Andrej Plenković: Grant candidate status to Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina 

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Croatian PM Plenković called on the EU to be a champion of democratic standards in international relations. © European Union 2022  

During the “This is Europe” debate with Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, MEPs expressed support for Croatia’s adoption of the Euro and joining Schengen.

Prime Minister Plenković, during his address, said that Croatia secured its independence only 30 years ago and then quickly decided its future would lie with the EU eventually joining in 2013. He stressed that national strategic goals can best be achieved by pooling and sharing sovereignty with the principle of solidarity in the EU.

Mr Plenković said today’s challenges - the war against Ukraine, the surge in energy prices, and the food security crisis -must be tackled with the same resolve and creativity as the EU faced the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was planned at the moment of perceived Western weakness, he said, and has had devastating consequences for Ukraine. Mr Plenković expressed his desire for the European Council to grant Ukraine candidate status, as well as that of Moldova and Georgia, pending certain conditions. Croatia has wholeheartedly and continuously supported the 2015 bid by Bosnia and Herzegovina for EU candidate status.

Mr Plenković welcomed the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe,, highlighting in particular ideas around mixed competences on health issues. He was however more cautious about the introduction of majority voting on foreign policy issues.

You can watch his speech here.

Political group leaders

In their reaction to Mr Plenković’s speech, MEPs supported Croatia’s membership of the Eurozone as well as its joining the Schengen travel free zone. However they also called for a more efficient allocation of EU funds in the country, more work in the fight against corruption, and demanded the implementation of a high level of human rights standards at Croatia’s external borders.

You can watch political group speakers here.

You can watch the full debate here. This was the fourth in a series of debates on the EU labelled “This is Europe”, following Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in March, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in May, and Ireland’s Taoiseach, Micheál Martin in June.