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Prime Minister Ansip Met his Croatian Counterpart

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Zagreb, 9 September 2008 – At the meeting held today with Ivo Sanader, the Prime Minister of Croatia, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip confirmed that Estonia supports the integration of Croatia with the European Union and NATO.

According to Prime Minister Ansip, the progress of Croatia on the way towards NATO and the European Union has been remarkable, and Estonia supports the course of reforms in Croatia. According to Estonia, the further expansion of the European Union is possible and necessary, even without the Lisbon Treaty.

“Estonia has consistently supported expansion. We are convinced that the promises made to Croatia must be kept and the expansion process continued,” Ansip stated. According to him, the stability and development of the West-Balkans is important for Estonia, and the continuation of the Euro-Atlantic cooperation will definitely contribute to ensuring it.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Ansip also stressed the responsibility of accession countries towards the success of the expansion of these organisations. “In the meeting of European Union accession criteria, the commitment of the country itself and a well performed homework are the most important factors,” said Ansip, referring to the experience of Estonia in joining international organisations. According to him, a lot of work must be done for the accession, instead of hoping for any concessions by the European Union at the last minute. “The European Union does not make any concessions,” Ansip assured.

According to Ansip, the accession process of Croatia affects all other countries that are already moving towards the European Union or still dreaming about it. “The faster and smoother the accession of Croatia, which is at the front of the queue, the faster the accession of other existing and potential accession countries,” he added. Work with public opinion, both at home and among NATO and EU accession countries, is also important for justifying the Euro-Atlantic integration attempts of Croatia and identifying the plans for the future.

In addition, the potential termination of the OSCE mission in Croatia was discussed. Ansip gave assurance that, in Estonia’s opinion, the time is right to terminate the OSCE mission in Croatia. Estonia has previous experience in the termination of an OSCE mission, and is ready to share it.

Croatia received an invitation to join NATO at the Bucharest summit held in April 2008; Croatia wishes to conclude accession negotiations with the European Union at the end of 2009.