Croatia and Portugal are located on the opposite sides of the European Union but are working toward the aim of EU integration, its stronger cohesion and further democratisation of processes, said President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Friday during her official visit to Portugal.
Grabar-Kitarovic met her Portuguese counterpart, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon to discuss the enhancement of economic and educational cooperation between the two countries.
“I believe that this visit will mean a new step in our relations. In the past 25 years there has never been any outstanding issues between Portugal and Croatia,” said Grabar-Kitarovic after the meeting.
“We recall that Croatia’s international recognition came just as Portugal was chairing the EU,” she added.
The governments of the two countries have signed an agreement in the area of language, education, science, culture, sports and youth for the period 2018 to 2020. “That agreement represents a bridge toward the future,” Rebelo de Sousa said.
“We share European values. Relations are excellent. There hasn’t been any problem in the past 25 years. We believe in the values of togetherness, human solidarity and development,” the Portuguese head of state added.
Grabar-Kitarovic outlined Croatia’s priorities when the official Zagreb takes the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020.
“When it comes to financing and European funds, Croatia advocates retaining traditional funds like the agriculture and cohesion funds which enable our countries to attain equal development. The final aim has to be to erase the borders that can still be seen in Europe through the standard of living, economic development and infrastructure development particularly in those countries that did not enjoy democracy and market economies,” she said.
Other priorities include economic growth and employment, particularly of young people, transport connectivity, energy and security and EU enlargement.
“We will continue the practice of conducting summits of Western Balkan countries so that we can ensure their progress on the pathway to EU membership,” she added.