Saturday June 25, 2022

Croatia, N. Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro for Finland´s NATO bid

Published : 22 Jun 2022, 11:58

Updated : 22 Jun 2022, 12:05

  DF Report

Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited Croatia on Tuesday and held meeting with her Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković. Photo: Finnish government by Ivo Antunovic.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin made visits to Croatia, Albania, Montenegro and N. Macedonia during the last two days and discussed Finland´s NATO membership application with the leaders of the host countries, said the Finnish government in separate press releases.

The leaders of the host countries during the meetings assured the visiting Prime Minister to extend their supports to Finland´s application.

On Tuesday, the Premier had meetings with Croatia’s President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

On Monday she met with Montenegro´s Prime Minister Dritan Abazović and President of the Parliament Danijela Đurović in Podgorica. On the same day, she also met with North Macedonian Prime Minister Dritan Abazović and President of the Parliament Danijela Đurović in Podgorica.

Marin also discussed Ukraine, European security and bilateral relations at the meetings.

Croatian Prime Minister Plenković repeated his Government’s strong support for Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership.

Marin emphasised that Finland and Sweden will bolster the security of NATO as a whole. She pointed out that there could be no closer relation between two counties than one arising from the obligation to defend one another as part of a defence alliance.

As EU members Finland and Croatia are already very close to each other, and topics on the EU agenda were also discussed. Marin noted that Finland has been consistently supporting the enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkan countries.

Earlier on the Marin had a bilateral meeting with her Albanian counterpart Edi Rama.

At the press conference after the meeting the Prime Ministers said that Albania and Finland are active and constructive members of the international community.

“We are both working hard to deepen the European integration and strengthen the Euro-Atlantic community. Together we will help Ukraine and try to make Russia stop its cruel war against our friends.”

Marin thanked Albania for the strong and clear support for Finland’s application to join NATO. Albania is a strong advocate of NATO’s open door policy.

Finland has been a strong supporter of EU enlargement for a long time.

“We want all Western Balkan countries to join the EU, when they fulfil the criteria. Our primary aim is to start accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania without delay. We want to support Albania’s accession to the EU,” Marin said.

On Monday, Marin held meetings with her Montenegro´s counterpart Dritan Abazović and President of the Parliament Danijela Đurović in Podgorica and discussed Finland’s application to join NATO and how this will strengthen NATO’s security, and Montenegro’s accession negotiations with the EU.

Finland supports Montenegro in its accession negotiations.

“We both consider deepening the European integration as a high priority. Russia’s cruel war against Ukraine has changed our security system. We need an even stronger Europe, with a strong transatlantic connection.”

Marin thanked Montenegro for the clear and strong support for Finland’s application to join NATO and said that it means a lot for the relations between the countries.

“We talked about how our membership will make both Northern Europe and NATO as a whole stronger. We take NATO’s security very seriously, in the same way as we have taken our own security for decades,” the Prime Minister said.

“We also discussed the security situation in Europe and the urgent need to increase support for Ukraine. I wish to thank Ukraine for cooperating with the EU with respect to the sanctions. Our unity is highly valuable.”

From Montenegro Prime Minister Marin travelled to Skopje, North Macedonia, where she met Prime Minister Dimitra Kovačevski, President Stevo Pendarovski and President of the Assembly Talat Xhaferi.