Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ statements at the Joint Declarations with the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković following their meeting in Zagreb

It is a great joy for me to be here in Zagreb, along with my friend the Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković. I would like to cordially thank him for the hospitality. I really wish that the wounds from the recent devastating earthquakes, in this beautiful land, will heal soon.

Unfortunately, we also have experienced similar natural phenomena. We completely understand the magnitude and the difficulties of such challenges. Let me thank Andrej for responding so fast, by offering assistance during the devastating wildfires, when he sent us a Canadair at a moment when we faced major difficulties.

As partners and allies with Croatia, we share the same values, the same principles towards a common vision; safe and prosperous Balkans. Greece has warmly supported the Euro Atlantic, the European integration of Croatia. This is why we will continue to vigorously support the accession of Croatia in the eurozone, the Schengen zone and also OECD.
And, of course, I am really satisfied with Croatia’s participation in EU-Med 9. For the first time, we had the opportunity to gather, the nine of us, nine Mediterranean countries in Athens, in September 2021. We have many opportunities to further develop our bilateral, economic relations. I am very happy that major construction companies participate in major infrastructure projects in Croatia.

Both our countries are looking forward to an exceptional year for tourism in 2022. And of course we need to acknowledge that Greece and Croatia are two leading countries, in terms of growth, in 2021. This allows us to be able to support our economies, our households, our companies in light of the significant rises in the prices of electricity and natural gas.

Of course we also had the chance to discuss the challenges that concern Western Balkans. We had the chance to reaffirm that the future of Western Balkans needs to be in the European family. We discussed and I was briefed by my friend Andrej about the alarming situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of course, we also discussed the common challenges in tackling the refugee and migration issue.

Our country’s position on this specific issue is simple. It is based on humanism on the one hand and on the other hand on security. On guarding the European and national borders, but also on saving desperate people. In fact, I remember the direct response of Andrej who was at the time President of the European Council. He was there with us in Evros, almost 2 years ago, reaffirming the support of the European institutions in Greece’s successful effort to safeguard the Greek borders, which are at the same time the borders of the European Union.

We also discussed the tensions and the alarming situation in Ukraine. We reiterated the unity of the European and Euro Atlantic front in tackling this crisis and we also expressed our wish to soon reach a de-escalation of this crisis. I also congratulated Andrej for Croatia’s decision to also buy Rafale fighters, which opens up new scope for us to further strengthen our defense cooperation.

We will have the chance to continue our constructive conversation during our lunch. I am going to meet the President of the country in a while and the President of the Parliament. I am seizing this opportunity to reaffirm that the relations between Greece and Croatia are perhaps at the strongest, at the best point in the history of the two states. And they can become even better.

Once again thank you very much.