“There are no obstacles to Croatia's accession to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) because these are all the criteria we negotiated during EU accession, from fighting corruption to fiscal stability,” said Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman in Paris on Tuesday.
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman is taking part in the OECD Forum in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday, marking the organization's 60th anniversary.
“I would not say that there are obstacles, here are the most important conditions - are you a stable state that successfully fights corruption, which guarantees legal security of investments, warms the investment climate and has consolidated fiscal stability of the state,” said Grlić Radman responding to a question on possible obstacles to Croatia’s membership in the OECD.
He explained that these are all criteria that Croatia negotiated during its accession to the EU and that it now approaching the committees and legal instruments that are a condition for membership.
He also recalled that Croatia had simultaneously adopted a National Development Strategy until 2030 and a National Recovery and Resilience Plan as proof that it wants to be a member of this important organization.
“We have recently joined the OECD guidelines, and we are also a member of the working group for responsible business conduct,” said the Minister and pointed out that Croatia is doing everything to successfully achieve its goal.
He pointed out that this globalized world, which is integrating economically, "requires ever stronger cooperation with international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), all UN agencies and the OECD itself."
He announced that he would speak at his panel on respect for labor law, concluding and implementing trade agreements, which, as he said, "is the backbone of the EU's trade policy towards challenging partners, primarily China and Vietnam, in order to adopt those rights and be in line with ILO conventions".
In June, the OECD elected Australian Mathias Cormann as its sixth secretary general, and Grlić Radman does not expect this to affect Croatia's ambitions in any other way, but only positively.
“As for Mathias Cormann as the new Secretary General of the OECD, we absolutely have his strong support,” said the Minister.
Serbia's behavior is shameful
On the news that Serbia denies the very existence of the Croatian language in its textbooks, Grlić Radman said that it was "really shameful behavior of the Serbian authorities".
The grammar textbook by a group of authors titled "From words to deeds" for eighth grade students, states that Serbian, Slavic, Macedonian and Bulgarian languages belong to the group of South Slavic languages, and that "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak and Montenegrin.
“I must tell you that this is really shameful behavior by the Serbian authorities,” said the Croatian head of diplomacy.
He considers it incomprehensible behavior for a country that is a candidate for EU membership and which, after all, violates the international agreement on the rights and protection of national minorities from 2004, the provisions of which Croatia has fully complied with.
“It is a lack of respect for the Croatian community which is strong and rich in Vojvodina and which, if we look at history, is autochthonous in Vojvodina (...) It is not only non-recognition of the Croatian language but also falsification of history,” said Grlić Radman, noting that "Serbian Dubrovnik and Serbian Dalmatia" are mentioned.
"It's unheard of and we just can't understand it," said the minister.
He reiterated that it was "a chronic lack of respect and esteem, respect for fact, according to international facts of Croatia as a member of the European Union, a country that truly supports the stability of its neighbors and wants a European perspective for all Western Balkan countries."
“The fact that fragmentation into the Croatian and Bunjevac languages took place is proof that Serbian politics interfered in the issue of the identity of Croats in Vojvodina,” pointed out Grlić Radman.
According to him, this has been going on for a long time, and Croatia has acted through the Ministry of Science and Education and through its diplomatic mission, and has also sent a protest note.
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