Following Turkey’s move, Croatia’s president is also seeking a better deal with the bloc if Zagreb votes to invite the Nordic states.
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic plans to instruct Ambassador Mario Nobilo, the country’s permanent representative to NATO, to block Finland and Sweden from joining the decades-old military alliance, he said on Wednesday.
Refusing consent would draw the international community’s attention to the problems facing ethnic Croats in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milanovic told reporters. Under current electoral laws, Croatian representatives tend to be elected with the votes of Bosnian Muslims, also known as Bosnians. Zagreb is pushing to review this.
“I have said it before, the Croats in Bosnia are more important to me than the entire Russian-Finnish border.Milanović said.
Stockholm and Helsinki formally broke with their history of neutrality on May 15 and applied for NATO membership. However, the acceptance of new countries to the bloc requires the unanimous consent of all members.
Turkey was “showing how to fight for national interests,” Milanovic said, noting Ankara’s opposition to any deal admitting Sweden and Finland to NATO until they denounce “terrorists and their accomplices” associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Liberation Revolutionary Front (DHKP/C), among other concessions.
“Turkey will certainly not budge before it gets what it wants,” the Croatian president said.
Milanovic’s latest comments have put further strain on his already strained relationship with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s government, whom he has accused of failing to defend Croatian interests, local media outlet N1 reported.
Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman told state radio on Wednesday that Nobilo had already been told that “approve the application for membership of Finland and Sweden” y “He will be given power to sign a protocol that will follow in the coming days.”
The Croatian parliament is “Absolutely true” to ratify the deal, Grlic-Radman added.