Croatia and Germany Sign Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement

By 7 March 2019

ZAGREB, March 7, 2019 - Croatia and Germany signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement in Berlin on Thursday, which they described as a milestone in relations between the two countries.

Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas signed a joint statement on increasing government cooperation and an action plan aimed at boosting bilateral cooperation and relations at EU level.

"I think we can describe the signing of these documents as a milestone in our bilateral relations which are developing well in any case and which, based on this action plan, will be further intensified," said Maas.

According to Germany's FM, the action plan that defines the expansion of cooperation between the two governments, covers a "comprehensive range of topics," like digitisation, a dual education system, science and research, climate protection, and security.

Pejčinović Burić said that Germany was one of Croatia's most important trading partners and that the agreement on expanding cooperation, which was reached in August by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, would additionally strengthen mutual relations.

She added that the action plan provided for strengthening cooperation in a dozen areas, from common interest to foreign and European policy to the economy, education, culture, sport and parliamentary cooperation.

"I believe that in two years’ time we will analyse how the plan is developing and will extend it to other areas of cooperation," Pejčinović Burić said before meeting with Maas.

"Signing this agreement is an important step that we will make as part of the existing partnership in the EU and NATO and our common interest for Southeast Europe, which is essential for stability and security in that region and for Europe as a whole. We believe that the signing of this agreement will specifically raise the level of contacts relating to the agreed topics and concrete projects that will develop from those contacts," Pejčinović Burić said.

The talks focused on the future of the European Union, particularly with regard to EU enlargement and Brexit.

Maas recalled that next year Croatia and Germany would chair the Council of the European Union one after the other.

"We wish to use this fact at the European level for a constructive policy and I am already looking forward to joint cooperation between Germany and Croatia," Maas said.

He underscored that the two main themes of the German EU presidency would be unity and strength.

"I think that these are important issues for the European Union's future and am looking forward to cooperation with Croatia," he added.

Maas said that as a "regional power" Croatia brings a rich experience to relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans.

"The Western Balkans is a strategically key region for the EU. What we need in our neighbourhood is stability, democracy, economic growth and that's why we cannot turn our backs on the Western Balkans. That would be a big mistake," he said.

Pejčinović Burić said that it was important to intensify cooperation between Germany and Croatia because, among other things, both countries would chair the EU next year.

"We will discuss countries in Southeast Europe and their pathway and progress toward EU membership, of course, when conditions for that have been met," she said.

Maas pointed out the good relations between citizens in the two countries. "There are 370,000 Croatian citizens living in Germany and last year a record number of German tourists visited Croatia. For me that is an example of the Europe that we live for and that we feel like neighbours," he concluded.

More news about relations between Croatia and Germany can be found in the Politics section.