New Croatian Government’s Foreign Policy – More “Carrot” Less “Stick”

MVEP Kovac & KitarovicLPJ Issue 168, 15 February 2016

On 8 February, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miro Kovac (HDZ), and German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, met in Berlin to discuss bilateral relations and the on-going migrant crisis. Kovac’s bilateral visits to Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H) and Hungary over the past few weeks, along with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Initiative, represents a shift in Croatia’s foreign policy towards more stable relations with neighbouring countries and creating better economic ties with their central European neighbours.

During his stay in Berlin, Kovac said Germany was a very important strategic partner, adding that Europe would have to conduct joint action to reduce the number of refugees and migrants. Steinmeier stated that the disintegration of Europe could not be an option for Europe-oriented countries such as Croatia and Germany.

FM Kovac has accused the previous government of worsening bilateral relations with neighbouring countries amid the migrant crisis, and that the incumbent centre-right government’s policy was headed towards cooperation, not confrontation. He started his round of visits with B-H on 29 January, where he met with his counterpart Igor Crnadak and members of the B-H Presidency. Kovac underlined that Croatia would continue to improve bilateral relations with B-H and support its aspirations toward becoming an EU member state…

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