Zagreb - Croatia has made huge progress in complying with its obligations towards the Council of Europe (CoE) but has still not ratified two conventions and this should now be a priority, CoE Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur said after talks with Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko on Thursday.
Croatia has made huge progress in honouring its obligations towards the CoE but democracy is a lasting process and Croatia needs to ratify the revised Social Charter and the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, Brasseur told reporters.
We agreed that this should now be a priority. Your country signed them but hasn't ratified them. Everything should be done to ratify them, she said.
"We agreed that there is a need to step up the ratification process and I see no reason why we haven't ratified both conventions," Leko said. Since the two documents require amending a series of laws, Brasseur suggested that parliament and the government set up a coordinating body to draw up the necessary amendments so that they can be ratified.
The two officials underlined the need to constantly work on the development of democracy, human rights and freedoms, and on the fight against corruption, all forms of violence and hate speech.
"We will continue to build institutions and democratic standards, adopting further recommendations from the Council of Europe and bodies such as the Venice Commission," Leko said, adding that the CoE's assistance to Croatia in the building of a democratic state and society was immeasurable. He said Croatia was interested in peace and stability, a democratic and peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict, and the prospect of European Union membership for all Southeast European countries.
Brasseur, on an official visit to Croatia, will also visit Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina because, she said, Southeast Europe is important. She highlighted Croatia's role in the region. Croatia is an example for other Southeast European countries, but this also gives you a special responsibility, she said.
Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, she said a solution could be found only through dialogue and parliamentary democracy, and that violence could never be the solution there.