Lajcak: Kovac Assured Me that Croatia Supports EU Enlargement

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Slovak and Croatian Foreign Affairs Ministers, Miroslav Lajcak (right) and Miro Kovac, respectively. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 29 (TASR) – Slovakia and Croatia support the EU’s enlargement to include the Western Balkan countries, Slovak and Croatian foreign affairs ministers Miroslav Lajcak and Miro Kovac, respectively, concurred in Bratislava on Friday.

The Croatian minister, who came to Bratislava for a one-day working visit, debated with his Slovak counterpart several issues, including Serbia’s interest in joining the Union. Croatia – which became the EU’s 28th member on July 1, 2013 – earlier this month blocked the opening of a negotiations chapter for Serbia over Serbian legislation concerning the prosecution of war criminals.

“It’s important that I’ve been assured that Croatia really supports enlargement and also supports the adopting of European standards by individual countries in the region. I believe that this will soon to be seen in practical life as well,” said Lajcak.

Lajcak conceded that the enlargement policy isn’t popular in all EU countries; but it’s important from Slovakia’s perspective, as it provides motivation for candidate countries to engage in transformation, reforms and adoption of European standards.

“I told my colleague that enlargement is among the priorities of the upcoming Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, and we debated individual countries in detail, including expectations of what could be achieved by Slovakia during the six-month presidency,” said Lajcak.

When asked about Serbia, Kovac at the press conference said that there’s no country in Europe that would be more interested in enlarging the EU by the Western Balkan countries than Croatia. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to meet criteria to make these countries trustworthy, he stressed.

“Croatia will support Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia in their efforts to join the EU,” stated Kovac.