ZAGREB – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday concluded a round of meetings with Croatian state and government officials, during his visit to Zagreb.
After a meeting and joint statements with his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic, the Greek premier met the Croatian Parliament’s Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic, while later he was received by Croatian President Zoran Milatovic.
Before returning to Athens, he will have dinner with the Croatian prime minister.
During his talks and meetings in Zagreb, the two sides confirmed their exceptionally cordial relations and good coordination on issues of humanitarian interest, as well as shared views on the handling of migration and refugees, where Croatia praised Greek policies.
“Greece and Croatia Support a Common Vision for the Balkans”
“As partners with Croatia we share the same principles regarding a common vision for a secure and prosperous Balkan region. Greece has supported the European integration of Croatia and we support its inclusion in the eurozone, the Schengen zone and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday, in statements after meeting his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb.
He also conveyed his best wishes for a swift recovery from the damage inflicted by the destructive earthquakes in Croatia, noting that Greece has experienced similar challenges and was aware of the difficulties.
“I thank Andrej for the speed with which he supported Greece during the devastating earthquakes in the summer, sending a Canadair,” Mitsotakis said.
The Greek prime minister also noted the opportunities to further develop bilateral economic relations and referred to the Greek companies operating in Croatia.
“Greece and Croatia are leading countries for growth in 2021. This allows us to be able to support our economy in the face of price increases in power and natural gas,” he added.
“Greek position on migration based on humanitarianism and security”
Greece’s position regarding migration is “simple, and is based on humanitarianism, on the one hand, and security on the other hand,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in joint statements with his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday, following their meeting in Zagreb.
This meant guarding European and national borders while rescuing persecuted people, Mitsotakis added, and he noted Plenkovic’s immediate response when the Croatian premier visited the region of Evros two years earlier, when Croatia held the presidency of the EU Council.
“He reaffirmed the support of European institutions for Greece’s successful effort to guard the Greek borders, which are simultaneously the borders of Europe,” Mitsotakis said.
The Greek prime minister also referred to the problems faced by Croatia due to the recent destructive earthquakes, noting that Greece has its own experiences with such phenomena, and thanked Plenkovic for Croatia’s swift response during the devastating fires in Greece in the summer, when it sent a Canadair fire-fighting aircraft to assist.
“As partners with Croatia we share the same principles regarding a common vision for a secure and prosperous Balkan region. Greece has supported the European integration of Croatia and we support its inclusion in the eurozone, the Schengen zone and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),” Mitsotakis said.
He expressed satisfaction with Croatia’s participation in the MED9 summit and noted the opportunities to further develop bilateral economic relations. He also referred to the significant number of Greek companies operating in Croatia, especially in infrastructure projects, adding that both countries anticipate “an excellent tourist year in 2022”.
“Greece and Croatia are leading countries for growth in 2021. This allows us to be able to support our economy in the face of price increases in power and natural gas,” Mitsotakis added.
Referring to the Western Balkans, the Greek premier said their future must be within the European family, adding that he had been briefed on the worrying situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On the tension in Ukraine, Mitsotakis underlined the need for unity on the European and EuroAtlantic front and his hope for a de-escalation of the crisis.
He also congratulated Croatia on deciding to buy Rafale fighter aircraft, saying this opened up new room to further strengthen “our dynamic cooperation”.
“Our relations are at their strongest, their best point in the history of the two countries and can become even better,” the Greek premier underlined.
Plenkovic, on his part, said they had discussed a number of issues and thanked Mitsotakis for Greece support of Croatia’s efforts to join the euro area, Schengen zone and OECD.
He said they both supported all efforts for peace in the dangerous situation between Ukraine and Russia, while he referred to the performance of the two countries in terms of economic growth.
Plenkovic said they also exchanged views regarding the energy crisis, and that Croatia will continue to support Greece in civil defence, while thanking Mitsotakis for his stance on migration.
“Greece contains the tensions that could arise in southeastern Europe,” he stressed, adding that they had also discussed the purchase of Rafale fighter aircraft by Greece and Croatia.