Croatian President Stjepan Mesić stated in a speech in Munich on Wednesday that on its road to the European Union, Croatia would not give up on international law in dealing with border issues, warning that the support of Croatians for the country's EU membership had started to wane due to failure to solve the border dispute with Slovenia and that responsibility for that lay with the EU.
"I have to clear up a misconception right away. No matter how much we want to join the EU - because along with admission to NATO, which we have achieved, it is our key foreign policy goal, there is a price for entering the EU that we won't and can't pay. The price I am talking about is giving up principles by which we abide in international relations, or more precisely, giving up international law," President Mesić stated.
Croatian President visited Munich at the invitation of the German foundation "Herbert Qaundt", established by BMW almost 40 years ago to encourage communication and the exchange of experience and the know-how on the global level.
"We won't give that up and it would be good if this was understood as soon as possible by some in Europe, who I have to say are very few and who advise us to be generous and, if necessary, give up a part of our territory because, so they say, no one in Croatia would notice it."
President Mesić added that he was not advocating a policy of not giving up an inch of territory, but that he wanted a decision on the matter to be made exclusively by an international court through the application of international law.
"We will accept such a solution, regardless of what it may be like," Croatian President stated, reiterating that Croatia would insist on that principle.
"This is what our credibility stands or falls on. Whether and when Europe will understand that will determine the support of Croatians for the country's admission to the EU."
"I don't want to delude myself or anyone in Europe: it is a fact that the EU has so far proven completely unable to contribute in any way to bringing closer Croatia's and Slovenia's positions and to the settlement of our dispute, and this fact has already shaken the trust of our citizens in the EU."
President Mesić also stated that Croatia had adopted most of the EU's legislation, but warned that the enforcement of the new legislation and regulations was still problematic. Croatia is still encountering the consequences of corruption and organised crime in the process of reform of its judiciary and public administration, the President said.
"The fight against those two main evils of transition countries is encountering strong resistance and is limited, at least for the time being, to the arrest of direct perpetrators and in the best case, to calling to account middle-level perpetrators. I would like to believe that the government will muster the strength and demonstrate more vigour and tenacity in both areas," President Mesić emphasized.
Speaking of the situation in the economy, Croatian President stressed that the global crisis had proven to be "a catalyst for our failures".
"The impact of the global crisis has made those failures even bigger, more difficult and more visible. Now everyone is beginning to realise how wrong we were to finance spending with foreign loans and to accept an economic model in which commerce is given precedence over production," Croatian President said in the conclusion of his lecture.