Ivo Josipovic: EU membership is a fortune for all countries in the region

EU membership is a great challenge and opportunity, but by itself it does not solve the problems that one state has, said Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in an interview with the Anadolu Agency. He claims that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs help from the outside, but that only the citizens themselves can solve the internal problems of the country.

“Although it does not solve problems, EU membership opens up new possibilities for the economy of a country,” Josipovic said, almost a year after Croatia became an official member of the European Union.

He pointed out that Croatia became part of a large market of 500 million people, which is a positive challenge for the Croatian economy, because it has to work and in some segments be even better than its competitors.

Countries remaining outside the EU will be an appendix

“In a way, EU membership generates positive reforms and going through this period, I am sure, Croatia became a better society. However, all these opportunities that we have, the opportunity to sit at a table with other European countries and tailor our common future, is not enough without doing a good job at home, especially when we talk about a solution for the economic crisis. For sure, countries that are surrounded by the European Union and remain outside are going to be an appendix in the long run. To me it seems that EU membership is a fortune for all countries in the region,” said Josipovic.

It is part of Croatia’s strategic interest that all countries in the region become members of the European Union, especially because the EU is peaceful and all membership countries are working together on security issues, said Josipovic. The membership of Croatia’s neighbors in the EU means a common and bigger market with greater opportunities for a united Europe.

“We make a commitment for the membership of our neighboring countries, but we also know that they have to fulfill the requirements, as we had. Formally, Serbia and Montenegro are one step ahead of BiH but I do not see a huge time difference for the chance to become a EU member for all countries in the region, if they adhere to reforms that are going to be successfully implemented,” said Josipovic.

The Croatian president believes that the bilateral relations between Croatia and BiH have to be resolved. He pointed out that the war and the breakup of the former common state has brought a number of problems and contentious issues that exist between all countries in the region. “We have still unresolved questions about borders and certain property issues with Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as certain issues related to customs and economy. But all this would not be a problem that would prevent the country on the EU path, or even fewer issues for us to do something that isn’t friendship, and not my friends and colleagues,” explained Josipovic.

According to Josipovic’s opinion, the attitudes of Croatia’s delegates in the EU parliament according to the future of BiH are no different.

Bosnia and Herzegovina will be what its citizens want it to be

“First of all, BiH will be what you want it to be and what you make out of your country. We are here, and I think our MPs have shown that, to support your path. However, the outcome depends on you. And our Foreign Ministry came out with a certain proposal, but I accept these proposals as well intentioned ones that do not want to systematically resolve the problems you have, but those that mean a special mechanism procedurally that would not mean lower, different or weaker conditions, but enabling some issues to be resolved in parallel. My standpoint is that internal relations, when it comes to the internal organization of the country, the relations of the three constitutive peoples, all citizens and the Sejdic-Finci ruling, no one else but you can resolve this problem,” stressed Josipovic.

Commenting on the trilateral meetings held among Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, and Turkey, Croatia, and BiH, he said he considers dialogue to always be good.

Europe and its orientation on cooperation with neighbors

“Whoever wants to participate in joint operations, joint economic projects and peace is welcome. However, I think that the internal problems that BiH, Croatia or any other country has, cannot be solved outside the state. I would like the orientation of all countries to be a European one, and of course, an orientation towards cooperation with neighbors,” Josipovic emphasized.(AA)