Andrej Plenković

Predsjednik Vlade Republike Hrvatske i predsjednik Hrvatske demokratske zajednice
Zagreb | 6. 11. 2012.

Intervju za EuroparlTV

Croatian observers: "EP makes key contribution to make Europe a better place to live in"

Boasting an average of 2,600 hours of sunshine a year and a coastline in excess of 5,000 kilometres, Croatia is not only a popular holiday destination, but from July 2013 also the EU's newest member state. To help with the transition, 12 members of the Croatian parliament have been at the European Parliament as observers since 1 April 2012. We talked to EPP observer Andrej Plenković, who is president of the Croatian parliament’s delegation in the joint parliamentary committee.

What are your impressions so far?

The impressions are very positive. I believe that the 12 of us - members of the Croatian parliament - who have been sent here as observers have the privilege to understand from the inside how this important EU institution functions. I think that after six months we have acquired an essential knowledge of what the role of an MEP is and what political and institutional means are available to a member to be active and promote the interest of his country and the political party he represents. Also we are talking to our MEP colleagues and making sure that the Croatian Accession Treaty is ratified on time so that Croatia becomes the 28th member state on 1 July 2013.

Does the European Parliament operate very differently from the Croatian parliament?

It is very different. This is a far bigger parliament. We only have 151 deputies. Here there are so many political parties represented - apparently more than 200 - and assembled in different political groups. The EP is an assembly of trans-national democracy operating in a multilingual environment. Things are also very different in terms of legislative powers. It is also interesting to see how consensus is built among the political groups on key issues.

What is the most important issue for you?

I chose the budget committee as the committee to follow in a more detailed manner in this transitional phase because I thought it would give me the best insight into the key issues that are currently being debated in the European Parliament. There is of course the new proposal for the multiannual financial framework, which will have a long-term impact on the functioning of the EU and how it manages to financially back up its political priorities. It will affect how we will help increase growth and create jobs in member states .

How do you see the role of the European Parliament when it comes to the crisis?

MEPs are directly elected and fully understand the real economic situation in their member states. They know what the challenges currently facing the Union as a whole are. The economy is the number one issue and the pressure that the Parliament through its proposals puts on the Commission and the Council is a key contribution to make Europe a better place for citizens to live in.