During his working visit to the Republic of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Andrej Plenković, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia Gordan Grlić Radman and Head of the Parliamentary Committee for European Affairs Domagoj Ivan Milošević.
The main results of the visit include the following:
Croatia reaffirmed its commitment and determination to uphold Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, in particular through continued EU sanctions against Russia;
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has accepted an invitation of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to visit Ukraine during the presidency of Croatia of the EU Council;
Ukraine and Croatia have agreed that Ukraine will be an important item on the agenda for Croatia during its presidency of the EU Council;
by the end of this year, Croatia will fund the rehabilitation of another group of Ukrainian servicemen;
Croatian Government will soon appoint a co-chair of the Joint Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Croatian Commission on Trade and Economic Co-operation to boost trade and investment between the two countries.
In the first half of 2020, Croatia will hold its first-ever presidency of the EU Council. Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković has recently presented the priorities of the presidency: a Europe that develops, Europe that connects, Europe that protects, Europe that is influential. Continuing the EU enlargement policy is among the topmost priorities.
Dmytro Kuleba expressed gratitude to Croatia for its consistent support for Ukraine's European integration aspirations, and conveyed to the Prime Minister of Croatia an invitation from the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to pay an official visit to Ukraine at the convenient time of Croatia's EU Council in 2020. Andrej Plenković accepted the invitation. The Croatian Prime Minister also reiterated continued support for territorial integrity and sovereignty, Ukraine's European integration aspirations and a set of internal reforms that are taking place in our country.
During his meetings with Croatian top officials, Dmytro Kuleba paid special attention to the priorities of Ukraine's European integration and discussed the possible support by Croatia during its presidency of the EU Council. Among other things, the parties tackled the integration of Ukraine into the EU energy and digital markets, enhanced customs cooperation, updated agenda of cooperation with the EU in the area of justice, freedom and security, conclusion of the ACAA Agreement (Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products, the so-called industrial free visa regime).
“Today, we have agreed that Ukraine will be an important item on the agenda during the presidency of Croatia. The Government, together with the Parliament, will work to ensure that the European integration of Ukraine continues to gain momentum, in particular, in the period of Croatian EU presidency,” stressed Dmytro Kuleba said.
“The main thing that we strive for is to accelerate integration with the EU in the areas where Ukrainian citizens and businesses feel they are competitive. We want to get an industrial free visa regime for Ukrainian goods, simplification of customs procedures and conditions for doing business as soon as possible, to bring our markets and basic spheres closer to European norms and rules,” he added.
The Deputy Prime Minister also noted that Ukraine is interested in the experience of European integration of Croatia: “We will be grateful for the exchange of experience, in particular, regarding reforms, adaptation of national legislation to EU standards, holding negotiations with the EU, access to EU funds, organization of European integration inside the country”.
Moreover, Dmytro Kuleba called on the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Croatia to support Ukraine's desire to join the Three Seas Initiative, which is of mutual interest to our country and the EU countries.
The Deputy Prime Minister thanked the Croatian side for its humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, the rehabilitation of children of the war participants on the Adriatic coast, the wounded Ukrainian soldiers, the displaced from the east of Ukraine, children from needy families. By the end of this year, the Croatian side will finance the rehabilitation course for another group of the Ukrainian military.
The parties agreed that the Ukrainian-Croatian cooperation would be greatly enhanced as a result of the appointment of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Croatia, which is due to take place in the near future. They also noted the important role of the Joint Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Croatian Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. The Deputy Prime Minister requested the earliest possible appointment of the Croatian Co-Chair of the Commission for the next meeting to take place early next year.