Josip Juratovic, a member of the Bundestag and its foreign affairs committee, on Monday supported his colleague Guenther Krichbaum, who criticised Croatia for blocking the Serbia-European Union accession negotiations.

"Croatia's attempt to block Serbia in issues that can be solved bilaterally is a waste of precious time which Croatia should and could use for its better future, which lies in good neighbourly relations," Juratovic of the SPD party told Hina.

He agreed with Krichbaum's criticism of Croatia for blocking the opening of Serbia-EU negotiations on policy chapters 23 and 24. "Croatia itself was admitted to the EU relatively unprepared in chapters 23 and 24 so that it could be an example and a partner" to Western Balkan countries in the pre-accession process, Juratovic said. "Unfortunately, Croatia's policy has let down the EU's expectations and is creating an increasingly bad image both on the domestic and on the foreign policy front."

He said Krichbaum's criticism carried weight because he chaired Bundestag's influential committee on EU issues and that Krichbaum, a CDU lawmaker, was "known also as a big critic of Serbia's policy".

Juratovic said he did not know "the official position of the German government" but that, given that "the highest representative body of a democratic society is the parliament, it would be good to consider more seriously the image of Croatia's policy which, both in terms of the domestic and the foreign policy, is very bad."

He said "there are many social and political initiatives for peace, stability and development in the region which remain in the shadow of political populism, which unfortunately creates unnecessary tensions, and bombastic headlines create an entirely unrealistic picture of the relations in the region."

Krichbaum on Saturday criticised Croatia for blocking Serbia's EU accession negotiations, saying Croatia was misusing the EU to solve its own outstanding issues with Serbia.

Croatia has not given the green light for the opening of the negotiation chapter on the judiciary and fundamental rights, demanding that Serbia abolish regional jurisdiction for war crimes, ensure the rights of the Croat minority, and fully cooperate with the Hague war crimes tribunal.

"There are mechanisms for solutions, even when states are engaged in discussions or quarrels," Krichbaum told Deutsche Welle, adding that in those cases it was normal to expect the states to solve problems bilaterally, without misusing EU membership for that purpose.

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