EPP Group Bureau meeting in Dubrovnik

11.04.2013 - 09:30
- 12.04.2013 - 12:30
Last Updated: 07.04.2014 - 01:16
Dubrovnik, Croatia

The EPP Group Bureau is coming to Dubrovnik to mark the conclusion of Croatia's accession to the European Union. Croatia will become an EU Member State on 1 July 2013. The EPP Group has consistently supported Croatia on its European path particularly since the start of EU accession negotiations in 2005.  Croatian Governments led by HDZ, Member of the European People's Party, conducted the entire process of accession negotiations ending them with success in June 2011. Joseph Daul MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group and Tomislav Karamarko, President of the HDZ, will address the participants. The meeting will also be attended by European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding and Commissioner Jan Lewandowski.

Event Timetable
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Chaired by
Joseph DAUL, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament
Keynote address
Tomislav Karamarko, President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
Dubravka Šuica, Vice-Chairwoman of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Chairwoman of the HDZ Foreign Affairs Committee
Andrej PLENKOVIĆ, Chairman of the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee in the Croatian Parliament, Croatian Observer in the European Parliament
Davor STIER, International Secretary of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Member of the Croatian Parliament, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee in the Croatian Parliament
Paul Vandoren, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Croatia
Debate opened by
, Croatian Observer in the EPP Group in the European Parliament
Gunnar HÖKMARK, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for neighbourhood policy and EURONEST, Chairman of the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee in the European Parliament
Official Conclusions


The EPP Group has consistently supported Croatia on its European path since the start of EU accession negotiations in 2005 and welcomes Croatia's accession to the EU as its 28th Member State on 1 July 2013. Croatia kept up the pace of reforms required and completed the ten priority actions identified by the European Commission, showing the will and ability to fulfil all outstanding commitments related to the acquis communautaire in good time before accession. The EPP Group welcomes the efforts shown by the Croatian government, led by HDZ, member of the European People's Party, who conducted the entire process of accession negotiations, and it is confident that all Member States will ratify the Accession Treaty they signed on 9 December 2011, in time for Croatia to join the EU on 1 July 2013.

On 14 April 2013, twelve Croatian Members of the European Parliament will be elected. The EPP Group has already involved Croatian observers in all its work in the European Parliament and is looking forward to welcoming future Croatian Members amongst its ranks, to contribute to the process of shaping EU policies for ensuring prosperity and jobs for future generations. The EPP Group also advocates building up road and bridge infrastructure in Croatia, based on relevant European Commission assessments, aimed at ensuring territorial connectivity and regional development.

Croatia worked hard and the results it has achieved directly benefit its citizens. This is proof of the credibility of EU enlargement policy, arguably one of the most successful policies of the Union: when a candidate country delivers on its commitments to fulfilling accession criteria, the EU delivers on its membership perspectives. EU membership is an additional incentive to continue with reforms and the EPP Group believes that Croatia's success story is also a good example for the rest of the region to follow, as it moves closer to the EU.


The EPP Group strongly believes that the future of Europe’s peoples and nations is in forming a community based on responsibility and solidarity, united in a social market economy.

The EPP Group wants to achieve sustainable growth in order to provide the next generation with jobs instead of debt. Therefore we need to continue structural reforms in the Member States to enhance their competitiveness and further build on the first positive signs of recovery in several EU countries. We need a fully operational internal market including a better functioning and transparent financial market.

EU investments must be clearly targeted and concentrate on projects that deliver competitiveness and support major goals for the Europe of the future. A coherent European budgetary policy means coherence between the different EU policies and between the EU budget and national budgets.

1) Relaunching the competitiveness of the EU's economy

Exploiting the Single Market's potential

Entering the EU will make it possible for Croatian consumers to access a market with more consumer rights (air passenger rights, for example) and more products of higher quality and for a reduced price (eg. roaming). Croatian companies mostly export within the EU. After July this year, it will become even easier for businesses to trade across borders. The Single Market is the backbone of the EU and its good functioning is the basis and framework for economic recovery in Europe. In order to achieve this aim, the EPP Group urges several concrete measures:

The EPP Group calls for strong Single Market governance. The European Commission has to ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of all agreed rules in the EU Member States by making determined use of all its competences in this field. In this respect, the EPP Group reiterates the commitments it made in its Bucharest resolution:

  • European Institutions should agree on a binding calendar for enforcing Single Market legislation, abolishing obstacles to the free circulation of goods, services, persons and capital within the framework of the Social Market Economy;
  • Following the inclusion of the Single Market in the European Semester, the EPP Group wants to ensure that the annual reports on the State of Single Market Integration become a key landmark for Member States when planning their reform agendas;
  • The Commission's forthcoming strategic initiative on the Digital Single Market should be strongly supported in order to give a real push to deploying the great potential of the digital economy (cloud computing, app economy, digital content) in Europe. This initiative should take the form of a Single Market Act III and aim at setting out an ambitious long-term vision of the future of the Digital Single Market as a motor for growth and jobs;

Strengthening research and development - Horizon 2020

Investing in Research and Development (R&D) and Innovation is a major focus for the EPP Group and a key aspect of our strategy for growth and jobs. From our perspective, Europe has the possibility to position itself at the cutting edge of science and technology. In order to achieve that goal, the EPP Group is committed to championing Horizon 2020 as the primary tool for this strategy. The 'Horizon 2020 package' will indeed set EU priorities in R&D and Innovation for the rest of the decade.

The package brings together for the first time all existing EU research and innovation funding and will run from 2014 to 2020. The EPP Group successfully defended its priorities in Parliament to ensure the programme brings simplification for all applicants (universities, research centres, industry and SMEs) looking to benefit from it and a common strategic framework for funding excellent research and innovation, while developing incentives to improve industry participation, with particular emphasis on SMEs.

Supporting the SMEs (Entrepreneurship 2020 action plan)

Croatian SMEs have high expectations from EU accession. Promoting entrepreneurship and the right framework conditions for SME competitiveness are core concerns of the EPP Group in achieving their commitment to boost growth in Europe.

The EPP Group is convinced that EU-level action can provide an important contribution by facilitating access to markets for products and services offered by SMEs. In this context the reduction of red tape and administrative or regulatory burdens are a key objective. The systematic application of SME tests at EU and national level should become standard.

The EPP Group welcomes the recent Entrepreneurship Action Plan presented by the Commission and considers the proposed initiatives to boost entrepreneurial education as its key element. Entrepreneurship has to be better embedded in national school curricula as well as in university and adult education. Best practice exchanges and use of Structural Funds for regional or local initiatives in that sector should be developed.

2) Speeding up investments in the European Union

EU’s budgetary contribution to sustainable growth and jobs

Europe needs both fiscal consolidation and investment.

The Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 should be flexible and reactive, to ensure sufficient resources for new political priorities.

This budgetary flexibility has to include transfers between headings, as well as from one year to another. Unspent margins and appropriations should remain available for funding projects, where necessary, especially to achieve the objectives of the EU Horizon 2020 initiative.

Cohesion policy is the most tangible demonstration of solidarity, one of the EU's main values. It is a driving force for economic recovery and growth. Cohesion policy plays an important role in reducing gaps between regions and connecting them to the Single Market. It is an investment and development policy for EU regions.

Having the clear objective of "investment for growth and jobs", cohesion policy represents a solid instrument for delivering competitiveness and achieving higher sustainable growth rates. Cohesion policy has to contribute in a concrete way to the Europe 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Developing transport and tourism

A modern transport system is a basic condition for developing tourism. The EPP Group supports a strong European budget so that investment in new infrastructure (motorways, bridges, railroads, Danube strategy) is possible.

The EPP Group proposes to strengthen the tourism sector as an important area for growth and economic recovery in Europe. In Croatia, this sector represents 9% of GDP, one of the highest rates in the EU. The EPP Group supports the European Commission in its efforts and initiatives to promote the European tourism sector, namely by developing a comprehensive tourism strategy from 2014. It is also essential that all Member States support an EU tourism strategy and work together for the common good.

In the opinion of the EPP Group, as most of the businesses in this sector are SMEs and self-employed entrepreneurs, special targeted support should be provided. Such support would encompass micro-loans and additional access to financing from EU funds, a special ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) platform designed for SMEs as well training and learning opportunities for new and existing entrepreneurs in the tourism sector.

The EPP Group believes that everyone should have equal opportunities to enjoy tourism, therefore much emphasis is also being put on accessible tourism to give people with disabilities and reduced mobility the same opportunities to travel in the EU as other people enjoy.


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