« European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised Croatia’s accession to the Eurozone and Schengen area during a press conference on Thursday in Split, labelling it a ‘European success story’ and affirming that the EU must now replicate the process with other candidate countries.
« It is very important to explain to our member states and to our citizens that in the new geostrategic environment, the enlargement merit-based will strengthen us and it is necessary and beneficial for us, » she said.
However, the EU Commission president stressed that accession to the bloc is a ‘merit-based process’ and that it requires simultaneously structural reforms in the candidate countries as well as a parallel track of reform on the side of the European Union.
During her remarks, von der Leyen stated that the Ukrainian conflict has proven that there is a strong need for Europe to adapt to a more dangerous and volatile geostrategic and geopolitical environment and declared that the EU’s support for Ukraine financially, with military equipment and humanitarian aid, has reached the amount of 81 billion euros.
She also said that clean technologies would be one of the main topics of discussion during her meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Chair of the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) Manfred Weber, who were also present during the press briefing, mentioning that the initiative reinforces the EU’s competitiveness and strengthens its sovereignty. »