17:01 / 11.06.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Weber congratulated Croatia on its imminent entry into the Eurozone and Schengen

Manfred Weber

Manfred Weber

Foto: Josip Regovic / PIXSELL

In his speech at the Croatian Democratic Union General Assembly in Zagreb on Saturday, the new president of the European People's Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, congratulated Croatia on its imminent entry into the Eurozone and Schengen, and said the Western Balkans needed a clear European perspective.

“This is my first trip abroad as the President of the EPP and I pay tribute to Croatia and personally to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković who did a great job. Croatia will soon join the Eurozone and the Schengen area, and this is clear proof that Prime Minister Plenković has achieved a successful European story for Croatia,” said Manfred Weber at the 19th Croatian Democratic Union General Assembly. Weber replaced Donald Tusk as EPP president on June 1st in Rotterdam.

Speaking about the European path of the Western Balkans and especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, Weber stressed the need to provide the region with a clear European perspective.

“As for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the entire Western Balkans, a clear timetable is needed ... we need concrete steps to make them feel welcome in the European Union,” he said.

He stressed, however, that reforms are needed in the EU so that Europe is ready to respond to the "challenges of our time".

“It must not happen that one man, for example Viktor Orban, blocks the entire European Union when we want to impose sanctions. A Europe that cannot decide on a common foreign policy will be weak. Europe must speak with one strong voice,” said Weber.

He also condemned the "brutal, illegal and unjustified" Russian invasion of Ukraine and stressed that it was an attack on freedom and democracy.

“There is war in Europe again. You Croats know very well what it is like to be attacked and what it means to fight for freedom and democracy. When Russian tanks crossed the border on February 24th, not only Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence were attacked. The principles on which the European Union is founded and the values that Europeans value so much have been attacked. Freedom, democracy and the rule of law have been attacked. (Vladimir) Putin wants to rewrite history in which there are spheres of influence and where the Iron Curtain is being raised again,” he said.

He added that Europeans should work together on defense and security, and in that context welcomed the announcement of Sweden's and Finland's accession to NATO.

“We in the EPP fully support NATO, which is the backbone of our defense and our security. But Europe must be stronger within NATO. We must work to strengthen the European pillar of defense and we must be able to protect Europeans,” said Weber.

“Europe is under attack. The European way of life is at stake. These are serious times, and now is the time to fight for our values. The true center-right is what we need. Experience, values, responsibility, vision for the future, it is in our DNA. We need a strong Europe, Europe needs a strong Croatia, and Europe needs a strong Croatian Democratic Union. Good luck, we will do it together,” concluded Weber.

Source: HRT

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