The strengthening of the area encompassing the north and south of Central Europe will make the said region stronger so that it will not only follow European Union policies but take part in their creation, Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Friday on a plane taking her home from a three-day visit to Poland.
Having in mind that there are still differences between the old and new EU members in terms of the economy and living standards, I think that we are embarking on a new stage when those differences will be removed, the head of state told reporters while flying back to Croatia.
If we strengthen that area (going from the Adriatic to the Baltic and the Black Sea), we will definitely be stronger within the EU, and we will be able to partake in policy creation, Grabar-Kitarovic said.
She pointed out the importance of economic cooperation in the said area, as envisaged by her Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative.
Cooperation in that region is also important for promoting common interests within the EU and NATO, the president said expressing hope that the initiative would also facilitate Croatian companies' efforts to enter third markets.
On the economic front, this initiative could also help Croatian seaports increase the volume of cargo they handle, according to the president.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that China was strongly interested in the use of Croatian ports as a gateway to Europe, and also reiterated the importance of the construction of an LNG terminal on the Croatian island of Krk.