miro kovač.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Slavko VUKADIN/ ua

Croatia wants to cooperate more closely with Visegrad Group (V4) countries and is looking forward to cooperating with its friends in Central Europe, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac said on Tuesday at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the group's founding.

Addressing the ceremony at the Hungarian Institute in Zagreb, Kovac said that Croatia would strengthen its vertical cooperation with friends in Central Europe, along with its stronger involvement in Southeast Europe as part of so-called horizontal cooperation.

He noted that Croatia was again intensifying its relations with Hungary, adding that a rail service between the two countries that had been disrupted due to the migrant crisis would be restored as of midnight.

"We will be strong, we will be your partners, we will be friends. We are looking forward to cooperating with our friends in Central Europe," Kovac said.

Croatian Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner said that this anniversary was an opportunity to reaffirm the cooperation with the V4 countries.

Martin Kosatka, the ambassador of the Czech Republic, the current chair of the Visegrad Group, said that the group had been established in 1991 to encourage the European integration of its members and their mutual cooperation in the economy, energy and defence.

The group initially had three members, and after the break-up of Czechoslovakia it became a four-member group consisting of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

"A lot has changed in these 25 years, but the same spirit of friendship and close relations between our four countries and their citizens have remained the same," Kosatka said. "We are like a family and are aware that we are strong only if we stick together."

"The V4 members want to cooperate with other countries, in particular with their neighbours such as Croatia. We welcome the fact that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and the new Croatian government have expressed a desire to increase cooperation with the V4 countries. We are confident that we can achieve a lot with our Croatian friends and are looking forward to working together with you," Kosatka said.

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