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Good neighbours are the most important policy

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Croatia and the new political challenges  was the topic of H.E. Gordan Grlić Radman, ambassador of Croatia to Hungary who was the guest of honour at the Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika’s April edition.  

After completing his university studies, Gordan Grlić Radman first worked in Switzerland and later at the Unversity of Zagreb. After Zagreb, he worked again to Switzerland where in 1992 he began the establishment of the Croatian Consulate Network (in Bern, Genova and Zurich) at the request of the newly formed Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thereafter, he continued his career in Sofia at the Croatian Embassy there and, since 2012, he is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Croatia to Hungary.

The ambassador accentuated in his speech the importance of Hungarian-Croatian relations and added that the two countries helped each other even before 1992. He emphasised, that before joining the EU, the country had to face serious difficulties. When they became part of the EU in 2013, they sought to transfer their experiences to the ex-Yugoslavian member states, especially to Montenegro and Serbia. H.E. believes that the policy of a “good neighbour” is a key concept, because the abovementionned countries and Hungary have to face similar economical and various other challenges like Croatia does, thus they can support each other. An example of this cooperation was the migration crisis two years ago which, due to the complexity of the EU, generated different reactions among the population.

He highlighted the importance of the Hungarian-Croatian border opening which further strengthens the relation between the two countries with focus on tourism and culture as well. At the same time, he added that they will take major actions to significantly reduce waiting time at border crossings.

The facilitator of the roundtable discussion was Dr. János Bóka, Vice-Dean for Education at the Faculty of International and European Studies. The guests of the roundtable discussion were Dr. Edit Bencze, lecturer of the Kodolányi János College, whose main research area is the integration processes in the Western Balkans with special focus on the Croatian accession and Dr. János Hóvári, lecturer at NUPS, former ambassador to several countries and security policy expert. Dr. Bóka asked the guests to share their views on the accession of the Western-Balkans to the EU. Dr. Hóvári explained that we need to be open for new members and that upon their membership, a new union would emerge. He fully agrees with the idea of helping our neighbours. The experts discussed whether the migration crisis can destabilize the region and become a serious security threat to the surrounding countries in the area. However, according to the ex-ambassador the excellent Croatian border control system handled the challenge appropriately, and since the crisis is more serious in Greece, Greeks should take the Croatian system as an example to follow. He believes that the biggest problem of the EU is the lack of vision, which could be solved by working with a new management and by reconsidering existing issues.

The academic year’s last session of the Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika is going to be held on 10 May, where the participants can meet H.E. Ksenija Škrilec, ambassador of Slovenia to Hungary.