Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Tuesday with the president of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, who arrived on a two-day official visit to Zagreb on Monday.
Plenkovic and Van der Bellen discussed the cooperation between the two countries within the European Union, the press release from the government said.
They agreed that the political and economic relations were excellent, but they called for boosting trade and energy cooperation.
Van der Bellen talked about Austria’s priorities while it is chairing the EU, among which are the prevention of illegal migrations and the importance of stability in southeast Europe.
Croatia is making great efforts in combating illegal migration, and protecting the EU’s external border, Plenkovic said adding that Croatia wanted to join the Schengen area in 2019.
Croatia’s eastern borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro form the EU’s external border. The Interior Ministry said last week that, along with continuing the procuring of technical equipment to improve the protection of the EU’s external border, it was continuing to invest in improving the capacity of the border police and their training.
Plenkovic talked about his government’s priorities – continuing the positive economic trends and structural reforms, fiscal consolidation, further reduction of public debt, and encouraging investments, in the context of Croatia’s plans to fulfil the criteria to join the euro zone.
Croatia undertook the obligation of joining the euro zone when it joined the EU in 2013, but the accession treaty did not determine the specific date by which Croatia had to introduce euro as its currency. In May this year, former Economy Minister Martina Dalic predicted that Croatia could join the euro zone within the next five to seven years.