State Secretary Metelko-Zgombić attends GAC

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State Secretary for Europe Andreja Metelko-Zgombić attended a meeting of the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, which focused on preparations for the next meeting of the European Council on 23-24 June.
At this European Council meeting, EU leaders will examine the applications of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to join the European Union and discuss the economic situation and the follow-up to the proposals made by the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Metelko-Zgombić underscored Croatia’s readiness to continue offering support and all forms of assistance to Ukraine. The imposed sanctions have to be respected, therefore Croatia expects of candidate countries to harmonize with them fully as well as with the EU values. Referring to the importance of opening a solidarity corridor with Ukraine amidst food supply disruption, she underlined the geostrategic potential of the port of Rijeka as an alternative route for the export of Ukrainian grain.
The state secretary expressed Croatia’s full support for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova’s EU membership applications. Their accession process has to be based on set procedures and principles of individual merit and implemented reforms, she stressed.
In that context, Metelko-Zgombić said that the EU has to keep in mind the six Western Balkan countries, some of which already are candidates, adding that Croatia advocated opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia as soon as possible, as well as visa liberalization with Kosovo.
She also reaffirmed Croatia’s strong support for granting candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, dependent on urgent amendments to the election law ahead of October polls.
In addition, ministers reflected on the idea of a “broader Europe”, to be discussed in detail at the upcoming European Council. They agreed that a discussion on the EU’s strategic relations with third countries was timely, given the new geopolitical circumstances and the war in Europe, but that one had to avoid giving the impression that this in any way represents an alternative to the enlargement process.
During the working lunch, ministers discussed the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe’s final report, based on the analysis carried out by the General Secretariat of the Council.
Under other business, the European Commission reported on the status of EU-UK relations. Conclusively, the French presidency reported on the progress of the Regulation on the Transparency and Targeting of Political Advertising.

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