Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse of Tuesday that Croatia was in no hurry to join the eurozone, Croatian news agency Hina reports.
When asked by the interviewer if a possible financial crisis in neighbouring EU member Slovenia could affect Croatia, Pusic said that some countries had not prepared themselves well for the euro and that Croatia would not be one of them because it was in no hurry to join the eurozone. She said she was afraid that a possible crisis in Slovenia might have a negative impact on the number of Slovenian tourists visiting Croatia as well as on Croatian investments in Slovenia and on bank deposits.
Asked about possible caution on the part of Brussels towards new EU members, Pusic said that it was not just new EU members that were having financial problems, noting that the prospect of EU membership had stabilised Croatia.
In that context, Pusic stressed the need for the EU integration of all countries in Southeast Europe and said she was encouraged by a statement by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic who, after initially causing concern, made it clear that Serbia intended to join the bloc.
Pusic said that instability in the neighbourhood always brings a risk. She said that differences with Serbia, after Nikolic said that Vukovar had been a Serb town, had not been resolved and that Croatia now wanted to pursue dialogue with Serbia in small steps, adding that the two countries’ foreign ministers should identify the problems first. She said that good preparations should be made before the presidents of the two countries met.
Asked about the role of nationalism in political processes in Croatia and its neighborhood, Pusic said that nationalism had been used in power struggles that led to the wars of the 1990s.
“Nationalism is potentially always present. It can happen always and in any country and is lethal,” she said.
On the question, if she really believed that nationalism was always a demonic force, Pusic said that there had also been positive experiences with nationalism, citing anti-colonial movements.