ZAGREB, Sept 11, 2020 – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier supports the policy of reconciliation in Croatia pursued by Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, it was said after their meeting in Berlin on Friday.
In his first months as head of state, President Milanovic took important steps in the process of reconciliation with the Serbs and the Serb minority in Croatia, and we are grateful to him for that, Steinmeier said.
The German president said he supported his Croatian counterpart on this brave path. This path launched by Croatia will hopefully be an inspiration for others to build bridges, he added.
The Croatian president began his two-day official visit on Thursday by meeting with representatives of Croatian associations in Germany.
Milanovic thanked his host for inviting him and for supporting him on the path of reconciliation in the region.
I have been pursuing the policy of reconciliation for twenty years and I believe for the first time that we have interlocutors for such policy in Croatia, Milanovic said, adding that he would continue this policy in the future.
Successful Croatian presidency of the EU
The two presidents also discussed the strengthening and functioning of the European Union in the present circumstances of the coronavirus crisis.
With the aid package adopted in June, the EU demonstrated solidarity that is not even remotely possible elsewhere in the world, Steinmeier said.
He praised Croatia for a job well done during its presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of the year.
Strengthening the EU is the most important task and Croatia managed to do that with its presidency under very difficult circumstances. Now it is up to us to continue this work until the end of this year, the German president said.
One of the topics discussed was the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and the Croatian president expressed hope that the epidemiological situation in Croatia after the summer tourist season would calm down.
I hope the Croatian counties included on the German red list will disappear from that list, Milanovic said.
Excellent bilateral relations
Both presidents said that relations between Germany and Croatia were excellent.
Germany’s policy towards Croatia has always been predictable in a positive sense, meaning reliable, Milanovic said.
The two presidents also highlighted efforts in providing humanitarian aid to migrants who have been left without a roof over their heads following a fire in the Moria refugee camp in Greece.
I have heard that the Croatian government has decided to take in a certain number of displaced persons, which I consider a nice and humane gesture and I support it, Milanovic said.
Steinmeier denied claims that the EU’s common policy on migrants had collapsed.
During its EU presidency, Germany will work with the European Commission on promoting the common refugee policy, he said.
Milanovic was the first statesman to be received with military honors after a months-long pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
During the day, the Croatian president is scheduled to meet with Wolfgang Schauble, Speaker of the Bundestag. He will end his two-day visit by meeting with Mario Ohoven, head of the German association of small and medium-sized enterprises (BVMW).