Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

Croatia and Serbia sign pledge to cooperate

  • Croatia's Grabar-Kitarovic (l) and Serbia's Vucic symbolically met on a bridge on the Danube. (Photo: Croatian presidency)

Croatia and Serbia on Monday (20 June) signed a declaration on improving relations aimed at protecting their respective minorities and definitively define their common border.

The text is "the first step in the thawing relations between Croatia and Serbia," Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vucic said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"The agreement deals with essential, serious, strategic issues for Serbia and Croatia. We should try to talk more with each other, show greater respect for each other," he said.

Croation president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said the signature showed "a genuine willingness on both sides to move forward in resolving outstanding issues".

The signature was part of a day of symbolism to demonstrate good relations between the two former Yugoslav countries who each other fought in the 1990's. Until a few weeks ago, their relations were strained by Croatia's blocking of Serbia's EU accession talks.

Grabar-Kitarovic and Vucic first met on a bridge on the Danube. Then they visited the village of Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovic in Croatia and went to Serbia to sign the declaration.

Under the declaration, the two countries committed to actively initiate or accelerate processes aimed at enhancing bilateral protection of minorities - Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia.

The text also plans to start negotiations to define the border line between the two countries according to international law and to accelerate the implementation of a 2001 agreeement on life after Yugoslavia.

The two countries also commit to make effort to search for missing persons from the wars.

The impact of the declaration will however depend on the situation in both countries.

The Croatian government has just collapsed after infighting in the coalition and the parliament dissloved itself while Grabar-Kitarovic was meeting Vucic. Next elections could take place in September.

In Serbia, their is still no government after elections in April. Vucic said he would announce his cabinet in June but he has still not done it.

War crimes law poisons Serbia accession talks

Croatia wants its neighbour to scrap a law on universal juridiction in the former Yugoslavia. The request is delaying the opening of a new chapter of negotiations.

Croatia and Serbia in war of words

The 1990's wars are again straining relations between Croatia and Serbia amid reinterpretation on both sides of World War Two memories.

Analysis

Croatian election fuels regional tensions

Despite some conciliatory voices, Croatia's latest election has been overshadowed by nationalistic rhetoric, irking its neighbour, Serbia.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us