Photograph: hr.wikipedia.org

As a member of the European Union (EU), Croatia is conditioning the resolution of outstanding bilateral issues, to define the pace of Serbia's accession to the EU and to strengthen its superiority over ethnic Serbs, but with the poor mutual relations between the two countries it is risking its potential of stabilising relations in the region, Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Wednesday.

"From its position as a member of the EU, Croatia wants three things - to condition the resolution of outstanding bilateral issues like the prosecution of war crimes, missing persons from the war and minority rights and the border on the Danube river - in a way that agrees with it as well as defining the pace of Serbia's accession to the EU and to strengthen a feeling within Croatia of superiority in relations with Serbia," Pupovac said in an interview with the Serbian weekly Jedinstvo.

"All three reasons are bad and there can be very little gained from them and a lot lost," he added.

The Croatian Serb leader assessed that hate speech toward Serbs has erupted since last year and that the "feeling of insecurity has increased with the already existing feeling of inequality, particularly during war crimes trials, employment and development."

He believes that the outgoing Croatian government is guilty and responsible for tolerating and encouraging extremism as well as pointing out different views in Croatia with regard to relations toward the Serb minority.

"Croatia is divided on that matter. Part of it and its policy wants an equal and integrated Serb minority while part of it has strengthened over the past year and wants to create disorder and imbalance in the country and wants to create a Croatia where Serbs will not feel at home and will not be equal citizens or a minority," Pupovac said.

Pupovac added that regardless of the fact that Croatia was a member of the EU, it was unacceptable to allow the violation of human and minority rights and the rehabilitation of symbols and historically fascist ideas and movements like the WWII Ustasha movement.

He warned that relations between Serbia and Croatia significantly impacted stability in the region and that both countries risk losing that potential of stabilisation.

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