Adelphi University hosted Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, the Representative of Croatia to the United Nations.

Report from Mahnoor Misbah;
Political Science Major, Senior

ambassador-at-adelphiOn March 12, 2014, Adelphi University hosted Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, the Permanent Representative of Croatia to the United Nations. The event was part of The Ambassador Lecture Series, which is designed to bring UN ambassadors and other international experts to the university, in order to give students insight into the inner workings of political institutions. The lecture was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the International Leadership Coordinating Committee, and attracted many students and faculty who are interested in global affairs.

The focus of Mr. Drobnjak’s talk was the European Union, and specifically the implications of EU enlarge-ment. He started with a brief overview of the EU, explaining some of the steps a country must take in order to join, such as applying and going through almost a decade of negotiations. During these negotiations, the candidate state must show to the EU that it is economically, politically, and socially aligned with the EU and its goals. The process is rigorous, but as Mr. Drobnjak was quick to point out, the advantages are worth the effort. He outlined some of these advantages, on the national, regional, and global level. First off, on the na-tional level, being part of the EU puts you on equal footing in a more advanced environment, which allows you to better compete. Regionally, joining the EU impacts neighbor states and increases their incentives to join. This can set off a chain reaction of change, because states have increased incentives to better improve their national conditions in order to be considered for EU membership. Lastly, in terms of global impacts, the EU, according to Drobnjak has grown into a global “force to be reckoned with.” In terms of powerful actors in the international sphere, the EU exerts great influence in the international community, serving as a crucial player.

Naturally, when talking about the influence of the EU, the conversation drifted to the events happening in Ukraine. There was a lot of curiosity within the audience about where the EU stood in regards to the situa-tion. Here, the ambassador said he had to be very careful with his words, but was certain in declaring that the Charter of the UN had been violated, and that a de-escalation of the crisis in Crimea and Ukraine was necessary. The talk was held several days before Russia went ahead and annexed Crimea, so it is clear that the ambassador’s and more broadly speaking, the EU’s wishes have been violated. As the conflict continues, and Russia continues to exert undue power, while it is threatened with sanctions, it seems evident that de-escalation is exactly what is needed in this entire situation.

The future of the EU will likely see more integration, according to Drobnjak, as more and more countries wish to be included. However, Drobnjak stated that this structure would be difficult to implement in other regions around the world. One fact was clear: the EU is incredibly influential and many other regions would like to emulate it.

This piece appeared in the Political Science Newsletter Spring 2014 edition.

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