Croatia and Estonia support European Union enlargement to Southeast Europe and the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine, while linking the lifting of sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict to the implementation of the Minsk agreement, Croatian and European Foreign Ministers Miro Kovac and Marina Kaljurand said in Zagreb on Monday.
Kaljurand was on an official visit to Croatia with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Croatia is our very good friend and partner in the EU and NATO, and we were very happy when it entered the EU a few years ago, she told reporters.
Kaljurand said she was pleased with Croatia's progress in preparations for entering the Schengen Area, voicing hope that it would join in the near future, perhaps during Estonia's presidency over the EU in 2018. You have our full support and if we can help, we'll be glad to do it, she said.
We support Ukraine's territorial integrity and agree that the lifting of the sanctions against Russia depends on the implementation of the Minsk agreement, said Kovac. We support EU enlargement to our southeast neighbourhood, provided the criteria are respected, he added.
The two ministers said they would actively support the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Initiative.
We need that platform to strengthen the cooperation between our regions, Kaljurand said, underlining the importance of cooperation in energy, transport, ICT and trade. We welcome that platform and hope that it will be more effective in the future, she added.
The two ministers agreed that there was plenty of room for progress in Croatian-Estonian economic cooperation. Kaljurand said Estonia was especially open to intensifying cooperation in ICT and e-government as it was a leader on that front.
She and Kovac also talked about a NATO summit due in Warsaw in June. She invited him to visit NATO's
Centre of Excellence in Tallinn and he accepted.
As for the migrant crisis, Kaljurand said Estonia very much appreciated what Croatia had done about it.