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Dutch Prime Minister's Historic Visit to Zagreb Strengthens Croatia's Role as Key Partner in European Security Vlada Twitter

Dutch Prime Minister's Historic Visit to Zagreb Strengthens Croatia's Role as Key Partner in European Security

Written by  Jan 23, 2024

Croatia is a key partner for the Netherlands in the policy of ensuring stability and security in the Western Balkans, said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a joint press conference in Zagreb with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday.

The bilateral meeting in Zagreb followed the joint presence of the two prime ministers in Sarajevo with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

This is the first time in 18 years that a Dutch prime minister has officially visited our capital. Among other things, support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's European path was emphasized, and excellent relations between the two countries, both politically and economically, were confirmed. The war in Ukraine was also an unavoidable topic, with reaffirmed unified support for Kiev.

In a joint statement after the meeting, Plenković stated that in Sarajevo, they sought to encourage friends and partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina to further undertake reforms to create conditions for the decision on opening accession negotiations at the European Council in March.

"Both of us have the impression that this visit was extremely valuable and useful, and all discussions were motivating to take steps in the coming weeks that will enable the Commission to present, hopefully, a positive report on achievements, and then a decision to be made in March," said Plenković.

Our visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina was very important because the stability and security of this region (the Western Balkans) are essential for our shared European future, said Rutte.

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Photo - Vlada Twitter

With the terrible war raging on our continent, we all have a duty to promote stability and security wherever we can. In this regard, Croatia is a crucial EU partner for us, Rutte added.

He noted that the Netherlands, traditionally one of the most skeptical countries towards EU enlargement, supports the ambitions of Southeast European countries to join the European Union. He also mentioned that he believes the prevailing stance in the Dutch parliament, that the EU can have new members, will not change in the new term and is not dependent on the election outcome.

Plenković pointed out that the Netherlands is one of Croatia's largest trading partners and one of the biggest investors in Croatia. Plenković thanked Rutte for the very constructive support during the past months and last year, referring to the Netherlands' support for Croatia's entry into the Schengen Area.

Rutte emphasized that Croatia and the Netherlands also share a commitment to supporting Ukraine, thanking Croatia for its support to Ukraine in demining and military equipment.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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