vesna pusić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

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.

Latest news

EU calls on Germany to reduce large current account surplus

The European Commission on Wednesday called on Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, to reduce its large current account surplus and focus on boosting domestic consumption.

Germans' demand for Croatian destinations on steady rise

Bookings for Croatia's destinations in some regions of Bavaria have been rising and some statistics show a 30% increase year-on-year, according to the preliminary information from the "f.re.e." fair for leisure and travel, which opened in Munich on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

Bosnia's counsel travels to The Hague to apply for review of genocide judgement against Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina's legal representative before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Sakib Softic, left for The Hague on Wednesday and is expected to submit a request on Friday for a review of an ICJ judgement delivered in 2007 acquitting the former Social Republic of Yugoslavia, present-day Serbia as its successor, of genocide in Srebrenica.

Serbian, Slovenian FMs says two countries' relations good, economic cooperation on rise

Relations between Slovenia and Serbia are good, the two countries have a number of common interests and their trade, which last year amounted to EUR 1 billion, is on the rise, Slovenian and Serbian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Ivica Dacic respectively, said after their talks in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

Congo to investigate alleged massacre by army

The Congolese government Wednesday pledged to investigate an alleged massacre of unarmed men and women by the army, after initially dismissing a video claiming to show it as a fake.

Global treaty to remove customs bureaucracy comes into force

An international pact that could boost global trade by up to 1 trillion dollars per year entered into force on Wednesday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced in Geneva.

EU seeks to fine Austria for misrepresenting debt data

The European Commission was seeking to slap a fine of close to 30 million euros (31.5 million dollars) on Austria after one of its states reported incorrect debt data to the EU's statistical office, EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said Wednesday.

Merkel cabinet OKs new rules easing deportation of asylum seekers

The cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday agreed a package of measures to ease the deportation of criminal asylum seekers.

Croatian crime victims still not exercising rights enjoyed by victims in other EU countries

Victims of crime in Croatia still cannot exercise the rights exercised by victims of crime in other EU member-countries, and the biggest problem is that the national legislation still does not incorporate the EU directive on the protection of victims of crime, heard a conference held in Zagreb on Wednesday on the occasion of the European Day for Victims of Crime.

Russia condemns 'fake' Western news in hall of shame on state website

Russia's Foreign Ministry introduced a new section of its website on Wednesday to condemn Western news reports with a big red stamp: "FAKE."

Report: Le Pen aides held for questioning on European Parliament jobs

Two key aides to Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for the French presidency, have been held for questioning by police, the Agence France Presse news agency reported on Wednesday.

More than 400 exhibitors gather for boat, gastronomy shows in Zagreb

Slightly more than 400 exhibitors will present their products and services at the 26th International Boat Show and the 9th international gastronomy, hotel and catering equipment and catering show Hotel&Gastroteh, which opened at the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre on Wednesday.