The Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline and motorway were the two most frequently mentioned possible projects at a Croatian-Albanian business forum that took place at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Zagreb on Wednesday, with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and her Albanian counterpart Bujar Nishani attending.
"Stronger economic cooperation and infrastructure projects, such as the Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline and the Adriatic-Ionian motorway, are a guarantee of stability, security and economic development not just in the two countries, but in the wide region of Southeast Europe as well. With these projects Croatia and Albania can make a considerable contribution to the energy and transport connections in Europe," Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Construction of the Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline can secure a lasting and sufficient gas supply to Croatia and its neighbours and strengthen the gas market and the position of both countries on Europe's political and energy map, she added. "By building the Adriatic-Ionian motorway, we will create conditions for the further development of both countries's economies, as well as trade in the entire region of Southeast Europe."
She said that it was equally important to ease the flow of goods and capital at the international level and to implement comprehensive reforms at home to make it easier for enterprises to do business.
Nishani said that the purpose of his visit was to boost relations between the two countries in all areas of interest. He noted that economic relations were not in step with the excellent bilateral political relations and that there was a lot of room for their improvement, particularly in transport and energy infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and industry.
Last year trade between Croatia and Albania reached only slightly more than 70 million euros, which shows that the existing potential is not sufficiently used, Nishani said.
The Albanian president said that his country was devoted to European integration and that it had Croatia's support in that process. He said that in that regard Croatia was a model followed by all countries in Southeast Europe.
As part of the forum, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Tirana Chamber of Trade and Industry signed a cooperation agreement, which Nishani said should facilitate business for about 50 Croatian companies operating in Albania. He said that both the agreement and the forum were also an opportunity for entrepreneurs from both countries to establish new business ties.