First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said in Rijeka on Thursday that Croatia would not obstruct Serbia's efforts in its European Union accession because Zagreb wanted to develop good relations with the neighbours.
He said Croatia also wanted the EU borders to be pushed eastwards, including the EU accession of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that in doing so the standards imposed by the EU must be met.
"Serbia must meet some of the standards imposed by the EU and which it should adopt through painstaking negotiations. Everything depends on Serbia," he told the press.
"Serbia can't play the role of a mini-Hague," he said, referring to the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, when asked if Chapter 23, on the judiciary and fundamental rights, could be the first hurdle in the Serbia-EU accession negotiations.
Asked to comment on assessments from abroad that Croatia was "moving towards fascistisation," Karamarko said that was "non-sense, untrue and ill-meaning."
Asked if poorer citizens had reason to fear that child's allowances would be reduced as part of reforms, he said the needy, including poorer citizens, would not be deprived in any segment. He said the government would move a set of stimulating measures to keep people in Croatia and increase the birth rate, including 1,000 euros for every newborn.