European Union enlargement to Southeast Europe, cooperation within NATO and regional cooperation were the main topics of the 4th meeting of the Adriatic Trilateral, which comprises Croatia, Albania and Montenegro, held in Zadar on Friday, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said.
The Adriatic Trilateral was inaugurated in Split in February 2017 to encourage security and economic cooperation between the three countries.
The meeting brought together foreign ministers and the guest country was North Macedonia. It was held ten days before the start of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU, which was one of the topics.
Grlic Radman informed the participants of the priorities of Croatia's presidency, notably to make Europe influential.
He said the main event of the presidency would be the Zagreb Summit on May 7 which would bring together the heads of all EU member states and Western Balkan countries.
"We wish for that summit, taking place 20 years after the Zagreb Summit of 2000, which opened the European perspective to Croatia and all of Southeast Europe, to be an equally significant reference point both for the Union and for the candidate states and potential candidates over the next ten years."
Grlic Radman said Croatia would invest maximum effort to have accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia opened during its EU presidency. He also expects further progress in the accession negotiations with Montenegro during the presidency.
Croatia will also push for the progress of all other Southeast European countries on their European journey based on compliance with criteria and own merit. "Croatia will, as it has until now, continue to give unreserved support for the European aspirations of our friendly states, our neighbours, also by extending technical, expert and every other assistance."
The Zadar meeting reiterated the support of NATO members Albania, Montenegro and Croatia to the completion of North Macedonia's integration into the alliance.
"We also strongly support the continuation of NATO's Open-Door Policy towards Southeast European countries. This policy must include Kosovo," said Grlic Radman.
The representatives of Croatia, Albania and Montenegro confirmed the importance of continuing to bolster cooperation which, they said, makes a strong contribution to stability and security in Southeast Europe.
Grlic Radman said there were many areas of common interest in which better cooperation was possible, such as transport connectivity, environmental protection, notably of the Adriatic Sea, and illegal migration.
"All the countries we represent are on migrant routes and this issue is exceptionally important to all. We concluded that it's necessary to align our cooperation in this area even more."
Grlic Radman recalled that last week in Zadar a multinational programme was launched for the training of special operations helicopter crews, saying he hoped more countries would become involved.
An agreement on the establishment of the Multinational Special Aviation Program was signed in October 2018 at NATO's HQ in Brussels by the defence ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia.