OSCE Permanent Council No. 613
EU-Statement Programme Review 2006 Mission to Croatia
- The EU warmly welcomes Head of the Mission Ambassador Jorge Fuentes and thanks him and his team for presenting a comprehensive 2006 Review measuring progress in Croatia since 2001.
- The EU greatly appreciates the progress achieved by Croatia in all mandate-related areas. We congratulate the OSCE Mission both for supporting this process and providing a significant contribution to it. We value the existing cooperation between the mission and the host country government.
- The European Union considers the newly developed “Platform” that brings together in one organized and structured system all stakeholders including government, the Mission and other international organizations, an effective tool of coordination in the field.
- We note with satisfaction that most of the chapters related to the broad process of democratization are close to being far enough advanced to allow the Mission to step back and leave completion to the national Government and other Croatian institutions. The European Union shares Ambassador Fuentes’ assessment that there has been a continual acceleration towards the completion of reforms, the establishment of legal and institutional frameworks and changes in the mindset and behavior of many segments of Croatian society. In particular we welcome the significant achievements in freedom of the media, police reform and civil society development. Against this background, we support the intention of the Mission to reflect this progress in the restructuring of the latter by the end of 2006.
- At the same time we share Ambassador Fuentes’ assessment that a few issues will take longer to resolve, namely those related to Return and Integration and Rule of Law. This requires additional efforts from the Croatian authorities. Within the return and Integration Programme we support the continued Mission’s activities in contributing to the implementation of the Sarajevo Process.
- We note with some concern what Ambassador Fuentes has said about the rule of law, especially with regards to corruption which is perceived as endemic to public services, including the judiciary. We call upon the Croatian government to swiftly implement the national anti-corruption programme for 2006-2008.
- The European Union reiterates its support for the Rule of Law Programme with a focus on the consolidation of fair trial guarantees and protection of human and minority rights. In this context, we stress the importance of the Mission’s role in developing domestic judicial capacity and the Mission’s preparations for monitoring war crime trials transferred from ICTY. Supporting and monitoring implementation of the Constitutional Law on National Minorities will remain an important task for the Mission.
- The European Union notes the continuing trend of reduction of the Mission’s activities, reflecting the positive developments in the country. The European Union believes that the progress achieved in mandate-related areas will justify further consolidation and focusing of the Mission’s activities with a view to completion of the Mission’s mandate.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
* The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process