Minister Picula met representatives of the County of Zagreb and the City of Ivanić-Grad...

On the occasion of celebrating the European week and the Day of Europe, Mr. Tonino Picula, the Croatian Foreign Minister, met representatives of the County of Zagreb and the City of Ivanić-Grad in Ivanić-Grad on 6 May 2003. In November 2002, the County of Zagreb jointed the Assembly of the European Regions and Minister Picula was informed by representatives of the County of the progress of projects financed by INTERREG and CARDS. He was also informed on the course of the implementation of the Agreement on Border Traffic and Cooperation between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia.

Minister Picula expressed his satisfaction that the County of Zagreb has a Department for European Integration which may apply for financing of projects important for its development and that it provides information to citizens on all issues related to the accession of Croatia into the EU.

During the talks with pupils from the secondary school “Ivan Švear” in Ivanić-Grad on the topic “Youth and Europe”, Minister Picula emphasised that the situation is currently much better than in 2000. At that time, there was only a wish to join the EU while now, we have a chance to become a real candidate should the European Commission issue a positive opinion based on replies that the Republic of Croatia will prepare for the Commission's questionnaire.

In replying to pupils' answers, the Croatian Foreign Minister emphasised that we are not to compare ourselves with countries that are not EU members, but with those to whom membership in the EU opened the access to funds for financing various projects and therefore alleviated many of their problems. By regional cooperation, the Republic of Croatia shall strengthen its position in SEE and become an equal partner and the full member of the EU, Minister Picula added.

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