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Ivo Sanader

necessary to make it understood among decision makers in the EU and its Member States. The EPP played a central role in explaining at all EU levels that Croatia is working as an agent of stability in South-East Europe—which furthers the EU’s own interests—and that it therefore deserves the Union’s support. To get this message across, the EPP opened all its channels within the EU, proving itself once again to be an influential transnational party. On the level of the European Parliament, meetings with the EPP-ED group were successfully organised, as were meetings with relevant representatives from other parliamentary groups and with the European Parliament Foreign Affaires Committee. As a consequence, Croatian representatives were able to explain the country’s EU approach and its effect on the region. The EPP leadership, as well as reputable EPP member parties such as the CDU and the CSU of Germany, the ÖVP of Austria, the SDKU of Slovakia, Nea Democratia of Greece, the SDS of Slovenia, the CSV of Luxemburg, Fidesz of Hungary, the ODS of the Czech Republic, etc., used their influence to enlighten their friends and partners in the EU with regard to the state of affairs in South-East Europe. On the level of the Committee of the Regions, the EPP also undertook many activities which broadened the knowledge of Croatia and SouthEast Europe among EU Member States. In this context the conference which the EPP and the Committee of the Regions organised in Dubrovnik in June 2005 also contributed significantly to the understanding of how compatible Croatia and traditional EU members are. Furthermore, the EPP Statutory Summits— which regularly take place before the European Council meetings and bring together all the EPP party presidents and EPP heads of governments from various European countries—played an extraordinarily relevant role. As the president of the HDZ and Prime Minister of Croatia, I

had many opportunities to participate in these Statutory Summits and to gain the support of EPP Prime Ministers for relevant European Council decisions, which had to be taken with regard to the EU perspective on Croatia and South-East Europe. In this context it is important to mention that in September 2005, on the initiative of EPP President Wilfried Martens, a letter from nine EU Prime Ministers was sent to British Prime Minister and President of the European Council Tony Blair asking for the opening of accession negotiations with Croatia. Now that Croatia is successfully negotiating EU accession, and given that each SouthEast European country—once it fulfils the Copenhagen and other criteria—has a clear prospect of joining the EU, we can draw the conclusion that the work done by the EPP has been of historic importance for the overall positioning of Croatia in the EU perspective and for keeping South-East Europe on the same track. These EPP activities are representative of a multitude of undertakings through which the EPP has shown on various transnational levels that it works as a truly European party, bringing together the different parts of Europe, and always having in mind the interests of the continent it is working for. Addressing the great questions of contemporary Europe with self-confidence Now that liberty, democracy and national selfdetermination have been achieved in nearly all Central and South-East European countries, the focus is on seizing the historic chance for all Europeans to enjoy freedom and to jointly build a common European future. There is no doubt that the idea or the dream of a unified Europe, a Europe of freedom, peace, tolerance and human solidarity, was greatly inspired by centre-right and Christian Democrat

Volume 3 - Spring 2006

139

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

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