EU accession

Pupovac: EU expansion eastwards suits Croatia

27.06.2011 u 14:00


The European Union's expansion eastwards suits Croatia, and Croatia and Serbia will not be mature European members until they solve the issue of mutual genocide suits, Serb People's Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac told Belgrade's Vecernje Novosti daily of Monday.

The Croatian Serb official said the suits were part of a past, war policy as well as of an arsenal used in political and media promotion that blocked peacetime processes.

Pupovac said it was unlikely the suits would be withdrawn in election year in both countries, but that Croatia and Serbia would not be mature EU members before they put "that burden behind them."

He said it suited Croatia that the EU's border should be moved eastwards as soon as possible and that both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina should be EU members.

"That's why I advocated more than once that Croatia and Serbia should sign a statement on a joint European prospect, not in the sense of a joint state but in the sense of a joint effort," Pupovac was quoted as saying.

Asked if the Hague war crimes tribunal's rulings contributed to reconciliation, he said they "create a stir" in the short term but that they were a prerequisite for reconciliation.

Speaking of relations between the Croatian and Serbian peoples, Pupovac said the people was not only a victims of war but also of state, promotional and other policies, and that the people was more willing to communicate than state-produced images and messages would indicate.

He said refugee return was not completed and that the institutional organisation of Serbs in Croatia was not completed either, adding that a solid basis had been created and that Serbs in Croatia were in the process of consolidation.

"Neither the state nor we have managed to develop instruments to be at the service of the people who are coming back, for them to start reviving their communities, agriculture, small enterprise, tourism... We have revived local self-government, but that's not enough."

Asked about the results of the latest population census and his estimate of the number of Serbs in Croatia, Pupovac said he did not have such data but that he expected more Serbs than in the last census.