Zagreb - GONG, a renowned non-partisan NGO intended to encourage citizens’ active participation in political processes, organized a round table conference in the Croatian Parliament on the steps to be taken before Croatia’s actual Accession to the European Union on 1 July 2013. The general conclusion of the many participants, most notable among them Mr. Paul Vandoren, Head of EU Delegation to Croatia, Mr. Boris Šprem, Speaker of the Parliament, and Mr. Berto Šalaj, President of GONG Council, boils down to the fact that the better Croatia prepares for the EU membership in the following year and a half, the more it shall benefit from it.
Mr. Šprem pointed out that EU membership had brought to the Member-States political and democratic stability and had given them an opportunity for stronger economic growth and higher standard. "The referendum is not the end of our journey. This is the time to get down to work in order to benefit from the European Union as much as we possibly can", said Mr. Šprem adding that the success of Croatia’s EU membership would be measured by educational and professional success of its every single citizen. In his opinion foreign investments should from now on be more focused on production.
Most participants agreed on the necessity of introducing education for active citizenship in schools. They think it essential to identify Croatia’s distinctive advantages, for instance tourism industry, particularly medical tourism, fishing industry and ecological agriculture. EU should not be seen as a threat but as an excellent opportunity and Croatia should make the best of it by drawing on the experience of the Member-States whose path to the European Union was similar to its own. (Internet Editorial Staff/HINA)