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EU president-elect praises Croatia as bloc’s ‘role model’

Posted at 6:19 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 09:19:57-04

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has praised Croatia as European Union’s “tremendous success story,” saying the bloc’s newest member state serves as a “role model” for many other countries.

Von der Leyen on Tuesday met with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. The former German defense minister who takes up her post in Brussels on Nov. 1 also has visited Berlin, Paris and Warsaw and travels next to Spain and Italy. Croatia had backed her candidacy to replace Jean-Claude Juncker.

Von der Leyen has hailed Croatia’s efforts to join the eurozone and the border-free Schengen area after becoming an EU member in 2013. The bid needs unanimous backing within the EU and von der Leyen says “I am at your side to proceed in that.”