Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said in Zagreb on Saturday that Slovenia and Croatia were two countries with similar histories and that nowadays "they are fighting together for the expansion of Europe and for all its parts to be free."
On Saturday evening, Jansa arrived in Zagreb to attend a special concert in the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) on the occasion of Croatia’s Statehood Day, observed on 30 May.
In reference to the early 1990s when his country and Croatia gained independence, Janša said that “those were the times of huge risks and courage both for Slovenia and Croatia.”
“I can remember the steps we made to get rid of the yoke of the Yugoslav Communist system. Today, Slovenia and Croatia are members of the European Union and NATO, and we are together fighting for the expansion of Europe and for all its parts to be free,” said Janša, who was welcomed by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
Jansa went on to say that the two countries were now able to help other countries and “want to expand the space of freedom.”
He invited his Croatian counterpart to ceremonies in Ljubljana on the occasion of Slovenia’s Statehood Day on 25 June. Six days after that holiday, Slovenia will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, and this will be the first time for Ljubljana to be the EU chair.
Janša congratulated PM Plenkovic on Croatia’s successful chairmanship of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020 against a backdrop of “very demanding circumstances marked by the (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Plenković, who described Jansa as a friend and good neighbour of Croatia, said that he was confident that during the Slovenian chairmanship in the second half of this year, Croatia’s Schengen and euro area membership bid would be strongly supported by Ljubljana.
He noted that the third remaining objective in the foreign affairs was Croatia’s admission to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
As soon as we accomplish those three goals, we can say that we have fulfilled our tasks, having in mind the size of our country, Plenkovic said.
He pledged the further strengthening of Croatia’s institutions, democracy and economy in the fourth decade of the country’s independence.
We are committed to strengthening the social inclusivity and to the stronger positioning in the EU and NATO, he said adding also that Croatia was dedicated to green and digital transition.