Deputy Secretary William J. Burns today said the United States strongly support the new Croatian government and its efforts to undertake economic reform.
Croatia expects to form a new government to be led by the centre-left Social Democrats who stepped into office in Croatia following the December 4 elections, promising to leave the country out of recession via implementing strict fiscal rules.
On his visit to Zangreb in Croatia, Mr. Burns said Croatia has made remarkable progress in only two decades since independence, becoming our NATO ally in 2009, and standing now on the threshold of the EU.
“Having signed the EU Accession treaty, Croatia is positioned to serve as a role model in the region for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.” -Mr. Burns
Also on his visit to Croatia, Mr. Burns met Secretary Foreign Minister of Croatia Vesna Pusic.
He states that they had productive discussions and both leaders explored many common interests and how they might further strengthen their ties under the new government.
He cites that the purpose of his visit to the Western Balkans is to reaffirm the strong American commitment to strengthening bilateral relationships as well as to encourage further movement of the region along the path of Euro-Atlantic integration.
“The United States enjoys an exceptionally strong relationship with Croatia.” -Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns commends Croatia for making remarkable progress in only two decades since independence, becoming a NATO ally in 2009, and standing now on the threshold of the EU.
He offers his warmest congratulations to the Foreign Minister and to all the Croatian people on last month’s successful referendum on EU membership.
He cites that the United States highly values its partnership with Croatia in resolving outstanding issues in Southeastern Europe.
He reports that he had positive discussion with Foreign Minister Pusic about furthering the two countries’ cooperation in the region and beyond.
He urges Croatia to continue working with its neighbors to address bilateral and regional challenges such as refugees and related matters.
He also also expresses the U.S. appreciation for Croatia’s commitment to address the issue of restitution and to seek a measure of justice for victims of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Both countries also discussed top global challenges. Mr. Burns strongly welcomed Croatia’s important contributions to global security, particularly its participation in ISAF, KFOR, and UN peacekeeping activities around the world.
He notes that the United States recognizes that this is a challenging time economically for the Croatian people, as it is throughout Europe and in the United States as well.
“We especially believe that improvements to the business and investment climate could quickly stimulate growth and strengthen our bilateral economic relationship.” -Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns stresses that both countries are looking forward to working closely together with Croatia in encouraging its neighbors to move along the path of prosperity and democracy.
Croatia had applied for EU membership in 2003. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council in 2004.
Croatia is set to become the 28th member state of the European Union on 1 July 2013.