Interview with Vesela Mrden Korac, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in The Netherlands
Croatia ready to join the Schengen-Zone and preparing for the Euro
By Helmut Hetzel
A: Mrs. Ambassador, as Ambassador you are now in the Netherlands for about four years. What has been your most pleasant and your most worse experience in Holland?
Q: Yes, I have been in the Netherlands for more than four years and my mission will end this summer. I have had many, many pleasant experiences in this beautiful country and I was proud to be engaged in many important files for my country such as closing of the EU negotiations and ratification of the Croatian EU accession treaty in „De Tweede en de Eerste Kamer“ with overwhelming majority in support of the Croatian membership. I did not have any unpleasant situation but in the opposite almost each day has been inspiring for me and I would be happy to come back as often as possible, of course in different capacity but with a same strong attachment.
Q: Croatia is since almost two years a member of the EU. Your country will join the Schengen-Treaty in July. Which impact does the EU-membership has had and still have for your country?
A: Yes, Croatia has been very enthusiastic member of the EU for almost two years after long and thorough accession negotiations and ever since we have been focused on further integration with joining Schengen. At this moment, we can say that all necessary preparations for Schengen have been successfully implemented and we are more than ready to protect EU borders from illegal activities and at the same time we have been deeply engaged in assisting our neighbours to the East in raising their preparedness for the forthcoming enlargement. The EU membership has still very strong support of majority of Croatian people as it provides us with the most desirable framework of freedom, democracy, rule of law and security and in parallel it strongly adds to our economic advantages insuring foreign investors that our country and market is harmonised with the other EU members. On the other side in joining common market all of our companies including small and medium sized are faced with competing the most advanced companies of the EU and that might be challenging in a short term but hopefully would bring us to the higher competitive level in a long run.
Q: The Euro-crisis because of the Greek debts is still going on. Do you see any solution or outcome?
A: I believe that Euro-crisis might have had much broader causes and unfortunately no easy solutions. Personally, I’m convinced that our joint efforts and cooperation is essential and that even closer cooperation would be more beneficial for the EU as well as for the each member state.
Croatia will join the Euro-Zone
Q: Will Croatia join the Euro-Zone?
A: We are already undertaking necessary economic reforms and it might take us a few years before we get to the needed level of economic performances and indicators preconditioned for the Euro membership. Of course, our urgent priority is to reform our economy in a way that our citizens can enjoy the best possible opportunities of today’s modern world.
Q: The ECB just launched a huge so called ,,Quantity Easing Programm‘‘ and is pouring the markets with 1,1 trillion Euro. Will that work to trigger the economies of the Euro-member states?
We all hope so and at the same time we know that this is just one instrument that needs to be properly combined with other measures. At this initial stage, it seems that it was successful in provoking vivid business activity that was so desperately needed and this might be a good start if carefully monitored.
Relation Croatia – Serbia
Q: How would you describe the relation of Croatia with Serbia and the other former ,,Yugoslavia-States‘‘ ?
A: Croatia has been investing a lot in developing and maintaining good neighbourly relations with all our neighbours, strongly advocating further enlargement and at the same time offering our expertise and accession experiences to all interested parties. Here, I would like to emphasise that Croatia has been maintaining and further developing traditionally significant economic relations with closer and wider neighbourhood. With Serbia we have good relations with very pragmatic approach in solving open issues from the past and building cooperation on common interests. While committed to facilitate all neighbours on their path towards the Euro-Atlantic integration, Croatia is especially focused on Bosnia and Herzegovina in bringing back attention of the EU and international community for accelerating their development and prosperity.
Q: Nobody can predict the future, neither we are prophets. But was is your vision of an Europe in the year 2025?
A: I see Europe as united, strong and leading continent within which each state including Croatia will be able to use its potential in becoming very successful and desirable country to live in, to visit and to partner with.
Q: Thank you very much.
A: I thank you and Societeit De Witte, the prestigious club with its very knowledgeable and cosmopolitan members who were following closely international relations and wholeheartedly welcoming me and supporting Croatia.
/ Textende / Copyright © by HELMUT HETZEL / Den Haag