Foreign Minister Børge Brende on Monday 13th of February visited a sunny Zagreb for meetings with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier. The discussed topics were security and stability in Southeast Europe, Croatia’s rising economy, and EU and NATO enlargement, in addition to bilateral issues.
Stier and Brende agreed that Norway and Croatia have excellent relations and that they wish to strengthen it, especially the economic cooperation. There is definitely room for more Norwegian investments, Brende said. In his meeting with foreign minister Stier, Børge Brende praised Croatia for their role in creating and ensuring stability in the region. “Croatia has an important role in NATO and the EU in terms of SEE. Croatia is a country of stability here”, said Brende after the meeting. Croatia “exports” stability to its neighbouring countries, and this is highly appreciated by Norway and the international community, he said.
In the meeting with the Croatian Prime Minister, Plenković and Brende discussed Croatia’s increasingly important role in the EU and NATO, and in the region. Brende emphasized to Plenković the bilateral cooperation between Croatia and Norway, particularly the EEA/Norway Grants. Negotiations on a new financial period - lasting until 2021, are scheduled to commence in March. The funds available to Croatia are in total 103,4 mill euros.
During the meeting with President Grabar-Kitarović, the two officials also discussed security and stability, but also touched upon Croatia’s work on energy cooperation, where the President emphasized the Three Seas Initiative. In the energy area, Norway and Croatia have great potential for cooperation, with regards to infrastructure and other energy projects, the President said.