Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is in Rome where he is participating in a summit marking the 30th anniversary of the Central European Initiative.
The prime minister said on Thursday, during the second day of his official two-day visit to Italy, that one of the main focuses of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first six months of 2020 was EU expansion.
"The prevailing message of the Central European Initiative is that we must not create new divisions in Europe," said Plenković.
The prime minister called for increased cooperation between the nations of Southeast Europe and the EU. And in the context of Croatia's presidency of the council of the European Union, he said Croatia would "not only concentrate on Brexit, the EU's long-term budget, the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Green deal, and the digital agenda, but also on EU expansion."
Plenković said he and his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte would continue working closely together within the European Council on accelerating the European Union enlargement process, despite opposition from France, Denmark and the Netherlands to opening membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia earlier this year.
On day-one, the two leaders spoke about the very strong relations enjoyed between Croatia and Italy, which they planned to further intensify.
The Italian leader noted that trade between the two countries had exceeded five billion euro last year and that the positive trend would continue.
Italy is Croatia's second largest trading partner after Germany. Italy is also the fourth largest investor in Croatia and the fourth in terms of the number of tourists visiting the country.