Croatia again threatens to block Serbia's EU talks

Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac has once again stated that Croatia "could block Serbia in EU accession talks in chapter 23."

Source: Tanjug
(Thinkstock)
(Thinkstock)

According to Croatia's Hina agency, he said this would happen if Serbia started applying against Croatian war veterans its law regulating universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases.

The agency said Kovac made the statement after a closed-door meeting he and the country's minister for veteran affairs had with representatives of association of war veterans.

"On the road toward the EU Serbia will not be able to apply that law, and will have to cooperate also in finding the missing (persons) and their remains."

"As far as that is concerned, Serbia will have to exchange information with Croatia's state organs and enable access to the judiciary, that is, to justice, to the victims of war. The victims of war will have a right to compensation, while Serbia will have an obligation to respect and apply all decisions of the court in the Hague," Kovac has been quoted as saying.

When reporters asked whether Croatia "would prevent Serbia from raising indictments against Croatian citizens," Kovac said there was " a bilateral way - and it would be best to solve it in that manner."

"There is also a European framework, the rule of law is a fundamental principle of EU's functioning. It is now an obligation of Serbia not to apply that law of theirs to Croatia and that obligations has entered into the negotiating framework. If Serbia wants to make progress toward the EU, it will have to apply that and it will have to respect that criteria," he said.

Hina also reported that Kovac said "supervision would be carried out once every six months" to make sure Serbia was "fulfilling this obligation."

A week ago Croatia lifted its blockade, enabling Serbia to open chapters 23 and 24 in the country's EU accession negotiations, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel said to have played "a key role" in favor of this outcome.

According to reports late last week, EU's negotiating positions adopted subsequently "does not contain Croatia's demands."

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