“Your task is to fulfill the criteria for EU membership, but the key issue in this process and in the negotiation process is to upgrade the state institutions in the interest of the citizens. The benefits would be achieving the previous two, and ultimately, building a stable and prosperous country for all citizens”, stated Danijela Barisic, H.E Ambassador of Croatia, at the Conference “Macedonian perspectives: How to get to Europe?”, organized by CIVIL and MCIC.
Barisic shared the Croatian experience in the process of EU membership, and the challenges they faced, pointing to the changes in the legislation and Constitution, but primarily in the informing and familiarizing of the citizens with the benefits from joining the EU.
“During the entire information campaign we needed to explain to the citizens that we would not lose our identity and that we would not lose our language, and that it is actually the 24 official language of the EU. We needed to explain to them that foreign people were not going to buy our entire land, sea and similar, we were not going to return to another form of a new Yugoslavia, that we would still have our rakija (brandy), that prices would not rise to the sky and etc…. At the end, almost 67% were in favor of joining the EU”, stated Barisic.
The Croatian Ambassador also pointed out some advices to the Government and the Parliament in the negotiations process for EU and NATO membership.
“According to our experience when we were preparing the strategy for negotiations, it is necessary for all parts of society to be included in them, because it is not composed only of the Government, ministries or the Parliament, but everyone will join the EU…It is very important to establish a balance between the politicians and the experts…
We can say that so far we have managed to reduce the public debt, to increase our rating, to travel only with an ID card…
Maybe it’s just about the perception, whereas the Government and civil society need to be proactive in order to explain to the citizens the benefits of EU membership”, said Barisic.
“Perhaps many would ask what is the alternative for EU and NATO, but you must first see what your political position is. Having in consideration the circumstances, and based on the entire region and geopolitical situation of all those circumstances, it all indicates that EU and NATO are the only solution if you want to have benefits for your citizens, and if you want to have a stable and prosperous country”, concluded Barisic.
The Conference is part of the project “Free media for a free society”, which CIVIL is implementing with the support of the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Camera: Аtanas Petrovski
Editing: Мaja Ivanovska