ZAGREB – Zagreb is close to finding a solution that should enable Serbia to continue its EU accession talks and open negotiation chapter 23, Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač said on Friday.
We are working on this through various contacts with the European Commission and the Netherlands, which chairs the EU, he said.
Kovač was speaking at an extraordinary press conference in Zagreb, a day after EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in Brussels that an agreement had been reached with Croatia to enable Serbia to open Chapter 23 in June.
The Croatian minister said that he did not quite understand why Hahn announced this without prior agreement.
“I really do not know. He is a friend of mine. We will speak on the phone today to clarify this,” he said.
He reiterated that Croatia insists on Serbia’s full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia – which he said includes acceptance of rulings and decisions – as well as on respect for the rights of Serbia’s ethnic Croat community and ensuring its representation in the parliament.
Croatia has also said that Serbia cannot have regional jurisdiction over all war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, he said.
Kovač also said that there has been a relaxation in the relations between Zagreb and Belgrade and that he expects a new government to be formed in Serbia that Croatia will cooperate with to the benefit of Croats, Serbs and all nations and countries in the region.