Croatia and France Developing Strategic Partnership

By 6 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 6, 2018 - Croatia and France have many interests in common and the joint action plan signed today will give new impetus to their strategic partnership, Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Friday after meeting with French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau.

"This opportunity, when we sign the joint action plan, the third as part of our strategic partnership, is a very important indicator of how many interests the two countries have in common and of how important the strategic context is for our relations," Pejčinović Burić told the press in Zagreb.

After the meeting, the two ministers signed the Croatian-French Strategic Partnership 2018-2021 Action Plan.

"We believe this visit and the Action Plan will additionally strengthen the partnership," Pejčinović Burić said, confident that the Action Plan will facilitate support for Croatia's efforts to achieve its strategic priorities - joining the Schengen and euro areas as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Loiseau said she was pleased with the Action Plan "as it shows what we have done so far and what we still intend to do." She said she was aware of the importance joining the Schengen Area had for Croatia, adding that the area should be reformed.

The Action Plan highlights bilateral and multilateral political relations, economic relations and cooperation in culture, education and other areas.

The ministers agreed that economic relations improved last year but that they needed an additional boost. They supported the teaching of Croatian in French schools and French in Croatian schools, as well as the five French Alliance branches in Croatia.

"Croatia will preside over the EU in the first half of 2020 and we will help it prepare for that as well as possible," said Loiseau, while Pejčinović Burić said that "France, as a founder state, has exceptional experience in that regard and we believe cooperation in this field will be very fruitful."

The two ministers also talked about EU enlargement, the importance of the accession process for the countries in Southeast Europe, and action benefiting the stability of Southeast Europe.