Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Monday that Italy had initiated the procedure for the declaration of an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea and hoped that Croatia would do the same, in which it would have Italy's full support.
“In a European spirit, aware of the need for its protection and sustainable management, we discussed declaration of exclusive economic zones on both sides of the Adriatic,” Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman said after meeting with his Italian counterpart in Zagreb.
Di Maio said that talks were beginning on delimitation of the two zones.
The European Commission estimates that by declaring an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Croatia could earn up to €140 million annually.
In 2003, when it was still not a member of the European Union, Croatia declared an Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone on its side of the Adriatic Sea, which contains all important elements of an exclusive economic zone.
EU enlargement, situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The two ministers also discussed EU enlargement to include the Western Balkans. “These countries should have unequivocal membership prospects provided they meet the set criteria,” Grlic Radman said.
Di Maio thanked Croatia for “the efforts made and results achieved” in bringing these countries closer to the European Union.
“For Croatia, the priority is a stable, democratic and functioning Bosnia and Herzegovina, which can hardly become so unless its constituent peoples and all its citizens are fully equal,” Grlic Radman said.
Di Maio said: “We are confident that Bosnia and Herzegovina, by respecting European standards, can become a country that will achieve prosperity and growth to the satisfaction of all.”
Grlic Radman hosted the 4th meeting of the Coordinating Committee of Ministers of Croatia and Italy. The ministers agreed that the two countries should strengthen their economic cooperation and trade despite the unfavourable economic circumstances.
The two neighbours are continuing their cooperation within the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean. They have agreed to establish a joint working group on cooperation in tourism, and will also step up their cooperation in culture, the arts and the media.