Tripartite meeting

Austrian, Croatian and Slovenian premiers to meet on regular basis

23.08.2013 u 18:15


Croatia is linked with Austria and Slovenia through their common history and through culture and those two countries are Croatia's major trading partners, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in Graz on Monday after a working meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek. The Croatian premier also pointed out the importance of such trilateral meetings, which will be continued in Slovenia and Croatia.

"We have long-standing historical and cultural connections with Austria, Slovenia as well as with Hungary and Italy, and in the economic terms they are our most important partners. I am looking forward to this cooperation and perceive it as an opportunity to learn form each other," Milanovic said after the meeting in the Grazer Burg, a castle which used to be a residence for the Habsburg monarchy and which currently houses the offices of the Styrian government.

Noting that Croatia, Slovenia and Austria together have 15 million inhabitants, he called for closer relations in the region.

Chancellor Faymann said he was very proud of strong cooperation in an integrated Europe, and called for developing such cooperation to the benefit of both the European Union and its member-states.

He said the objective was to combat unemployment, to fight for a stronger growth and a stronger, democratic Europe.

We must continue meetings of this kind and find time for fight against unemployment, the Austrian official said.

Milanovic and Bratusek said their respective countries could learn much from Austria about how to combat unemployment.

Faymann underscored economic interconnections between the three countries, and Milanovic added that economy was the most important topic for them.

Austrian investors with EUR 6.5 billion into Croatia since 1993 are the top the ranking in foreign investors, Milanovic said.

The number of Austrian companies doing business in Croatia is over 700.

Slovenia's Bratusek called for reinforcing economic cooperation between the three countries.

She told the news conference that she had raised the issue of an Italian LNG terminal near Trieste during the Graz meeting, which Slovenia deems to be contentious, and she expressed hope that the issue would be successfully resolved bilaterally by her country and Italy. She announced her meeting with her Italian counterpart Enrico Letta in the Slovenian lakeside resort of Bled on 2 September.

Bratusek, Milanovic and Letta are expected to meet in Venice on 12 September.

Two next tripartite meetings of the Austrian, Croatian and Slovenian premiers are due to be held first in Ljubljana and then in Zagreb.