Rosen Plevneliev and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.jpg
Photograph: EPA/VASSIL DONEV

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.

Related stories

Latest news

Alphabet's self-driving car company sues Uber over alleged theft

Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo said Thursday it was suing Uber and its subsidiary Otto for allegedly stealing its technology and infringing its patents.

US, Mexico take "important steps" even as Trump voices indifference

Top US and Mexican diplomatic and security officials met on Thursday in Mexico City, as President Donald Trump in Washington expressed ambivalence about relations with the United States' southern neighbour.

US Supreme Court's Ginsberg emphasizes value of free press

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed optimism about the political future of the United States despite the polarized and combative political atmosphere that has marked the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump.

Top Trump aide Bannon points to promises kept, media fight

Top White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday US President Donald Trump is keeping the promises he made during his campaign on issues from immigration to job creation.

Le Pen promises independent foreign policy, autonomous defence

Marine Le Pen promised Thursday that if elected president of France she would ensure it had a truly independent foreign policy as well as an autonomous capacity for self-defence.

Slovenia for ending lawsuits against Ljubljanska Banka

Croatia is infringing the memorandum of understanding signed with Slovenia in 2013 which they interpret differently, the Slovenian Embassy said on Thursday after a hearing at a Zagreb court in a suit which Croatia's PBZ bank filed against Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka (LB) and Nova Ljubljanska Bank (NLB) over transferred foreign currency savings.

Marin Pucar appointed as new CEO in Podravka food concern

Marin Pucar is the new Management Board chairman of the Podravka food concern and will take the helm of the company after Zvonimir Mrsic's term expires at midnight on Thursday.

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for 'The Truth' with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.