Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman addressed the media ahead of an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (Gymnich), outlining the topics on the agenda.
“We will discuss strengthening the political and economic partnership with Africa. It’s in our strategic interest. We want to work with our African partners and help them deal with challenges and seize opportunities. For Croatia, the issue of migration is important. Here we expect a stronger commitment from our African partners in order to prevent their citizens from leaving on a perilous journey to Europe. “We will help build capacity to manage migration,” said the minister.
Grlić Radman said the ministers will also discuss unresolved conflicts in the Eastern Quarter. “Five out of six of our Eastern European neighbors have no control over parts of their territory. These are Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan. We will discuss how we can help them resolve these conflicts, some of which have persisted for decades. I will push for a stronger political commitment. “As with the Western Balkans, there is a clear need for a stronger political approach to the challenges in the region,” the minister said, underlining Croatia ‘s experience with peaceful reintegration and how we can contribute to EU efforts.
Furthermore, Grlić Radman said the ministers will discuss strengthening co-operation with Asian partners in the Pacific Region and implementing the Indo-Pacific Strategy adopted in April.
The EU ministers will join Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, with whom they will discuss the situation in the Middle East, in particular the prospects of starting the peace process in light of the recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Wednesday, Grlić Radman held talks with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva.
Grlić Radman congratulated Santos Silva on the successful Portuguese presidency of the EU and thanked Portugal for its post-earthquake relief assistance in the Sisak-Moslavina County.
“We agreed that there was room for advancing economic cooperation. “Before the pandemic, our economic exchange was growing and this is a trend we will try to resume as soon as we overcome these challenges,” said Grlić Radman, discussing Croatia’s prospects and Portugal’s post-pandemic economic co-operation.
The Minister thanked Santos Silva for Portugal’s support for Croatia’s efforts to join MED7, the OECD, the Eurozone and the Schengen Area.
The two ministers underlined the desire for stronger cooperation in tourism. “TAP Air Portugal will resume direct flights between Lisbon and Zagreb in early June,” Grli and Radman said, welcoming Portugal’s decision to ease the rules for Croats entering Portugal, who are now only required to have a negative PCR test and no longer quarantine.
Grlić Radman and Santos Silva also discussed other current issues, such as the European trip to the Western Balkans, especially Albania and Northern Macedonia, as well as the state of affairs in the Southern Quarter.