Croatia regrets the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, but the Union remains strong even without it, the Croatian government said in a statement on Friday, the last day of the UK's EU membership.
While regretting the departure of one member state from our European family, "we are heartened by the reinforced unity that the 27 of us have demonstrated in the past three years," the statement said.
"The European Union will be smaller in numbers, but remains strong and unified as ever," it added.
Croatia, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, sees Brexit as an opportunity for "an ambitious and long-lasting" new partnership with the UK, the first country to leave the bloc.
"The UK’s departure from the EU is also a new beginning in our relationship. Both as the Council Presidency and bilaterally, Croatia remains determined to invest all its efforts to keep the United Kingdom as one of our closest partners," the Croatian government said.
Zagreb believes that efforts should be made during the transitional period until the end of the year to facilitate the transition for citizens and businesses on both sides.
"Croatia highly appreciates the hitherto tireless work of EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and his team. They have our full support and confidence in the forthcoming negotiations about the future relationship with the United Kingdom as well," the statement said.