Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, Therese May.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Ured predsjednice/ Tomislav Bušljeta/ ua

The outcome of Britain's referendum was at the same time a shock and a wake-up call over the erosion of people's support for the European Union, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Tuesday evening at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she delivered a lecture.

The president spoke about the resistance and the response of the EU to numerous challenges it was faced with and about the importance of reacting to the concerns and expectations of its citizens.

"I admit that the outcome of the British referendum in June was a great shock for all of us, but it was also a wake-up call over the erosion of the support of our citizens for the European Union," the president said and explained that this happened over a lack of understanding of what the European Union represented, which only showed how important it was to bring the European Union closer to citizens.

Grabar-Kitarovic reiterated that she regretted the referendum results but that she entirely respected the will of British citizens.

Croatia will continue to strengthen its alliance and friendship with Great Britain and the two countries shall continue dialogue on global challenges they were facing such as security, migrations, sustainable development, climate changes and the stability of Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

She went on to say that European citizens expected of the European Union prosperity, economic security and financial stability.

A new reality and new challenges demand redefining of common interests within the European Union so that the block could provide a better protection and security to its citizens and respond more efficiently to their concrete expectations, the president said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Croatian president, who is on her first official visit to London, met with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street and with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace.

Grabar-Kitarovic also held talks with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon with whom she discussed stepping up military cooperation between the two countries and the Speaker of the House of Lords, Norman Fowler.

On Wednesday, the second and last day of the visit, the Croatian president is to meet with Business Secretary Greg Clark and have a working lunch with representatives of banks and investment institutions. In the afternoon, she will visit the Bloomberg offices where she is scheduled to meet with IT executives.

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