Rosen Plevneliev and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.jpg

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic called in Sofia on Thursday for greater European solidarity and cooperation in dealing with global security threats and the current migrant crisis, stressing that the causes of those problems should be dealt and that time should not be wasted on endless discussions.

Delivering a talk at the University of Sofia, Grabar-Kitarovic also advocated strengthening central Europe's economic and energy security and the EU's expansion to western Balkan countries.

The Croatian president, who was on a two-day visit to Bulgaria, said the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and the great migrant tide posed a challenge and threat to the EU, primarily in the sense that they eroded European values and democracy, and called for a resolute and coordinated response.

Europe should no longer waste time on discussions about refugee quotas but work to deal with the causes of the problems it was faced with in the long run, she said, adding that Europe should also ask itself about its own responsibility for what was going on.

We need a common vision, clear decisions and agreed actions and a strong common foreign and security policy, she said, calling on the EU to make more resolute and more coordinated efforts in the fight against radicalisation and terrorism.

Diplomatic efforts should be invested to contribute to resolving the conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world and development aid should be increased so as to remove the causes of migration, which range from poverty and discrimination to terrorism and climate change, she said, adding that there were around 50 to 60 million migrants in the world, and only one-fourth were real refugees.

The EU should solve problems outside its borders and protect itself from within, she said, underlining that migrants and refugees should be integrated and educated rather than assimilated and isolated in ghettos and camps.

As an example of a well-integrated community she mentioned the Muslim community in Croatia. "Islam is a religion of peace," she said, noting that this year Croatia was marking the 100th anniversary of the official recognition of Islam.

She called also for strengthening the Schengen area of passport-free travel and advocated Croatia's and Bulgaria's admission to that area.

Speaking about the strengthening of the economic and energy security of central Europe, Grabar-Kitarovic reiterated the importance of her Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative as a platform for closer cooperation between Europe's north and south.

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