16:28 / 25.11.2021.

Author: Branko Lozančić

French President Macron visits Croatia

Prime Minister Plenković and President Macron in Zagreb

Prime Minister Plenković and President Macron in Zagreb

Foto: Robert Anic / PIXSELL

Today was an important day for Croatian-French relations. French President Emanuel Macron visited Croatia and it was the first official visit of a French president to our country since gaining independence. After a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at the government building, a strategic agreement was signed between France and Croatia, as well as an agreement on the procurement of French military aircraft, while President Macron also expressed clear support for Croatia's accession to the Schengen area. 

Cooperation between the two countries, global and regional issues, but also a particularly important support for Croatia's membership in Schengen and the Eurozone were the main topics between hosts and French President Emanuel Macron. Two historic agreements were also signed - on strategic cooperation and the procurement of 12 French fighter aircraft.

A reception for Macron was prepared by President Zoran Milanović at the presidential offices.

French President Macron and Croatian President Milanović

French President Macron and Croatian President Milanović

Foto: Sanjin Strukic / PIXSELL

“It is a great pleasure for me and I am proud to be the first French president to visit Croatia since independence. This is an injustice, because this visit is a symbol of our friendship and shows how strong the ties are between Croatia and France,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

“The two presidents discussed many topics, but conversation focused on the importance of purchasing military aircraft and the strategic agreement,” said Croatian President Zoran Milanović.

“This is a big thing for Croatia, both strategically and financially. I rate the talks as excellent, this will be followed by strategic cooperation and I am looking forward to all this. This is a small new beginning for Croatia,” added Milanović.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković also stated that the visit of President Macron is the beginning of a new phase in the relations between Croatia and France, after he signed a new strategic agreement with Macron.

Emmanuel Macron and Andrej Plenković

Emmanuel Macron and Andrej Plenković

Foto: HTV / HRT

“We are improving our relations in six areas when it comes to political dialogue, economic cooperation, defense cooperation, security, education, culture, scientific, academic, and naturally administrative cooperation between the two countries, therefore an all-encompassing framework for strengthening relations between Croatia and France,” noted Plenković.

The French president pointed out that during his presidency of the European Council he would also deal with the topic of stability in the Western Balkans, in which he expects important help from Croatia. He also warned of the need to reform the Schengen area, but also expressed a clear message of support for Croatian membership.

“As far as Croatia's accession to Schengen is concerned, Croatia is ready for Schengen and it has shown that. You have shown a solid organization of protection of your external borders in relation to smugglers, and confirmed the ability to control your borders. We believe that Croatia will make Schengen more efficient and enable us to integrate everything that exists in Croatia into our system of information and cooperation, said the French President.

Topics of discussion also included strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries, which amounted to around one billion euros last year, and France has been one of the most important investors in Croatia in recent years.

Before a working lunch, Mate Rimac, the CEO of the Rimac Group, presented the Nevera car made by his company to the French President, as well as a Bugatti model.

The highlight of the visit is certainly the signing of a contract to procure 12 multi-purpose French Military aircraft. The agreement was signed by the defense ministers of the two countries, Mario Banožić and Florence Parly. Previously at the president's offices Macron had a brief meeting with Croatian Air Force pilots who will undergo training to operate the French aircraft. 

The Rafale French fighter aircraft

The Rafale French fighter aircraft

Foto: Marko Lukunic / PIXSELL

Two Rafale aircraft were displayed by French pilots who flew over Zagreb as a part of the French president's visit.

Source: HRT

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