Croatian Foreign Minister Goran Grlic Radman said today that enlargement and Brexit will be the priorities of the Croatian presidency of the European Union (EU), which runs until the end of June.
Croatia, the newest Member State of the Union, “has a lot of work and an important mission that we should do our best in the interests of all EU members, starting with the organization of the relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom” , said Grlic Radman.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 January, but will benefit from a transitional period until the end of 2020 pending a negotiated agreement on the modalities of future trade relations between the country and the Union.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen recently questioned the ability of the EU and the UK to reach a post-Brexit agreement by the end of 2020.
The situation of Western Balkan countries wishing to join the EU bloc will be another challenge for the Croatian presidency, “because there were different approaches to EU enlargement,” Grlic Radman said in remarks to the N1 television network.
The minister issued these statements in Vienna, the Austrian capital, where he signaled the start of the Croatian EU presidency at a ceremony at the local embassy.
Despite the expectations of the candidate countries, "we will support whatever is realistic and possible," warned the head of Croatian diplomacy. “The process of entering the EU is not done in one day. We worked hard to meet all the criteria and standards, ”he added.
In the western Balkans, only Serbia and Montenegro have begun accession negotiations, while Albania and Northern Macedonia are awaiting talks, blocked by France and other countries at the October European Council. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina remain at the bottom of the list, with prospects still very low.
Slovenia (2004) and Croatia (2013) are the only countries from the implosion of former Yugoslavia that have been admitted to the Community bloc.
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