Germany hails Croatia as example for strife-hit Balkans

10th August 2011, Comments 11 comments

Germany's foreign minister on Wednesday hailed Croatia's path into the European Union as an example for Balkan countries amid fresh tensions between EU hopefuls Serbia and Kosovo.

Guido Westerwelle said after talks in Dubrovnik with his Croatian counterpart Gordan Jandrokovic that Germany hoped all the countries of the former Yugoslavia would join the EU but that there would be no "shortcuts".

"Anyone can see with the example of Croatia: those who make an effort and live by European values, from the rule of law to economic discipline, will be welcomed into the European Union with open arms," he said.

"But it has to happen in that order. Each country must first fulfil its obligations. Croatia did not take shortcuts but rather, successfully achieved this historic goal by its own efforts, with hard work and great discipline and also with setbacks."

Asked what he would advise Serbia, Jandrokovic said Belgrade must "work on reforms that change society as well as the state."

"It must speak and act based on European values. That is what Croatia did," he said. "It was not always easy. We were at times very irritated with the European side. We will of course help our neighbours," he said.

"It is in our interest and the interest of the European Union for them to become EU members."

After wrapping up accession talks in June, Croatia is on course to become the EU's 28th member in mid-2013.

Both Serbia and Kosovo aim to join the bloc but violent clashes last month over a customs row led EU leaders to warn that the conflict must be put to rest before either side could progress toward accession.

The two sides started EU-brokered talks in March aimed at cooling friction and ending the day-to-day headaches faced by ordinary people after Belgrade's refusal to recognise Kosovo's unilateral breakaway in 2008.

The negotiations stalled amid the latest tensions but are due to resume in mid-September.

Westerwelle is to visit Kosovo Thursday at the end of a three-day Balkans tour for talks with prime minister Hashim Thaci and General Erhard Buehler, the German commander of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force.

© 2011 AFP

11 Comments To This Article

  • Miljenko posted:

    on 12th August 2011, 03:27:19 - Reply

    Unfortunately, we Serbs have been branded as militant aggressors, murders and rapists, criminals and thugs, you name it! People don't care about what happened in 70 years ago, especially when you compare it to what they see in their own lifetime and to attack Croatia's progress and Germany's support of Croatia as a Nazi alliance is just foolish. Should we ignore the fact that Germany has supported Serbian economic growth more than any other country, yes even more than Russia? Are we forgetting that Croatia is one of the biggest investors in Serbia today, employing thousands of Serbs? Is their success our sour grapes? Are we that petty that their success bothers us so much? I bought into the Milosevic garbage and I believed the crooked politicians that sold us lies under the guise of a greater Serbia and look where that got us. Even Nemanja Vidic and Novak Djokovic are telling the world that it's nice to read articles about Serbia not talking about war and the Hague but rather sports. It would be nice to believe that we have a bright future but when we as a nation focus on the evens of 70 years ago instead of those that happened 15 years ago, in our lifetimes and committed by people that are our contemporaries it's hard to believe. It's like saying my kid beat your kid up and I refuse to react because your grandfather beat up my grandfather. It's nonsense and it's crippling us as a nation. We should be looking inwards and making our own progress not diminishing the success of others!
  • Wim Roffel posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 11:04:48 - Reply

    In Kosovo there is not a conflict at the moment. There was a onesided violent action by the Albanians that has been rewarded by KFOR and Serbs are still hesitating to recognize that.

    @Dennis: Milosevic took no action to defend the Krajna. But we don't know why. Some high level US officials spoke wih the Serb leaders the day before Operation Storm started. We don't know what they said but it may well have been a threat not to interfere.
  • Thunderdome76 posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 10:27:53 - Reply

    see "hold on a minute" bc of people like You are- it wont be peace in Balkan.ever. Keep dealing your heroin to German kids and in a meantime do your comments, and when you back to Albania-buy some gifts for your nieces
  • hold on a minute posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 05:32:55 - Reply

    I thought the latest count of serbs killed or expelled is about a Billion, not counting innocent serbian penguins and seals in canda, and in all the serbian countries on this planet and in the milky way?

    Even in these (evidently upset pro-serb) posts, as usual from the serb camp, big numbers with lots of zeros are thrown around like lollies disguised as historical facts, as though a difference of half a milliion is nothing. That IS however quite consistent with the 'accuracy' of any serbian statement, and fabricated anti-croat history, combined with a collective serb amnesia which is an amazing feat on a whole national level. Serbs are arguably the only nation to which the term "folie
  • denis posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 02:49:04 - Reply

    I remind my Serb friends that the Krajina Serbs were expelled with the support of Slobodan Milosevic - quite shameful really for the Serbs.
  • mas posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 01:58:11 - Reply

    yes, remaining balkan countries....cleanse your country of minorities, glorify your facist history and the largest ethnic cleansing of the 90's balkan wars--earning you entry into the EU...nice stuff
  • JK posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 01:47:09 - Reply

    To Steve
  • JK posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 01:43:13 - Reply

    To Steve
  • Alexander posted:

    on 11th August 2011, 00:55:26 - Reply

    One must note that the Croatians expelled the majority of the Serbian population in the single largest ethnic cleansing act of all the wars in the Balkans with over 300,000 being displaced in a day . And has made no effort in trying to help refugees back into the homes they lived in for centuries and if anything has made it virtually impossible for them to return. And this was on top of the 700,000 Serbs butchered under the quisling Nazi Croats of WW2 which just highlights Europes double standards applied when it comes to Serbs and everyone else in the Balkans.

  • P posted:

    on 10th August 2011, 23:31:34 - Reply

    Yes, Croatia lives according to EU value by glorifying those who committed horrendous crimes against the Serbs in Croatia throughout entire 20Th century. Knowing that Germany helped them in their adventure, what would we expect this man to say.
  • Steve Stojanovic posted:

    on 10th August 2011, 21:57:57 - Reply

    Germany and Croatia old NAZI allies at it again. Did u forget that Croatia killed 1 million Serbs in WWII? Then they ethnically cleansed 500,000 Serbs from Krajina. Is that what good neighbours do Germany? Actually that's what Germans do too!!!