After meeting with the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, Croatia's President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, spoke for the HRT.
The President shared some of her thoughts about her five-day visit to Canda, which ended on Thursday, with HRT's North America correspondent Branka Slavica. Here is a transcrip of the intervju.
After this visit, it is clear that relations between Croatia and Canada could not be better. You have also established a personal friendly relationships with Justin Trudeau. What comes after this? Is there room for further growth?
- There is room for growth, primarily in the economy, commerce, and trade, but also in investments, especially since Croatia was the third country to ratify the CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU). Canada has promised to send an economic delegation to the first three states (to ratify it). I am holding them to their word. Today, we also had a thorough discussion with Premier Jason Kenney, who was instrumental in removing the visa requirement for Croatia and for strengthening friendly ties. I am particularly interested in the area of energy for which Alberta is well known, but I have talked with other business people about investments in road infrastructure.
Mr. Trudeau boasted that Canadian exports to Croatia increased by 500%. Croatia cannot say the same. What can we do?
- No, we cannot boast of those kinds of numbers because of the problems we’ve had with the Uljanik Group. Namely, we had contracts for five ships and that is all gone now for reasons we are all too aware of. Our exports would have increased several-fold.
Are the Canadians still interested in competing for contracts for the construction of access roads to the Peljesac Bridge? They seemed eager. Are they out now?
- They're interested. They did not pull out. I talked to them this morning. The tender was annulled because all three offers surpassed the estimated value of the roads. Therefore, it was not possible to make a decision based on the best offer. The tender will be repeated and they will bid.
You are very popular among Croatian emigrants, your fame is not waning. What did they tell you, are they satisfied with relations with Croatia?
- I am grateful to them for welcoming me so warmly. I think that's fitting! I'm not going to be modest, because emigrants are one of my issues. I really want forge links between Croatian communities abroad and Croatia. One entire Croatia is dispersed all over the world and we need their experience. I used this opportunity to encourage them to come to us. When they come to Croatia, let them call the office, let them come to me and my economy advisor, write e-mails with constructive suggestions. We also heard some criticism. But what I look forward to in this country is constructive suggestions. That’s the typical Canadian mentality, they do not want to offend you too much, they are dealing with their own difficulties and they will tell you about them, but you will first want to help you.
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