Croatian candidates running in elections for the European Parliament on Wednesday attended a panel discussion on euro introduction, and most of them supported it while the Independents for Croatia and the Croatian Sovereignists were against.
Attending the event, organised by the Euractive youth network, were Tome Anticic (HNS), Dalija Oreskovic (START), Jozo Rados (Amsterdam Coalition), Predrag Matic (SDP), Tomislav Sokol (HDZ), Robert Podolnjak (Bridge), Irena Cajner Mraovic (BM365), Ladislav Ilcic (Croatian Sovereignists) and Tomislav Jonjic (Independents for Croatia).
Most candidates said they were in favour of euro introduction on the condition the necessary criteria were met and Croatia was ready.
Sokol (HDZ) said that analyses conducted so far showed that euro introduction would have a positive impact on the Croatian economy, a view with which Rados agreed.
Bridge's Podolnjak said that euro adoption was also a matter for citizens to decide.
"We are not against euro introduction but believe that the timing should be right and that citizens should be given the opportunity to state their position in a referendum," Podolnjak said.
Oreskovic said her START party supported the introduction of the euro "but this is a matter of timing and open public discussion. Not everyone will win and some will lose so we should have clear information."
"Nobody is forcing us to enter the euro area, once our economy is ready, we will introduce the euro," said Social Democrat Matic.
Even though he recognises the benefits of euro introduction, Jonjic said that his Independents for Croatia party was against entirely abandoning the kuna.
"We are aware that it is more practical to travel without having to exchange money but we are nonetheless against strengthening all mechanisms that strengthen the EU," said Jonjic, whose position was supported by Sovereignist Ilcic, who noted: "Greater powers should be given to national parliaments, not Brussels."
Education, science and innovation
Asked why Croatia does not have any representative on the EP's committees on science or culture and education, MEP Jozo Rados said that "Croatia has 11 MEPs and the EP has 22 committees so it is difficult to cover all the committees we would like to sit on."
Sokol added that one could fight, for example, for Erasmus+, also by sitting on other committees such as the Committee on the Budget.
Podolnjak said that he believed that Croatian students were disadvantaged in comparison with other students in the EU while Cajner Mraovic (BM365) said that one should work on making Croatia more attractive to foreign students.