Plenković and Johnson Want to Strengthen Relations

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 25, 2020 – Croatia and Great Britain wish to continue strengthening mutual relations and to increase trade as well as strengthen cooperation in the area of security and defence, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London on Monday.

“We agreed to continue strengthening relations in the economic sense, to increase the volume of trade and cooperation in the field of culture, and to strengthen cooperation in the area of defence and security because we continue to be partners and allies within NATO,” Plenković told reporters in London.

This was the first meeting between the two prime ministers since Great Britain exited the European Union on January 31.

Plenković invited Johnson to visit Croatia and he “who accepted the invitation with pleasure and now we just need to define a time.”

In addition to bilateral relations, the two prime ministers discussed future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom.

Plenković said that during Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, a mandate for negotiations will be determined and that the EU’s main negotiator will be Michel Barnier.

“Croatia’s position is very clear. We wish the continuation of contractual, regulated relations, from the economy and trade to the foreign policy, security and defence,” said Plenković.

“It would be good that, in that way, we secure predictability for enterprises and for citizens’ rights. We are prepared for all scenarios, even if an agreement on contractual relations is not reached. As far as trade relations are concerned, they would be conducted based on the World Trade Organisation’s rules, and as far as citizens’ rights are concerned, we have adopted the relevant laws that regulate the status of a little more than 650 British citizens in Croatia, and we are also taking account of the ten thousand of our citizens who live in the United Kingdom,” added Plenković.

Before meeting with Prime Minister Johnson, Plenković attended a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development investment summit for the Western Balkans.

“It is very important for the Croatian public to recognise that we have put our southeast neighbourhood high on the agenda of EU institutions,” Plenković said, noting that now several member states are organising meetings with representatives of the six Western Balkan countries that will be held ahead of the Zagreb Summit in May.

“At the Zagreb summit we wish to adopt a new political narrative on the enlargement policy and the European prospects of our neighbouring countries for the next decade. Then for the European Commission to prepare an investment package that will enable economic development in those countries so we can see how they can be included in the Green Deal policy proposed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. We also want those meetings to become regular after the Zagreb Summit, about every second year and not 15 years as was the case until recently,” added Plenković.

He also underscored that he believes that a decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania will be adopted before the Zagreb Summit.

“They are representatives of various investors who manage funds, who are familiar with Croatia and have previously reacted positively whenever Croatia issued sovereign bonds. During our term in office we have achieved a big step forward. We have a healthy and continuous growth of GDP. We are heading toward a balanced budget. We have been given investment rating by two rating agencies. Investors are interested in structural reforms, key priorities until the end of our term in government and plans for the future,” said Plenković.

Asked about the situation with the coronavirus, he said that Croatia was acting very responsibly on the national plane and as the presiding country of the Council of the EU.

“We are exchanging information and following the developments in Italy. We will enhance preventative measures and checks and attempt to do everything in our power to protect Croatian citizens from the possible spreading of this epidemic, in agreement with Italy and other EU member states. All the institutions in Croatia that need to be, are engaged in this matter,” concluded Plenković.

More news about relations between Croatia and the UK can be found in the Politics section.


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