Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on the sidelines of the 8th EUMED Summit in Athens.
Croatia participates for the first time in the cooperation scheme of the southern member states of the European Union, which marks its expansion and strengthening.
The two leaders confirmed the excellent level of bilateral relations, discussed issues of mutual interest and prospects for deepening cooperation at bilateral and regional levels, with an emphasis on the economic sector.
The two prime ministers also had the opportunity to exchange views on issues related to the European Union, such as the Conference on the Future of Europe and migration, in light of recent developments in Afghanistan.
Mr Mitsotakis and Mr Plenković underlined their commitment to promoting the European perspective of the Western Balkans and maintaining security and stability in the wider Southeast Mediterranean region.
Before the start of the meeting, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his statements noted:
“Pleasures it is a great pleasure and honor to welcome you here. I am very happy that we have managed to expand MED 7 and now include Croatia and Slovenia.
We will have the opportunity to spend an entire day discussing various issues of common interest. I am glad that we took some time to discuss the common challenges related to climate change and agreed on what I think is an important document, the Athens Declaration, which clearly sets out the priorities of all European Mediterranean countries in the face of climate change.
I want to thank you again personally for the support you gave us during the tragic fires this summer. I called you and you responded immediately by sending air help. We really appreciated it. This event also highlights the need for even stronger collaboration through the RescEU mechanism.
Then we will have the opportunity to discuss other issues, the geopolitical challenges in the Mediterranean, but also, of course, economic issues, pandemic management issues and how to reopen economies. But of course also issues related to the Southern Quarter.
During our meeting, we will have the opportunity to focus on our bilateral relations, which are becoming increasingly strong … You should also know that we support your goal of even greater integration into the institutions of the European Union. Welcome. Pleasures it is a great pleasure to see you.
For his part, Andrej Plenković said:
“Thank you very much Kyriakos, Minister, dear friends. Pleasures it is a great pleasure for me to return to Athens. This is my second visit since becoming Prime Minister and I think it is a very good frequency in terms of our travels here.
I would like to begin by expressing my regret for the tragic fires you have faced and their great, devastating consequences for the Greek people.
Of course we showed solidarity to the greatest extent possible, with Canadair being sent immediately, with his crew. But you also helped us right after the earthquake that hit Croatia last December, and that was an expression of the very good relations and positive partnership between our countries.
I am also grateful that Croatia, together with Slovenia, is participating for the first time in the MED Summit of the European Union Member States from the Mediterranean region, which is being held today in Greece.
I believe that this is a very good expansion of this group, as both Slovenia and Croatia, the countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, belong to this group.
This will allow for a better understanding not only of the global and Mediterranean issues, but also of the political and security challenges we all face. I also look forward to expanding our bilateral cooperation. As for the political dialogue, I believe that there is nothing that separates us.
In terms of economy, the ABAX Group is involved in one of the most strategic projects in Croatia, which is the Pelješac Bridge, while Aegean had expressed interest in Croatia Airlines before the pandemic. I think economic cooperation is one of the issues we can look at today.
The meeting was also attended by the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Eleni Surani, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Themistokles Demiris and Government Aristotelia Peloni./ibna