EU Croatia Won’t Leave Balkans Isolated, Josipovic

The Balkans will not become isolated after Croatia joins the EU this July, President Ivo Josipovic has said.Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said the rest of the Western Balkans would not become isolated by Croatia’s EU accession as a consequence of EU enlargement fatigue.

“What seems very important to me is to say that Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and tomorrow Kosovo should implement the reforms they are expected to implement,” he said.

According to him, it is not possible to join the EU without implementing reforms and Croatia’s own experience confirms this: the only obstacle could be the unsatisfactory implementation of reforms.

“We had a stalemate period in Croatia. However, we have implemented all reforms. By implementing the reforms we have become a better society,” he said.

“I am sure that our neighbours will benefit from the reforms on the EU pathway,” Josipovic added.

Croatia is set to join the EU in July.

The President added that relations between the countries of the region were improving, especially between Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Speaking of Bosnia, he said that his country saw Bosnia as an independent, sovereign state and a friend.

“I do not see any reason why Bosnia-Herzegovina should not be an EU member state tomorrow with a smart policy,” he stressed.

Commenting on the position of Croats in Bosnia, Josipovic said it was an “issue that needs to be solved by the citizens and peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina”.

He stressed that the border between Bosnia and Croatia must not become a “Chinese wall” after Croatia joins the EU on July 1.

“We consider Bosnia-Herzegovina perhaps our most important neighbour. We have numerous trade and cultural ties. We consider this stage, in which Croatia is an EU member and Bosnia-Herzegovina is not, a transitional period. We will do everything to help Bosnia-Herzegovina become an EU member state,” the President noted.

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