Deputy prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Integration Marija Pejčinović Burić 4 October 2018 attended as guest a meeting of the Southeast Europe’s ministers of European integration.
As a speaker in the panel on “Best Practices and Mutual Support in the EU Integration Process”, Pejčinović Burić conveyed Croatia’s support for the enlargement policy based on strict adherence to the membership criteria. She underlined the importance of including all Southeast European countries in the integration process, expressing support to opening the entry talks with Macedonia and Albania, granting candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, negotiations between Serbia and Montenegro, as well as the European prospect of Kosovo.
Pejčinović Burić highlighted enlargement as one of the priorities of Croatia’s Council of the EU 2020 chairmanship, during which a summit on the topic is planned, marking the 20th anniversary of Zagreb Summit, which for the first time gathered the EU heads of state and government outside its then-borders and opened up the membership prospect for countries of Southeast Europe.
Talking about Croatia’s experience, Pejčinović Burić stressed the importance and complexity of meeting all of the acquis criteria. She pointed out the significance of reaching and maintaining a consensus among Croatia’s parliamentary parties during the accession negotiations as well as the inclusion of a wider range of actors in the accession process. Conclusively, Pejčinović Burić said that communicating with the citizens was extremely important, during both the accession process and the membership itself.
The meeting was hosted by Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, with the organizational support by Germany’s GIZ.