Newsletter 8/2010 - Our South East Europe
INTERVIEW with Gordan Jandrokovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Croatia
Regional cooperation anchors European values in South
Minister Jandrokovic, how would you assess regional cooperation in 2010 and what are your expectations for the next year?
The European perspective of the countries of South East Europe is the best guarantee for the overall prosperity of the entire region. In this regard, regional cooperation serves as an essential tool for anchoring European values in South East Europe, and as such it is conducive to the European Union (EU) integration process. Therefore, regional cooperation is and will remain one of
What are the concrete priorities of
Which further reforms and steps do you consider most important on your country’s path towards EU membership?
The fact that all the chapters in
The final stage of the accession process is not only about fulfilling the remaining criteria. It goes without saying that we are not losing out of sight all what remains to be achieved, mostly so in Chapters 8- Competition Policy and 23- Judiciary and Fundamental Rights. Therefore, in the following period we will continue to put the main emphasis on areas such as restructuring of the shipbuilding sector, reform of the judiciary and public administration, as well as fight against corruption and organised crime. In the months to come, we will also streamline our efforts towards conducting an extensive campaign aimed at informing our citizens about specific implications of EU membership prior to the referendum to be held after the signing of the Accession Treaty. In parallel, we are also thinking ahead and undertaking the necessary preparations for the post-accession period, since it is our aim to assume all obligations stemming from membership and achieve full integration as soon as possible, be it in the Schengen area or the monetary union.
What are the benefits of EU membership for the citizens of Croatia?
Summarising all the benefits of EU membership, I would say that the major one is the significant increase in opportunities for Croatian citizens – be it in terms of business, education, consumer protection or environmental protection. Member states’ citizens are often insufficiently aware of the impact of the membership on their lives, as they take for granted the travel without border controls, as well as education and living or working in another EU member state. Also, it is considered usual to use the same currency in 16 countries, to have one's qualification recognized in another country and to benefit from a large market which, in fact, is the world’s largest player in many areas. All these benefits are what we want for Croatian citizens too.
And what does EU gain by admitting
How is the Croatian Government planning to overcome social and financial difficulties in this period of recovery from the economic recession?
In its last Progress Report, the European Commission recognized
We expect that the implementation of the respective measures will generate economic growth and growth of GDP above the expected 1.5% in 2011.
In this respect, the Croatian Government has also launched a new investment cycle. Amounting to a total of 13.8 billion euro, the cycle covers projects not only in tourism but also in the areas such as energy, transport, water management and the strengthening of small and medium-sized enterprises through
A number of measures aimed at boosting Croatian competitiveness already show tangible results such as the overall increase of Croatian exports in the first nine months of 2010 by 16%. The amount of exports to the EU countries alone rose by 17%.
What we want to see in the following period are even better results. In order to achieve them, we will put emphasis on further strengthening the backbone of economic development by creating a better and more supportive business climate through implementation of necessary reforms in the public sector.
How do you comment the EU decision in relation to visa liberalisation for citizens of
We welcome the decision on visa liberalization for the citizens of
How do you see the role of the Regional Cooperation Council in 2011? How could it best advance cooperation to promote European and Euro-Atlantic integration in South
The Regional Cooperation Council has a crucial role in stimulating regional cooperation in South East Europe. It has been very successful in identifying common regional needs and in translating those into concrete projects. The comparative advantage of the RCC as an operative body of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) is that since its establishment it has always managed to gather representatives of all the countries of the region around the same table. This has certainly contributed to its success in achieving many envisaged goals and, upon recent adoption of the RCC Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013, I am sure it will continue to do so in the upcoming years.
Gordan Jandrokovic was appointed to the position of Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in 2008. Prior to that, Jandrokovic was member of Croatian Parliament (2003-2008). He holds Bachelor’s degrees from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and the Faculty of Political Science at the