Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said on Monday that he did not see a railway line from the northern Croatian Adriatic port of Rijeka to Hungary and a railway line from the Greek port of Piraeus to Budapest as rival projects.
"We don't see them as rival projects," Oreskovic told a press conference during the Western Balkans Investment Summit of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London.
He was speaking after meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.
Oreskovic said that he had discussed the Rijeka-Hungary railway project, as well as the construction of an LNG terminal on Krk island, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbar last week.
The summit was also attended by prime ministers Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro, Isa Mustafa of Kosovo, Edi Rama of Albania and Denis Zvizdic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Vucic said that his government had wanted to have more joint projects with Croatia but that the previous government in Zagreb had not been interested.
"Unfortunately, we have almost no such projects. That's why we have decided to establish a railway link with central and western Europe via Budapest. I don't see that as a form of competition. We wanted to have more joint projects with Croatia, but I think there was no interest on Croatia's part.
I put forward several proposals to your former prime minister and was told that they were not interested in east-bound routes, while we are interested in both west-bound and east-bound routes. We are always open to cooperation because our natural path to the West leads via Croatia. I hope we will manage to get over our past ills so we can talk about the future rationally," Vucic said.
Oreskovic said he did not want to deal with the past but with the future. "We need to open dialogue and collaborate. That's good for Croatia and for the region," he said.