Macedonia and Croatia have exceptionally friendly relations and no open issues. Croatia is a great champion of Macedonia's EU and NATO integration, while open issues with other countries should not stand in the way but solved in parallel with the accession talks, agreed President Gjorge Ivanov and Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic after a meeting in Skopje on Thursday.
"We salute the European Commission recommendation for the opening of Macedonia's EU accession talks and Croatia will do everything in its power for a decision on the start of negotiations in June," Grabar Kitarovic told the joint press conference.
According to her, open bilateral issues must be solved in parallel with the Euro-integration process.
"I believe maturity and respect of international law should be demonstrated, leaving the two countries to find the solution by themselves, without imposing one from the outside," added Grabar Kitarovic in reference to the name issue.
She said the Union enlargement process should continue, because a standstill creates a vacuum that could be filled by third parties which are not interested in the countries' progress.
Ivanov welcomed Croatia's constructive approach that bilateral disputes should not be an obstacle in the Euro-Atlantic path.
"There are positive experiences regarding negotiations moving forward in parallel with discussions over a solution for an open issue. The Croatia-Slovenia model can be used in the case of Macedonia," stressed Ivanov.
Interlocutors exchanged opinions on the opportunities for cooperation in other fields of mutual interest.
"It is our joint objective to put Croatia among Macedonia's top five trading partners in the coming years," said Ivanov.
Both presidents agreed that the Macedonian and Croatian communities in the respective countries significantly contribute to bilateral friendly relations.