The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs organized a conference to present the fourth pillar of Croatia’s EU presidency priorities titled “A Europe that’s Influential”. The conference was held at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University.
Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman underscored the importance of Croatia’s EU presidency, adding that Croatia was taking the helm in times of migration challenges, security threats, climate changes, economic inequality and Brexit. “Croatia will work on promoting the fundamental European values of democracy, rule of law, personal freedoms and fight against corruption, with special emphasis on strengthening the EU in its immediate surroundings for peace, security and stability,” he said.
Talking about Croatia’s EU presidency priorities, Grlić Radman underlined that we would encourage enlargement and promote open and free trade. “We will assist our neighbours in their European journey. Europe’s southeast cannot stay a black hole at the heart of the continent,” the minister stressed.
“Chairing the Council of the EU is an opportunity for us to contribute to the development of the EU project and present Croatia to the European public. It is a chance to showcase Croatia’s European identity, as well as Europe’s Croatian identity,” Grlić Radman concluded.
Defence Minister Damir Krstičević presented the priorities and main activities within the domain of the Defence Ministry, adding that Croatia’s EU presidency represented the crown of all our efforts.
“Defence topics we will highlights include the implementation, consolidation and coherency of the existing defence initiatives, with emphasis on capability building, boosting the EU-NATO cooperation, advancing the research and industrial dimension, as well as stepping up efforts in Europe’s southeast aimed at security and defence,” Krstičević said, stressing that chairing the EU was a big responsibility.
In regard to defence initiatives, he underlined PESCO, CARD, EDF and military movability. “Croatia is participating in six PESCO projects, developing capabilities in the areas of military movability, logistics, natural disaster response, cybersecurity, as well as maritime and CBRN defence,” Krstičević added.
Talking about the EU-NATO cooperation, he said that Croatia considered the EU’s defence initiatives as a contribution to the strengthening of both organizations, emphasizing that “as the presiding country, Croatia will stimulate additional strengthening of complementary cooperation between the EU and NATO.”
Rector of the University of Osijek Vlado Guberac welcomed the participants on behalf of the 18,000 students, adding that 28 years ago during the Homeland War even the biggest optimists couldn’t had predicted that Croatia would be heading the EU today.
Deputy Mayor of Osijek Žana Gamoš underscored that there were 22 national minorities living in the city, making Osijek a true example of Europe’s multiculturalism, while Head of the Osijek-Baranja Country Dragan Vulin said it was an honour to host this conference.
The Osijek conference followed conferences in Zagreb, Rijeka and Split, with only one remaining – the presentation of priorities in Varaždin.