Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic discussed the Croatian presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020 with the new European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels on Thursday.
"The main topics discussed were the preparation of today's conclusions from the summit and the methodology of cooperation between him as the permanent president of the European Council and Croatia as the rotating president of the Council of the EU in the next six months," Plenkovic told the press before the EU summit.
In the summit conclusions Croatia will be given the task to prepare the position of the Council of the EU on a conference on the future of the EU, which is due to start next year and last until 2022. All three principal institutions - the Council, Commission and Parliament - are to harmonise their views on this conference, after which a joint position will be adopted.
One of the biggest challenges facing the Union in the forthcoming period will be agreeing the next seven-year EU budget.
A bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, which has been scheduled for Friday morning, has been moved forward to Thursday evening.
"We will discuss several topics, including a conference on the future of Europe, preparations for a summit in May in Zagreb, where we will try to realistically structure not just the prospects but also the dynamics of accession for our neighbours and resolve the issue of opening talks with North Macedonia and Albania. It would be a very good prelude to the Zagreb summit. That's why we want to deepen our consultations to establish the methodology of negotiations, which is very complex as it is, to see what should be done in order for France to change its position on the Western Balkans," Plenkovic said.
The Croatian PM also met with the new head of the European People's Party (EPP), Donald Tusk, and attended a meeting of the leaders of the EPP, the largest political group in the European Parliament.