Romania and Croatia have a very good bilateral cooperation relation and a huge growth potential for economic ties, being at the same time interested in harmonizing their positions within the EU on joint European projects, such as cohesion policy, agricultural policy, said Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, who was on an official visit to Zagreb on Monday.
Romania’s PM was welcomed in Zagreb by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the Croatian Government House in a ceremony that included the intoning of the national anthems and a review of the guard of honour. Grindeanu also signed the Golden Book of guests.
Grindeanu and Plenkovic started one-to-one talks, which were followed by enlarged talks that included official delegations accompanying the two prime ministers. Making up the Romanian retinue were Minister-delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall; State Secretary with Romania’s Foreign Ministry George Ciamba; State Secretary with the Education Ministry Petru Andea, and Romania’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Croatia Constantin Mihail Grigorie.
“I want to emphasize my satisfaction at visiting Croatia, and I am glad that I am the Romanian Prime Minister to visit your country after ten years. My presence in Zagreb has another important significance, as it takes place in the context of the anniversary of 25 years of diplomatic relations between Romania and Croatia. I want to underline from the beginning the substantial and consistent dialogue that I had today with Prime Minister Plenkovic. (…) We discussed the stage and perspectives of the bilateral relation, and, as Mr. Prime Minister said, we both agreed that there is a very good cooperation relationship between Romania and Croatia. We highlighted the desire of both states to consolidate, intensify and deepen cooperation, both at bilateral level, and as partners within the European Union and NATO allies,” Sorin Grindeanu said during the joint statements delivered together with the Croat Prime Minister at the end of official talks.
The Romanian Prime Minister has also emphasized the importance of bilateral documents signed at the headquarters of the Government in Zagreb.
“Today, as you know, two documents were signed – the agreement regarding the reciprocal protection of classified information and the Memorandum of understanding regarding the collaboration between the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Economic Chamber of Croatia. The signing of both documents shows the intention of both states to intensify bilateral relations,” Grindeanu said.
The Prime Minister added that in the discussions with his Croat counterpart the important growth potential for economic relations was emphasized.
“I have expressed the desire to have new opportunities identified in view of rendering economic relations between Romania and Croatia more dynamic. Last year, commercial exchanges between Romania and Croatia stood around 270 million euro. The potential for growth is huge and we wish, regarding the economic component, to fully capitalize on this growth potential. I hope the Economic Forum in autumn (e.n. – Romanian-Croat Economic Forum in Bucharest) organized on the occasion of the visit of the [Croat] President to Romania to be the perfect occasion to further embolden these economic relations,” Grindeanu stated.
He mentioned that, together with his counterpart, during discussions, they agreed that the Croat minority in Romania and the Romanian community in Croatia represent “true connection bridges between our countries”.
The Romanian Prime Minister added that during the official meeting the issue of European common projects was also approached and mentioned that discussions will continue on this topic during an official dinner offered by the head of the Executive in Zagreb.
“Sure that we will deepen in further discussions the matters that regard, as Prime Minister Plenkovic mentioned, European common projects, common policies that have both Romania and Croatia’s support, namely cohesion policies, the European common agricultural policy. It is important that we will be able to harmonize through our positions the points of view within the European Union,” Grindeanu added.
The Croat Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stated, in his turn, that the meeting with the Romanian Prime Minister comprised topics of bilateral interest for the development of economic relations, but also subjects regarding the future of the EU.
“We discussed various topics. Regarding our economic collaboration, bilateral cooperation. I am glad to emphasize the fact that in 2016, Croatia was visited by approximately 100,000 Romanian tourists that visited both the seaside, as well as the country as a whole,” said Plenkovic.
He underlined the fact that the Romanian Prime Minister was born in Caras-Severin, where the Croat community is well represented, and outlined the importance that Zagreb attaches to this minority.
“I hope that the minority continues to benefit from the support of the Romanian Government in view of keeping their identity and, why not, in acceding to the superior education space, in universities and so forth,” said the Croat Prime Minister.
Plenkovic mentioned that another subject of the talks were the common projects that are to be developed as part of the Danube Strategy.
“Thus, for both states, being Danube states, this collaboration within the European Union is particularly important. It’s about relations, about the Danube navigation strategy, economic trade along the Danube, but at the same time about environment protection,” the Croat Prime Minister said.
Sorin Grindeanu had, during his visit to Croatia, a meeting with Gordan Jandrokovic, the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, the Sabor. Furthermore, the Romanian Prime Minister was welcomed at the headquarters of the Presidency of Croatia by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
The Romanian prime minister attended the signing ceremony of an agreement on mutual protection of classified information and a memorandum of understanding concerning cooperation between Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIR) and Croatia’s Economic Chamber. Signing the classified information protection agreement on Romania’s behalf was George Ciamba, while the economic cooperation memorandum was signed by CCIR Mihai Daraban on behalf of Romania.
The previous visit by a Romanian Prime Minister to Croatia took place 10 years ago.