EPP Leader Congratulates Croatia on Imminent Euro, Schengen Entry

By 12 June 2022
EPP Leader Congratulates Croatia on Imminent Euro, Schengen Entry
Photo: Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL

ZAGREB, 11 June, 2022 - Addressing an HDZ election convention in Zagreb on Saturday, the new president of the European People's Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, congratulated Croatia on its imminent entry to the euro area and the Schengen area, noting that the Western Balkans should be offered a clear prospect of EU membership.

Weber, who on 1 June replaced Donald Tusk as EPP leader, said that his Zagreb visit was his first visit to a foreign country in his capacity as EPP president, and that by doing so he wanted to honour Croatia and its Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for having done a great job.

Croatia will soon join the euro area and the Schengen area, Weber said, noting that Plenković deserved credit for that.

Speaking of the European journey of the Western Balkans, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina, Weber said the region should be given a clear prospect of EU membership.

A clear timeline is needed, concrete steps need to be made so that Western Balkan countries feel welcome in the EU, he said, stressing that the EU needs to implement reforms to make Europe ready to respond to the current challenges.

It cannot happen that one man, for example, Viktor Orban, blocks the entire EU when it wants to introduce sanctions. A Europe that cannot decide on the common foreign policy will be weak. Europe must speak with one strong voice, he said.

The EPP leader also condemned what he described as a brutal, illegal and unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine, stressing that it was an attack on freedom and democracy.

Europeans should work together on defence and security, he said, welcoming in that context the announcement by Sweden and Finland that they will join NATO.

Europe has been attacked. The European way of life is at stake. The current times are serious and now is the time to fight for European values, Weber said, noting that Europe needs real centre-right policies.