European Council President Spokesperson
Let me first thank President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović for her kind invitation to Zagreb, the warm welcome I have received, and the good exchange of views we had. Equally, I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Milanović later today.
Our discussions focused on challenges facing Europe both within our continent and beyond. Many challenges stand out. I have no doubt that creating and keeping unity within the European Union is key to responding to any of them.
We talked about the ongoing migration crisis on our borders and what the European Union can do to help to solve it. Europe's priority remains preventing migrants from losing their lives when trying to reach Europe. Whatever the challenges migration might bring, there is never a justification for hostile, racist or xenophobic reactions to migrants.
Another important issue that I had a chance to discuss with the President is the situation in the Western Balkans. I came here to listen. I am always very happy to hear first-hand from countries like Croatia how you see the situation in our neighbourhood. We agreed that enlargement, despite the prevailing mood of some kind of enlargement fatigue, should remain a strong priority for the European Union. This is also my personal deep belief. In this context, I thank the Presidents of Croatia and Slovenia for their joint letter on enlargement that I received yesterday. Good cooperation between your two countries on regional cooperation and European integration is a promising sign. For sure we need it, especially in this region.
We also discussed Russia and the crisis in Ukraine. We are rapidly approaching the deadline for the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. It is critical that everyone makes every effort to ensure that this deadline is respected. Let me add that I am concerned about the violence in Kiev yesterday. In a sense this shows the strong determination of the Ukrainian government and parliament to honour their obligations and implement the Minsk agreements, also on very sensitive issues such as granting special status for parts of Ukraine. It shows Ukraine is ready to pay a high price for peace.
To conclude. All of these challenges are very serious. All of them can only be overcome by a united European response. And I strongly believe in the determination and political will of all EU countries to prevail. Thank you.