The Croatian government adopted a program for the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) here on Friday.
Croatia takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency on Jan. 1, 2020, its first ever since its EU accession in 2013.
The slogan of the presidency will be “A strong Europe in a world of challenges”. The program is based on four pillars: a Europe that develops, a Europe that connects, a Europe that protects, and a Europe that is influential.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stressed that the program contains Croatia’s national priorities and is in line with the new strategic agenda of the EU for the 2019-2024 period.
Based on the program, Croatia’s presidency will advocate “a balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth of the EU that takes account of the specificities and needs of all member countries, their regions and citizens,” Croatian news agency HINA reported.
Croatia will “encourage policies directed at promoting the EU’s infrastructure connectivity and at bringing its citizens closer, primarily through education, culture, and sports.”
It will “work to further build the EU as an area of freedom, security, and justice based on shared values, democracy and the rule of law, including internal security, better protection of the external borders, achieving the full operability of information systems, strengthening resilience to external threats as well as to hybrid and cyber threats,” the government announced on Friday.
The presidency will advocate “the continuation of consistent, effective and credible enlargement policy, as an investment in the stability, security and further economic development and connectivity of the European continent,” the document states.
Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Friday that the presidency is a historic moment for Croatia and that the program is well elaborated. He noted that Croatia can be proud of the content of the program that highlights its priorities. The presidency, he said, will contribute to the strengthening of Croatia’s influence and visibility in international relations.
During its presidency, Croatia will work hard to reach an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), that is, the seven-year EU budget, which is one of the most important tasks facing the EU. It will focus on EU enlargement to countries in its southeast neighborhood.
According to the document, the presidency will advocate launching talks with Albania and North Macedonia, both candidate countries, as well as with Bosnia and Herzegovina to obtain its status as a candidate country. Croatia will encourage the fulfillment of the necessary criteria for the further progress of Montenegro and Serbia in their accession talks.
Source: Xinhua – ZAGREB