[ VL ] Zovko: Non-European countries misuse their impact in BiH and frustrate its accession path to the EU
By Zoran Krešić
ŽELJANA ZOVKO ELECTED THE EPP DEPUTY COORDINATOR IN THE AFET IN THE NEW EP STRUCTURE
Non-European countries misuse their impact in BiH and frustrate its accession path to the EU
The most important task will be to explain who are those who obstruct the BiH accession path to the EU and advocate the impact of the ill-disposed countries. After the new structure of the European Parliament was constituted and the members took an oath, members of the Parliamentary bodies were elected. The Croatian Member of the European Parliament from HDZ, Željana Zovko, was elected a full member and an EPP Deputy Coordinator in the Committee of Foreign Affairs (AFET).
VL: What does it mean for you to have been elected a full member of the AFET?
ŽZ: For me personally this is a huge acknowledgment. Considering that diplomacy is the most intensive activity of the European Parliament, the Committee of Foreign Affairs is actually the most visible body.
VL: That is particularly important because of the relation with the non-EU countries?!
ŽZ: By definition that is the relation with the third countries. All agreements with the third countries must be ratified by the AFET, which is the body competent for managing cooperation between the member-states and non-member states and for giving guidelines for the enlargement.
VL: Are you satisfied with the candidates for the top positions in the EU?
ŽZ: I am very satisfied indeed – the President of the European Commission comes from the European People’s Party. That is actually a big victory also for the Croatian prime-minister Plenković, who was in charge with the negotiations on behalf of the EPP. What we were hoping for was that our directly elected candidate, Mr. Weber – Spitzkandidat will be elected to this position. However, since we do not have the majority in the Council, an agreement was reached and we got what was the best for us – our member, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, is the future President of the European Commission. My satisfaction with her election even grew after I saw her presentation in our Group, especially considering that the strengthened role of the President of the European Commission, who is particularly active in foreign and security policy, will add to the importance of the AFET.
VL: Mr. Macron’s action launched discussion all over the region about the halt of the EU enlargement. How do you see the EU enlargement in the forthcoming four-year period?
ŽZ: Personally, I will continue putting the uttermost of my efforts, just like so far, in the plan of enlargement onto the South-Eastern Europe, with a special focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina and strengthening of the position of Croats in that country, where, regardless of the fact that they have the position of a constituent community, they were deprived of the most important positions and actually also of a tool for fighting for their rights. I am particularly committed to strengthening the mid-path between the two extremes in BiH, which was confirmed by the Parliament resolutions, in which creation the Croatian MEPs from the EPP were intensively involved. We will insist on the implementation of the resolutions, as well as on changes and amendments to the BiH Election Law, as envisaged by the rulings of the Constitutional Court of BiH. We will be supporting BiH on its way to finally get rid of the extremes and find the mentioned mid-path in order to become a country of peace and stability. With its current instability, BiH poses a clear threat for Croatia. I will never cease warning about that situation and drawing attention of the EU thereto, in order to finally come to a solution for this burning issue, which may easily become a threat not only for Croatian borders, but for the whole EU. In this sense, it is very important to understand that the EU must play its global role with this particular issue.
VL: In which sense?
ŽZ: First of all, the EU must come up with a clear and decisive foreign and security policy to respond to the challenges we are facing. The EU must show that it is capable of acting in the closest neighbourhood when it comes to the enlargement and finding a solution for these issues. Unfortunately, BiH was left aside, but the important thing to understand is that this country is a key for the stability in the entire Balkans. Without understanding this, we simply may not understand or seek a more visible role of the EU in other parts of the world. That is and must be our priority. Therefore, the President of our party, Mr. Plenković, was in the process of negotiations focused on the election of the Commission President from the EPP, because the EPP has always been the biggest advocate of the EU enlargement.
VL: What about France opposing the enlargement?
ŽZ: President Macron’s recent statements about a need to avoid the enlargement pending further deepening and consolidation of Europe, were very controversial. I personally believe that such statements should be neutralised through our actions and work of the future European Commission. Namely, the enlargement must be recognised as a necessity, if we want to build peace and stability in South-Eastern Europe, as that is a pre-condition for peace and stability of the entire EU. As a former Ambassador to France, I am well aware that there is no need to convey messages for internal purposes which may cause disappointment or return to not so positive times. Nevertheless, I believe that relations in the European bodies are well balanced. A Spanish Commissioner for Foreign and Security Policy is an excellent choice, considering a very positive role of Spain in this sense. I firmly believe we will be able to find balance and understanding that Europe must enlarge to this area. If this region were closed, the exiting black hole, which certainly will not disappear, may become a huge threat for security. Therefore, it is very good to have the former German Defence Minister in the leading position in the Commission, because she is a good connoisseur of the relations in South-Eastern Europe.
VL: You are talking about a necessity of the EU enlargement, but anti-European force in BiH seems to be stronger than ever. The process of government constitution is blocked. How do you comment?
ŽZ: Here I see an extended hand of the third, non-European countries, who by playing their own games try to prevent the EU to take a stronger role. Obviously, it is about procrastination and about opposing the compromise between the three peoples, with the uttermost goal to impose stronger influence. This is very dangerous and the EU must recognise the danger. That is where I see the importance of my personal role – to explain who are those who obstruct the BiH accession path to the EU and advocate the impact of the ill-disposed countries.