PM Plenkovic holds talk at Harvard Kennedy School

NEWS 22.09.2022 10:28
Source: Vlada RH

Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, held a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School on Wednesday, in which he "advocated for modern sovereignism which envisages the promotion of Croatian national interests within the European framework," state news agency Hina said on Thursday, adding that Plenkovic said he wanted to "strengthen the mainstream against the far left and far right."

“Croatia decided to unite its sovereignty with other European countries and achieve strategic national goals with more strength, financial capability and more safe space in crises than it could alone,” Hina cited him as saying, as part of an event at the Harvard Kennedy School titled Confronting Challenges to Democracy and Energy Security in Europe.

Plenkovic held a talk and then answered questions from professor Grzegorz Ekiert, director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and students.

Plenkovic said he “advocated the modern sovereignism concept among citizens and internationally” because “it fits well with efforts for the European Union’s strategic autonomy” which, he added, “does not mean the EU’s separation from the United States.”

Plenkovic said there was “a tendency towards a fragmentation of the political scene in the EU, the consequence of which is the strengthening of populist and demagogic groups, either on the far left or right.” Plenkovic said his role as a prime minister from the European People’s Party was “to strengthen the mainstream again.”

“If we don’t strengthen it, we won’t have sufficient resilience and strength to go on as before, but this does not mean that we should neglect our national interests,” he added.

Plenkovic said it was “much better for Croatia to be in the EU” and that he, “as a convinced European,” felt that “Croatians would live better because of the EU membership, that the economy would be more competitive and the social situation better.”

“Plenkovic noted that Croatia is about to join the Schengen and euro areas, and that it’s credit rating is the best to date,” Hina said.

“Still, Croatia has the important task to strengthen institutions and the fight against corruption, a phenomenon which erodes the tissue of our society if we don’t confront it energetically and strongly,” he added.

‘Russian aggression on Ukraine has changed the world’

Plenkovic also spoke about the effects of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, saying that “as an unprecedented violation of international law, it had completely changed the world.”

“It has also caused a humanitarian crisis and a tragedy for the Ukrainians, and consequently a rise in energy prices and a food crisis,” he said.

“Nobody has been left untouched, it’s a horizontal crisis, which makes it difficult to fight it, it’s external to us and we don’t know how long it will last,” he added.

Speaking of Croatian-Ukrainian ties, Plenkovic said that “there was a special connection between the two countries and peoples that was evident also in the fact that Ukraine had been the third country to recognize Croatia’s independence.” He noted that Croatia had extended financial and military assistance to Ukraine and taken in its refugees.

“The Ukrainians are also fighting for the values we all share,” Plenkovic said.

Responding to a question about the European perspective of Western Balkan countries, he said Croatia was “helping them on their European journey” and that their EU membership was “also in Croatia’s interest.”

“The sooner they reach the necessary standards, the better it will be for them and for us, and it will also help us clear up some remaining issues from the time when Milosevic’s Serbia waged the policy of Greater Serbia aggression against Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo,” Plenkovic said.


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