ZAGREB, March 7, 2018 – The leaders of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia said at a trilateral meeting in Mostar on Tuesday that the departure of young people was one of the biggest challenges Southeast European countries are faced with, adding that strengthening economic cooperation and accelerating the European journey was the best way to overcome these problems.
“Demographic trends and depopulation is one of the issues I am dealing with in Croatia. I am worried about the trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I believe that through cooperation we can do a lot to secure the survival of all three peoples and others in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said.
She said it was critical for the three countries to step up cooperation in building transport and energy infrastructure. Grabar-Kitarović particularly underlined the importance of creating energy independence by building an LNG terminal on Krk island and connecting it with the countries in the region. She also said Croatia was interested in the completion of a highway on Corridor Vc between Ploče and Budapest.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić presented Serbia’s initiative aimed at creating a joint economic area in the region which would include single customs and tax rates, as well as subsidies. He is confident this would attract major foreign investments.
“This has nothing to do with Yugoslavia. It has everything to do with creating a single market in the future. For us, this is a matter of life and survival. We cannot prevent young people from leaving if they don’t have jobs and good salaries. And foreign investors will not be coming to our countries either until we have a bigger market,” Vučić said. He said he was confident economic cooperation would help create political stability, peace and better relations in the region.