Enlargement of the European Union will be one of Croatia's priorities and it will help candidates on their journey toward membership, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejcinovic-Buric said at ministerial meeting of the Adriatic-Ionian region held in Budva, Montenegro on Wednesday.
A forum of the EU Adriatic-Ionian Strategy was held there on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since 2014, Brussels has endeavoured to establish cooperation between member states and membership candidate countries from Southeast Europe.
Officials from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, and Greece attended the meeting along with officials from Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania and San Marino.
"Enlargement will be one of Croatia's priorities next year," Pejcinovic Buric said.
This was the last meeting of ministers from the region before Croatia takes over the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union in January 2020. "We believe that 70 million residents who live in the Adriatic-Ionian region and that it encompasses four member states and others outside of (the EU) represent potential for cooperation," the minister told reporters.
The European Commission initiated this type of cooperation five years ago and it unfolds within common projects in four themed units: blue growth/maritime cooperation; transport and energy connections; environmental protection; and sustainable tourism.