Membership of the “Mediterranean club” will increase Croatia’s influence on processes and bilateral relations with other participating countries, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said ahead of the 8th EU MED Summit in Athens on Friday.
Croatia and Slovenia have applied together for membership of the “Mediterranean club”, an informal group of EU Mediterranean countries including Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
“I think it is very good that Croatia and Slovenia together confirmed that the Adriatic is part of the Mediterranean. We are entering a sub-group of EU member states, which will considerably increase our influence on processes and bilateral relations with other countries sitting at the same table,” Plenković said.
“We are becoming part of this circle of countries, which of course will help us to discuss the situation in the Mediterranean and all other global, European and security issues,” he added.
EU MED was established on 17 December 2013 in Brussels at the initiative of Cyprus and Spain in order to coordinate on issues of common interest within the EU and to connect the countries of Greco-Roman cultural heritage.
EU’s external border must be firm and impermeable
The group’s eighth summit is hosted by Greece, and seven old and two new members will be discussing climate change, the security situation and economic cooperation.
The Afghanistan crisis and the return of the Taliban to power have raised concerns about a potential migrant crisis and a new migrant wave, but Plenković said that this is not the case for now.
“Right now even Greece is not seeing that. Afghan people who are now, for example, in Turkey have been there for quite some time and not for the past few weeks,” he said.
Greece is firmly guarding its border, and this is also Croatia’s position on the matter, the prime minister said.
“The EU’s external border must be firm and impermeable. We must stop illegal migration while making humanitarian gestures for people who need help. This balance between a fair approach and respect for the law is necessary,” Plenković said.