Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Friday announced numerous activities relating to Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union, which begins on January 1.
European Council President Charles Michel will arrive in Zagreb on January 7, Plenkovic will go to Paris on the 8th for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the College of Commissioners will arrive in Zagreb on the 9th and the 10th.
On the 14th, Plenkovic will present the programme of Croatia's presidency in the European Parliament, while the takeover of the rotating presidency will be officially marked in Brussels on the 15th, after which Plenkovic is going to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Next week, Plenkovic is going to Rome for talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
"A real explosion of international activity, which is normal when a state assumes the presidency," he told Croatian reporters in Brussels after an EU summit.
The first dossier the Croatian presidency will work on concerns Brexit and the preparation of negotiations on future relations with the UK. Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will negotiate an agreement on future relations, which is expected by the end of 2021.
As Council chair, Croatia will try to help so that the withdrawal agreement is ratified in January at national level and in the European Parliament, Plenkovic said, adding that "at the beginning of February we would try to agree a negotiating framework for future relations and use the remaining 11 months to reach an agreement."
The other important job upon assuming the presidency is to help Michel, who has been tasked with coordinating the EU's seven-year financial framework.
"We will, of course, help Michel in all talks, notably those that will be held at the level of the General Affairs Council and at the level of ambassadors, and I will politically help so that we complete the process during our six months of presidency, if possible, " said Plenkovic.
Today, on the second day of the EU summit, member states' leaders had an inclusive euro area summit attended by 27 EU member states, not just the 19 euro area states.
Plenkovic said he informed the participants of the implementation of Croatia's strategy for introducing the euro. "We are carrying out our action plan which we agreed with the euro group in July so that we can join the Exchange Rate Mechanism... Croatia wants to be closely involved in every debate in the euro group, which is why this inclusive euro area summit is very useful for our preparation and convergence."
The other meeting today was held as part of Article 50 and concerned Brexit.
At the end of the summit, Plenkovic met Finland's new Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, as well as Margrethe Vestager, the Commission executive vice president in charge of competition and digitisation.
"The main topic of our talks was the continuation of dialogue in seeking a solution to the Vukovar Act and issues concerning the shipyards. They are two topics we are continually talking about," Plenkovic said.