June 13, 2023 From Media

Picula: Many countries knocking on EU door do not have what Croatia had

Tonino Picula, Croatian member of the European Parliament, was a guest on N1 television's Novi Dan. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Croatia's membership in the European Union on July 13, Picula spoke about the results achieved by Croatia as a member state.

When asked whether we have successfully used the benefits of the EU in this decade, Picula says: "There is no doubt that Croatia is a unique case. We were the first to apply for membership in the 21st century. Our journey lasted 10 years. In the 10 years it took us to become a member, we successfully transformed ourselves in many areas. We have taken advantage of numerous opportunities in these 10 years. Some things were a bit slow like the withdrawal mechanism. Did we manage to withdraw in addition to funds and European value? - Many say that we are not successful here. The crisis in the judiciary, health care, education, maybe they say that we have yet to expect a bigger step forward from Croatia and the use of membership".

"When we entered the EU, we were at 61% of the development of the EU, now we are somewhere at 73%. It should be noted here that some others have made much better use of EU membership, such as Romania and some other countries. Nevertheless, membership is historically important for us," the representative points out.

He stressed that 2033 will coincide with the 20th anniversary of Croatia's entry into the EU, as well as Croatia's new presidency of the EU Council. Picula believes that by then Croatia will develop a lot through membership.

When it comes to the question of the merits of Croatian governments for progress on the European path, Picula says that it is a supra-party project. "The consensus about the importance of joining the EU is the reason why it was possible. Croatia did not have an easy path. I like to say that our way to Brussels led through The Hague".

"Unfortunately, I see in many countries that are knocking on the door of the EU the absence of that consensus, that alliance for Europe that Prime Minister Ivica Račan and Ivo Sanader agreed on at the time. This is the mechanism that made it possible to form a single structure that succeeded in negotiating with the EU, regardless of our political differences. At the end of the day, membership itself is not a race with someone else, it is a race with ourselves - how successful we will be in this transformation", concluded Picula.

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