Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic in Belgrade on Friday welcomed the opening of first chapters in Serbia's EU entry talks, scheduled to take place on December 14, stressing that among all EU member states Serbia's membership of the bloc was in the interest of Croatia the most.
"I believe that of all EU members, this is in the interest of Croatia the most and in the interest of neighbouring countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, but given the history of our relations, Serbia's path through all these reforms and towards EU membership is in our interest the most," Pusic told the press on the fringes of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade.
She recalled that Croatia had gone through a 12-year-long journey from the signing of its Stabilisation and Association Agreement to full membership of the bloc, underlining the importance of this process and adding that "without that process membership has no meaning."
"We worked a long time on that, and we are far from a country that I would want for myself and what my ideals are, but we are also far from where we had been before the process started. To sum up, this has really been useful for us and it will be useful for you too and for everybody else," Radio Television Serbia cited Pusic as saying.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced in Belgrade on Thursday the European Union would open the first two chapters (32 and 35) in accession negotiations with Serbia on December 14.
Pusic stressed that in the continuation of Serbia's European integration processes, Croatia would have "its demands and remarks", adding however that Zagreb would not use this process to resolve its bilateral issues with Belgrade.
"Such problems will be resolved bilaterally. In my opinion, this is a matter of certain self-respect. I believe that every serious country must be able to resolve such issues bilaterally, regardless of disagreements, they need to be handled bilaterally, without hiding behind other processes. This process is strict but fair," Pusic said.
The Croatian foreign policy chief congratulated Serbia on its successful chairmanship of the OSCE "in these difficult times when the entire world, and especially our micro-universe, has dramatically changed."
Pusic underscored that it was Croatia's position that "there is no need for new security operations within the framework of OSCE."
Pusic is taking part in the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council where she underscored Croatia's position that OSCE did not need new security operations but it needed to see through the existing ones.