ZAGREB, April 18, 2019 – Poland supports Croatia’s bid to join the Schengen Area, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said after meeting with Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić during an official visit to Zagreb on Wednesday.
“I hope that next time when I come to Zagreb that visit will be in the Schengen regime,” Czaputowicz said.
Economic and defence cooperation, the future of the European Union in light of Brexit, the EU multi-annual budget, cooperation in infrastructure, digitisation and energy with emphasis on the Three Seas Initiative and connecting the Polish and Croatian LNG terminals, were some of the topics discussed by the two foreign ministers.
The two countries share similar opinions on several issues, particularly with regard to security and defence, Minister Pejčinović Burić said. “Energy supply security is the basis of any other security,” she said, emphasising that energy diversification is essential in that regard.
The LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk and the terminal in Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea, which will be connected and which complement the initiative to connect the three seas, the Adriatic, Black and Baltic seas, would contribute to diversification.
“That can be the backbone of the economy” that will spur various forms of economic cooperation, Czaputowicz said.
The two ministers welcomed the economic cooperation between the two countries which currently surpasses 1.1 billion euro. However, “there is much more potential,” the Polish minister said. “Polish investors are very interested in investing in Croatia and we are open” to investments by Croatian business people, he added. They are particularly satisfied with the tourism segment in the economic cooperation.
Poles are the fourth most numerous visitors to Croatia, Minister Pejčinović Burić said and her counterpart added that one million Polish tourists had visited Croatia last year.
Croatia will chair the EU in the first half of 2020 during an exceptionally sensitive and important period for the European Union following the European Parliament election and during a time when the European budget will be negotiated, Czaputowicz said.
Croatia is an important partner to Poland with regard to enlargement and “we are pleased that that issue” is among the priorities of the Croatian presidency, he added.
This year Poland is presiding over the Berlin Process, a diplomatic initiative for further EU enlargement. Recently a ministerial meeting was held in Warsaw and this year another meeting will be held in Poznan.
EU enlargement and the Eastern Partnership are not just a matter of security but of economic achievement too, he said.
Earlier this year Croatia and Poland signed an agreement on defence cooperation. Czaputowicz thanked Croatia for the 80 troops participating in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Poland.
At the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of NATO in Washington, the two countries sent a message of the importance of being a member of the alliance, Pejčinović Burić said.
During an era of growing security challenges, we have to invest all our efforts for the trans-Atlantic alliance not only to be maintained but to develop as well, she added.
More news about relations between Croatia and Poland can be found in the Politics section.