Croatian Ambassador in Kosovo, Marija Kapetanović spoke about the opportunities and challenges for the Croatian Government since joining the EU on March 1, 2018. Her lecture had great significance for RIT-K’s students as the Government of Kosovo is implementing its Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU and preparing for its own candidacy for EU membership.
Ambassador Kapetanović discussed in detail all the steps required for full membership in the EU that lasted 12 years from the pre-conditions to full membership. She focused both on external and internal challenges that attend the process of EU accession. Major internal issues were reforms in public administration, judiciary and fighting corruption. Amongst the external challenges included establishing a mechanism to address past war crimes, undertaking negotiations with Turkey, and addressing outstanding issues, such as the delineation of the boundaries with neighboring Slovenia.
She described how preparing young people in Croatia was an essential element. Education in European Studies programs at universities and in exchanges with institutions in EU countries were an important element in strengthening a European culture in Croatia. As with Kosovo’s students who won scholarships to study in the U.S. and in EU Governments, Croatian students were obliged to return to Croatia and ‘give back’ via work in Croatia’s public and private institutions for two years. Such programs helped to both to provide needed skills to professionals and help to change attitudes towards the EU at home and abroad.
This lecture was part of a regular series given by senior officials from the Government of Kosovo and international institutions that build awareness in the RIT-K community and public in Kosovo prepared to meet contemporary challenges in development and public life.