) and the EU-Eastern Partnership summit (June 2020). “We are determined that Southeast European countries get a European perspective, based on the meeting of criteria. It is important to show support to North Macedonia and Albania for the progress they’ve made in opening the accession talks. Similarly, we want to pay attention to the Eastern Partnership countries as well and support their pro-European goals,” Grlić Radman underscored.
The minister and his associates answered the ambassadors’ questions about the concept and implementation of the chairmanship. He thanked them for their cooperation and engagement, adding that the Ministry expected a lot from them as they are our partners in the preparations and any constructive advice will be more than welcome.
Grlić Radman said that Croatia would keep close contact with the ambassadors so as to keep them up to speed about the progress of preparations, and to exchange information and maintain dialogue.