Leko: Croatia's EU accession helped "break the ice" for other SEE countries

Budapest - Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said in Budapest on Tuesday that by entering the European Union, Croatia helped "break the ice" for other Southeast European countries and that it felt special responsibility for further integration of the countries in the region with the EU.

- When it comes to the European Union and the countries of Southeast Europe, Croatia has in a way broken the ice ... and became the EU border towards its neighbours, Leko said at the 6th conference of Southeast European parliament speakers which is being held in the Hungarian Parliament. - This is another reason for us to invest even more efforts in creating a joint European future in our region, Leko said. - We are aware that Croatia's achievements go together with the obligation to cooperate with countries of our immediate and wider region in the process of adopting European standards. We also feel the need to give what we had been receiving for years - supports to all necessary reforms, Leko said in his speech to the participants in the conference which brought together top parliamentary officials from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo, and Hungary as the host.

The participants in the conference are discussing EU integration and the security policy cooperation in the Western Balkans. - Our membership showed that EU prospects is not only a political phrase but a reality which can be achieved by hard work and dedication. As a member of the bloc, we are proof that this is possible in this region, Leko said. - A far-reaching vision created by the European Union should be an inspiration to our cooperation in the region as well. There is not a single reason not to open Europe's southeast to these same principles of reciprocity on which regional cooperation among EU member states is based, Leko added.

The event hosted by Hungarian Parliament Speaker Laszlo Koever who congratulated Croatia on its EU membership. On the fringes of the conference, Leko is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings.

Author: Hina