By Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave strong support to the European perspective of southeastern Europe yesterday in Dubrovnik, stating that the distractive climate of the past has been replaced by the construction and renewal of an area, which aspires to join the European Union.
It’s joint wish that all the countries of South Eastern Europe one day join the EU by meeting the criteria necessary for a membership, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Merkel agreed after the plenary meeting of the Hill-Brijuni process, pointing out that Germany and EU member states from the region are ready to help them in this process.
“We are working on all levels for the realization of the European perspective for all countries of Southeastern Europe”, said the German chancellor. Germany is not giving up on this approach and all German political parties support the European perspective of the countries of Southeastern Europe, said the main guest of the summit of the Heads of Southeastern European States.
She expressed her satisfaction with the considerable progress in the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, and assessed that the courage of leadership of the two countries contributed to it, in addition to their future European perspective. She also hopes that Bosnia and Herzegovina will reach new dynamics and that after the election will be launched a new initiative for this country.
“The wish of all of us here is that Southeastern Europe one day is in the EU, when the conditions are fulfilled”, Josipovic said. “Croatia and Slovenia will speak on behalf of the countries of the region for their European path”, added the head of the Croatian state, stressing that the visit of Merkel is a confirmation of the regional policy.
Merkel also made it clear that Germany stands alongside countries that wish to pursue their European ambitions. “They all have the perspective of joining the EU; these are not just words”, said the Chancellor stressing the example of Croatia and Slovenia.
Merkel stressed the importance of building joint infrastructure projects, especially roads and railways, and said that precisely for these type of projects the European Union has set aside 11.7 billion euros by 2020.
Priority in spending that money goes to EU countries, Croatia and Slovenia, while others must explain what they want through precise projects.
As it was announced, the participants talked about infrastructure projects and energy, for which, as Josipovic said, “Croatia is extremelly vitally interested”, primarily for the Munich-Istanbul rail route and the Adriatic and Ionian highway and energy policies within the EU energy policy.
Merkel also talked about relations between Germany and Croatia and stressed that the relations between them are good, not only in regard to political institutions, but also among their people. “We have excellent relations”, Merkel said adding that Croatia is going through a difficult period, but that Germany is there to help.
Josipovic said in a statement to the media that from the meeting in Dubrovnik will be addressed a call to the European Council for the summit of EU-Western Balkans.