A Europe that develops, connects and protects and is influential on the global scene are the four pivotal areas of Croatia’s presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a news conference in Zagreb, outlining elements of those priorities.
In the first six months of 2020 Croatia will be “at the helm of the joint project of further building a strong Europe in the world full of challenges.”
A growing and developing Europe, a Europe that connects economically, energy-wise and infrastructure-wise, a Europe that protects and is influential on the global scene, are the four pivotal areas of our presidency, the Croatian premier told the conference.
The European Union is the second biggest economy and makes up a fifth of the global GDP, he recalled.
However, in the current time of great technological, geopolitical and demographic changes, the EU economy and labor market are faced with ever-growing competition, primarily from the USA and China, he said.
The response to that is a stronger Europe that grows and develops in a balanced and integrative way, he said.
“Achieving that requires making our single market deeper, encouraging business digitization and making investments in innovations and research so as to boost our competitiveness.”
It is also necessary to reduce development gaps among EU member states so that all of them can become economically stronger, Plenkovic said.
He said that it was also necessary to work on economic development which is ecologically more viable so as to ensure successful transition to a low-carbon and circular economy.
Connectivity and protection
Making use of the full potential of infrastructure and human resources depends on the connectivity and networking of the economies.
Therefore we need a Europe that connects, Plenkovic said, adding that differences inside the EU in transport infrastructure, energy networks, telecommunications and digital networks affect the EU’s competitiveness.
Citizens’ security top priority
We are for a Europe that protects its citizens while respecting and protecting the rule of law, Plenkovic said.
During its chairmanship, Croatia will pay special attention to the internal security and promote closer cooperation of member-states in the fight against organized crime, money laundering and financing of terrorism, the PM said.
He called for the implementation of a viable migration policy that includes the protection of the EU’s external border.
Responding to challenges through unity
Speaking of the EU and its global impact, Plenkovic said that Croatia and other EU members could best deal with the challenges of the 21st century through European unity.
“The EU can strengthen its role as a global stakeholder only by further developing capabilities and instruments for joint action in dealing with challenges such as terrorism, trade wars or migrations,” said Plenkovic.
Europe must have a leader role in its neighborhood and the rest of the world, he stressed.
“We want the Union to keep its position of a leading international factor, notably as regards leadership in the fight against climate change, promotion of efficient global governance, human rights protection and the strengthening of the multilateral trade framework,” said the PM.
He also underlined the EU’s responsibility towards Southeast European countries, saying that during its presidency Croatia would advocate the EU membership prospects of countries in the region and an efficient enlargement policy, recalling that next May Zagreb would host a summit of the EU and Western Balkan countries.
Logo EU2020HR / hr2020eu
Slogan of the presidency is:
Snažna Evropa u svijetu punom izazova
A strong Europe in a world of challenges
Une Europe forte dans un monde de défis
Ein starkes Europa in einer Welt voller Herausforderungen
🇭🇷 unveiled its logo, visual identity and slogan for the upcoming #EU2020HR. We will work on creating “A strong Europe in a world of challenges”! Our priorities:
🔴 a Europe that grows
🔵 a Europe that connects
🔴 a Europe that protects
🔵 an influential Europe pic.twitter.com/s59dkONRH2
— Croatia in the EU (@croatia_eu) October 30, 2019