The second annual conference of Croatian ambassadors, themed “Croatia’s Foreign Policy and EU membership: New Priorities, Projects and Challenges” has just ended in the capital Zagreb…
The speakers during the two day gathering, apart from First Deputy Foreign Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusić, included President Ivo Josipović, Prime Minister Zoran Milanović and European Commissioner for Consumer Policy Neven Mimica. The ambassadors also had the opportunity to hear experiences of foreign diplomacy and how their economic diplomacy works, as well as meet with President of the Croatian Exporters Association Darinko Bago.
Pusić said that Croatia would continue its active policy in the region the following year by supporting the Euro-Atlantic processes as well as through technical support instruments, twinning and training run by the Centre of Excellence with its seminars, workshops, consultations, study visits and internships aimed at strengthening civil servant capacities in regard to Euro-Atlantic integration, which so far have seen more than 1000 attendees. “Croatia wants to see all countries in the region undergo reforms and transformation so that they could apply for the EU membership, as it means stability and security, which is in Croatia’s direct interest, said the minister. As a full-fledged member, Croatia takes active part in creating the policies of the EU, which has recognized our constrictive approach to solving outstanding issues with the neighbours, she said.
“The recovery of Croatia’s economy is a national priority, while the economic diplomacy system we have set up builds on the quality economic policy, good business environment and competitiveness of our exporters,” Pusić said, adding that by organizing the first Croatia Forum on “Europe’s Energy Security” Croatia had been placed on Europe’s energy map. She pointed out the choice of TAP as a supply line for Caspian oil, as well as the construction of LPG terminals and gas and oil research.
“We advocate the strengthening of civil engagement and the linking of civil and military missions, notably in post-conflict countries,” Pusić said, adding that Croatia currently had 16 civilian experts in international missions. For the first time within the UN Croatia has initiated and as co-chair of the Peacebuilding Commission co-organized a ministerial meeting on “Economic Empowerment of Women in Peacebuilding” as part of the 68th General Assembly. We are also taking part in the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative launched by British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Pusić pointed out that the Centre of Excellence, apart from countries in the region, was also active and preparing projects in countries of the Southern Mediterranean (Tunisia) and Eastern partnership (Moldova, Georgia).
Croatia is also active in the area of development cooperation, on projects in Palestine (medical rehabilitation of children, reconciliation), Tunisia (tourism), Morocco (public health), Myanmar (preventing sexual violence in conflicts) and Angola (psychotherapeutic help).
Pusić announced a specialist diplomatic course which should open next year and the Croatia House project which should launch in early-2014, while the Adriatic Provence project has been applied for European funding. The first conference of ambassadors held in March last year saw the presentation of Croatia’s foreign policy priorities: positioning within the EU institutions, position in the region, cooperation with NATO partners (notably the US), multilateral cooperation, bilateral cooperation, economic diplomacy and special projects. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)