FM: Stable and functioning neighbourhood is in Croatia’s interest

NEWS 24.11.202121:29
Gordan Grlić Radman
Miroslav Lelas/PIXSELL

A stable, functioning and prosperous neighbourhood is in Croatia's interest, so as an EU and NATO member state it will continue to support the countries in the region in their Euro-Atlantic integration, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the press at a meeting of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter (A5) which he hosted, Grlic-Radman said this initiative enabled the sharing of common democratic values, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

The meeting brought together the foreign ministers of the A5 member and observer states.

Grlic-Radman said the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia as soon as possible was especially important to Croatia.

He said the Zagreb Declaration, adopted after a Western Balkans summit held in Croatia in the first half of 2020, when it presided over the Council of the EU, supported the acceleration of the Euro-Atlantic journey of those two countries as well as of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo.

Speaking of today’s meeting, he said, “We reflected on the current security challenges with which these states are faced,” adding that the A5 initiative represented good added value to the existing efforts of the EU and NATO on that front.

The defence and security aspect of the A5 member states is a key concrete activity A5 is implementing, he said.

“The meeting is taking place in light of a dynamic development of various processes and third-country influence. Cooperation is important so that we can create resilience to third-country influence, as is support for all these countries’ aspirations for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, given that some are already NATO member states and some strive to become members.”

Two panels were held, on security challenges in Southeast Europe, with special emphasis on Euro-Atlantic processes in the region, and on current and future prospects of cooperation within A5.

A5 comprises Croatia, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and the United States. The initiative’s aim is to strengthen and develop Euro-Atlantic cooperation in Southeast Europe.

The meeting was also attended, as observers, by representatives of Serbia, Kosovo, and Slovenia, which Grlic-Radman said was a sign of A5’s vitality and inclusiveness.

Next year A5 will be chaired by Montenegro and Grlic-Radman wished it success, saying Croatia would support it in that work.