Ilves on three-day state visit to Croatia
According to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the two countries understand the problems of border countries as well as those of all Europe the same way. Ilves is on a state visit to Croatia, where he arrived on Monday.
Ilves met with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and will also meet Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković as well as Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Željko Reiner. He will also hold a speech at the University of Zagreb.
During his meeting with President Grabar-Kitarović, Ilves said that Estonia and Croatia knew that Europe could only move forward in unity. “We know how important is to preserve the European Union's success story and NATO unity, which we have both benefited from,” he added.
Ilves also said that Europe was faced with the most complicated European security picture since World War II, and that its internal and external challenges were real, not theoretical. He added that small countries like Estonia and Croatia were the most sensitive to that.
President Ilves welcomed the EU-Turkey agreement, calling it an important step in the right direction and saying that he welcomed the decisiveness of the European Union. He said that if the current plans were executed, pressure on the border would decline, and the possibility of refugees ending up victims of human trafficking would be reduced.
According to Ilves, Estonia supports Croatia joining the Schengen system.
Russia's aggression in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea affected the whole European security environment, Ilves said.
According to him, Estonia supports NATO's open door policy. He also said that the EU couldn’t be closed to countries that shared European values and were ready to join the organization in the future.
The two heads of state encouraged Estonian and Croatian entrepreneurs to extend their cooperation.
Ilves is accompanied by a delegation that includes Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand (independent), Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform), Entrepreneurship Minister Liisa Oviir (SDE), and the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Lt. Gen. Riho Terras.