EU ZMK's Diary

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The joint V4+Croatia Foreign Ministers Declaration has three important political messages: the declaration marks the growing political importance of the V4 countries (1), it is a window of opportunity for the European Integration of the Balkan countries (2) and finally, it is another visible result of a Hungarian pro-Croatian foreign policy (3).

Firstly, with the Budapest Declaration, the V4 countries expressed their political interest in the Balkan region and this message meant to be heard by the “old Europe” which had had some political interest here in the past. Just remember such old fashioned policies as ‘cordon sanitaire’ or ‘Drang nach Osten’. Due to geopolitical reasons, the Balkan is a natural area of interest for the Visegrád block and this declaration is a step to that direction but further action is needed to turn this good intention into political reality.

Secondly, this important political position is a promising sign for both Croatia and the remaining former Yugoslav countries outside the EU. As regards Croatia, such move can put a future Croatian V4 membership on the V4 political agenda. Concerning the remaining former Yugoslav successor states, an enhanced V4-Croatia co-operation could be the Trojan horse for their EU membership.

Thirdly, the historical Croatian-Hungarian tandem played an important role to make that Declaration happen: both Croatia and Hungary have been belonged to the same state for 800 years. On the very last days of the Hungarian EU presidency in 2011, the final political decision has been taken about the Croatian EU membership. Now, as Hungary takes up again presidential responsibility, the question emerges: can it repeat the same success? Will the Hungarian V4 presidency be enough to keep the political momentum and propose Croatia as the next V5 member?

(This blog entry has been published in the Euro Atlantic quarterly International affairs, security and defense 3/2013 issue )

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