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Angela Merkel meets with Croatia's Prime Minister

"Germany will be a constructive partner"

Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to cooperate closely with Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, during his country’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Germany will take over from Croatia in July. It is extremely important that progress be made on the multiannual financial framework, stressed Angela Merkel.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in discussion with Andrej Plenković , Croatia's Prime Minister A lively discussion: On 1 January Croatia assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

The multiannual financial framework is a difficult topic, underlined the Chancellor at a joint press conference following her meeting with the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday. The multiannual financial framework, or MFF, sets limits for annual EU spending in each individual policy area, in this case over the period 2021 to 2027.

"I would be delighted if Croatia could achieve results here," said Angela Merkel. "But that obviously depends on all of us." Germany, she said, will collaborate very constructively. "We need a budget as of the end of 2020."

On 1 January Croatia assumed the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. "A strong Europe in a world of challenges" is its motto. Croatia is the EU’s youngest member state, having acceded in 2013. This is the first time it has held the Presidency.

Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb

The highlight of the Croatian Presidency will be the Western Balkans Summit on 6 and 7 June in Zagreb. It will be attended by the Western Balkan states and EU member states.

The start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania will be on the agenda. Progress here would be an important sign, said Angela Merkel. "Germany is ready and willing – we want to move forward together." The heads of state and government were unable to reach agreement about beginning accession negotiations at the last European Council meeting in October 2019.

Conference on the Future of Europe

The two leaders also discussed another matter – the planned "Conference on the Future of Europe". Here too, the two countries would cooperate closely. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a major conference to allow the EU institutions and citizens to decide how the community should move forward. Croatia will launch the proceedings. 

Close bilateral relations

Angela Merkel and Andrej Plenković both underlined that relations between the two countries are excellent. Angela Merkel pointed out how many Germans choose to holiday in Croatia, while a large number of people with Croatian roots also live in Germany. "They act as a sort of bridge between our countries". 

The Croatian Prime Minister also visited the International Green Week in Berlin. Croatia is this year’s partner country, and 59 Croatian businesses are exhibiting.

Jan 16, 2020