PM Andrej Plenkovic and Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman on Thursday held separate talks with North Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov on bilateral relations and North Macedonia's integration with the EU, affirming Croatia's strong support for the country's European journey.
Plenkovic and Dimitrov, a deputy PM in charge of European affairs, discussed Skopje’s preparations for the launching of North Macedonia’s EU accession talks and bilateral cooperation.
Plenkovic said that Croatia strongly supports North Macedonia’s European journey and implementation of reforms and that it is ready to provide the necessary expert assistance.
The two officials also discussed joint efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said in a statement.
Grlic-Radman said that the meeting with Dimitrov confirmed the continuity of the partnership between Croatia and North Macedonia, strengthened by the adoption of the decision to launch accession talks with North Macedonia during Croatia’s EU presidency.
He noted that Croatia’s further political and technical support for North Macedonia’s EU accession was unquestionable and that Croatia would continue advocating an agreement on the Negotiating Framework for North Macedonia to help create conditions for an intergovernmental conference and beginning of accession talks.
Dimitrov expressed gratitude for Croatia’s support for his country’s European integration process, stressing that Croatia had had the key role in that process for a long time, which it showed by giving North Macedonia the green light for the start of accession talks during its presidency of the Council of the EU.
He added that he expected the two countries’ close cooperation to continue.
Grlic-Radman said that the two countries’ excellent political relations without outstanding issues should be accompanied by closer cooperation in more areas of common interest, notably the business sector.
He also thanked the visiting North Macedonian official for the financial assistance his government as well as a number of North Macedonian companies and citizens sent Croatia after the 29 December earthquake in the Banovina region.