miro kovač.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ FENA/ EMIR BURLOVIC/ ua

New Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac said in an article for the Berlin Tagesspiegel newspaper ahead of his first visit to Germany on Monday that the unity of Europe should be preserved despite the challenges such as the refugee crisis and the potential exit of Great Britain from the European Union.

"We want to and must preserve this common home called Europe. A home that provides us with protection and comfort and makes it possible for our peoples and states to live peacefully together and to preserve national specificities, naturally by respecting common rules," Kovac wrote.

He said that all European countries, regardless of their size, were responsible for Europe's future, criticising the fact that there was no common, Europe-wide approach to tackling the current refugee crisis. He said that the countries of Southeastern Europe were an exception.

"The agreement between Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia in controlling the tide of migrants is functioning well and is a good example of effective cooperation limited to one part of Europe," the Croatian minister said.

Kovac stressed the need to find a solution at the European level as soon as possible because "isolated solutions at the national level are not contributing to a viable European policy." He said he supported the Slovenian proposal that controls should be stepped on the Greece-Macedonia border if the protection of the Greece-Turkey border failed.

Kovac said that Croatia would continue to show humanity and contribute to a common European solution, but emphasised that Croatia would not become a collection centre for refugees.

"We need to send a clear message and that is: Europe provides assistance and humanity, but Europe is not a promised land, our capacity is limited," Kovac concluded.

The Croatian minister is scheduled to meet on Monday with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and in the evening he is due to deliver a lecture at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on the foreign policy of the new Croatian government.

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