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Croatia in favourable position according to President Mesic

Croatia has a more developed economy, stronger public administration and a higher degree of macroeconomic stability than other countries in the region. Its ambitious plan of political and economic reforms puts it in a more favourable position regarding admission to Euro-Atlantic associations, President Stjepan Mesic said at a bilateral congress on 05-Dec in Vienna.

Croatia has committed itself to thorough economic reforms, a constructive role in the process of stabilisation and association, and a faster process of internal political democratisation, so that it could meet conditions for admission to the EU as soon as possible, Mesic said. "Some recent events in Croatia could slow down our accession to the EU to some extent. However, I want to reiterate clearly that I will not support it, and Croatia will co-operate with the tribunal in the Hague, in line with its constitutional and legal system and assumed international obligations. That is why Croatia's current problems in relations with the tribunal cannot pose a more serious threat to its integration in the EU," the President said.

The Croatian authorities have always stated that good neighbourly relations are not only necessary but also natural. "However, Croatia rejects any attempt to form new state structures in the Balkans and will advocate the development of regional ties among independent and sovereign states. Croatia wants to remain a factor of regional stability in south-east Europe and can help in the integration of the Balkans," Mesic said, adding that Croatia was also a Mediterranean country and as such wanted to contribute to co-operation with the EU's south.

Mesic dedicated a large part of his speech to economic issues. "Economic and social reforms in Croatia are not possible without a wide social consensus," he said, adding that he advocated "the Croatian model of social partnership" with consensus on crucial issues being the basic precondition of development and economic changes. He expressed confidence that by the end of 2003 Croatia would fulfil all of its commitments adopted with the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. "The Croatian government believes that by the end of 2006 or 2007 the country will reach the required level of readiness for EU membership. Europe is integrating and that is our destiny as well, and NATO is our security. It is mostly up to us to determine the pace at which Croatia will join European integration processes. The dynamics of admission is basically determined by Croatia," Mesic concluded.

(NewsBase 06.xii.02)

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