Zagreb and Ljubljana are here to help their Western Balkan friends join the European Union because that is in everyone's interest, just as it is presumably in Slovenia's interest that Croatia enters the Schengen zone, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said in the Slovenian lakeside resort of Bled on Sunday.
Milanovic and his Slovenian host Borut Pahor held a working meeting ahead of the annual Brdo-Brijuni Process summit on Monday. The two presidents are the co-chairs of this initiative.
Over the last ten years, the Brdo-Brijuni Process has shown that “it makes perfect sense,” Milanovic told the press before meeting Pahor, according to a press release from the Croatian president's office.
“We are here to encourage and help our friends and neighbours from the Western Balkans, basically the countries of the former Yugoslavia plus Albania, to join the European Union as soon and as simply as possible because that is in everyone's interest,” the Croatian president said.
Milanovic said he presumed it was also in Slovenia's interest that Croatia should join the Schengen zone as soon as possible.
“All this is part of a broader story in which we will do all we can, notably our governments, but we too, so that our neighbours become, as soon as possible, part of the community which we belong to,” Milanovic said. “After all, Europe is one and should be one because whenever it was divided in the past it was not good,” he added.
Milanovic called for cooperation despite differences.
“We do not have the same views on all issues, but I believe that our views are compatible and can produce a result,” the Croatian president said. He said he was optimistic and expected a good meeting on Monday.
The Brdo-Brijuni Process was launched by Croatia and Slovenia in 2013 to address open issues through regional cooperation, stabilise the situation in southeast Europe and create conditions for EU enlargement.