Speaking for Croatian Radio this morning Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, said that the Zagreb Summit would be held, although not in the desired circumstances, but basic messages would be sent. The Zagreb Summit – an EU and Western Balkans summit - is being held today via video conference.
“The meeting will be held although not in the desired circumstances, but basic messages will be sent. The most important thing is that we will have a meeting with the Heads of Government of the European Union and the leaders of the Western Balkans, and the most important representatives of economic institutions will be present,” said Gordan Grlić Radman.
Gordan Grlic Radman points out that this is a central event for Croatia during its presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“The meeting will be held but by videoconference. After we were able to negotiate a decision to open accession with Northern Macedonia and Albania in March, today’s day speaks precisely about perspectives of Western Balkan countries. It is a meeting that will be remembered for generations”, said Grlić Radman.
The Foreign and European Affairs Minister pointed out that, in order of importance, a meeting this important has not been held for twenty years.
“Meetings should be held more frequently to make the European Union more aware. This declaration is the result of all these efforts, 20 points that reflect everything that is being asked, because for the first time in history, such a summit is being held by videoconference, but it still has a legal basis that Croatia has succeeded in changing the Council's rules of procedure,” said the minister.
“There are three important points in the meeting,” pointed out Gordan Grlić Radman.
“One of the items of the meeting is the coronavirus that we did not count on, but Croatia proved to have a good reflex in dealing with the pandemic. Another key reason is endorsement of EU Member States, the European perspective. And the third item - the commitment of Western Balkan countries to reforms and the European perspective, which means meeting all the criteria and the required reform processes”, said Grlić Radman.
Grlić Radman pointed out that not all countries approach the European Union with equal fervor when it comes to enlargement, nor do they approach the coronavirus in the same manner.
“Not all countries are equally organized when it comes to fighting the coronavirus. Croatia is the most organized country in the European Union in terms of the coronavirus, which surprised many. There were different views on the EU budget, but also on all three of these issues. It's not all that simple. Croatia has managed to impose itself and show political visibility,” said Minister Grlić Radman.
“Andrej Plenković has imposed the Zagreb summit as a recurrent theme because the meeting was a little forgotten due to the focus on all other issues,” said Gordan Grlić Radman.
Minister Grlić Radman noted that it is extremely important for Croatia to have stability, but based on solidarity, cohesion and convergence, this space will also need a European perspective at some point.
“The stability in the region is important to us. That is why this declaration is a reflection of our efforts. The date is not important. The European Commission needs to give a framework, then intergovernmental conferences are held and then a date is defined,” said Grlić Radman.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs says that the European Union will come up with a recovery plan that will also be aligned with a multiannual financial framework, which should be balanced and rational and should be equal for all EU member states.
“To get out of the crisis equally and have an equal perspective for the future and that this economic recovery covers every member state,” concluded Minister Gordan Grlić Radman.
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