Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic attended the meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) at the the Slovenian mountain resort of Brdo Pri Kranju on Tuesday.
After a meeting of prime ministers on Tuesday morning, chaired by Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, Plenkovic told reporters that he had an informal discussion with his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar.
“For EU member states, this was an opportunity for us to extend our support to other countries that have yet to join the EU. We expect each of the six countries (involved in SEECP) to make progress and speed up their EU accession process,” said Plenkovic, and added that he had also met with Bosnia’s Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, and Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj.
The main topics on the agenda of the summit were the enlargement of the European Union, security, prospects for the region’s youth, and the digital transformation of society.
Countries participating in the SEECP are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.
Plenkovic was then asked about his talk with Cerar and the bilateral issues between Croatia and Slovenia.
“Miro (Cerar) and me talked a lot during our lunch, but informally. Early parliamentary election is coming up in Slovenia on June 3. Launching a new court procedure is not the way to approach unresolved issues. As for Croatian courts’ verdicts on Ljubljanska Banka, we must respect the rule of law. Croatian courts are independent of the government, and we have no influence over these rulings,” Plenkovic told reporters, referring to earlier statements made by Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar.
“The only real unresolved issue with Slovenia is the border, and we are very calm in approaching that issue. I regret that a consensus could not have been reached. We have offered Slovenia a just solution,” said Plenkovic, and added that the Croatian parliament had unanimously voted for Croatia to leave the international border arbitration proceedings.
“Now we will wait for election in Slovenia to pass, and then we will continue the dialogue. It is important to prevent this problem from spilling over into ordinary people’s lives, and I am very sorry to hear that we have this case of fishermen in Savudrija,” Plenkovic said, and added that it would be good for Slovenia if Croatia joined the Scghengen passport-free travel area.
Asked if he talked with Serbia’s European Integration Minister, Jadranka Joksimovic, about issues between Croatia and Serbia, Plenkovic said he did not.
“We did not speak, we only exchanged greetings, we did not touch up on matters related to our bilateral relations,” Plenkovic said.
Asked what kind of counter-measure he expected from Serbia in response to Croatia’s declaration of Serbia’s Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin a persona non grata, Plenkovic said he could not speculate on what that response – announced by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic – might involve.
“We made that decision on Vulin, because we feel that in relations between two countries, we should work to reduce tensions and open space to constructive kind of discussion. This government made important progress in relations with Serbia. Regarding Vulin, we were clear, all I can say is: we love theatre, but not in our house,” Plenkovic told reporters.
Asked about negative reactions from some Bosnian politicians on the recent signing of contract to build the Peljesac Bridge, Plenkovic said there was no doubt that the project would go on as planned.
“It is clear that the bridge is on Croatian territory,” Plenkovic said.