"Both countries hope Macedonia will get the date for the beginning of EU membership talks soon,“ Croatian deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said in Zagreb after meeting her counterpart from Macedonia Fatmir Besimi, AA reported.
Pusic added that she hopes Macedonia will also receive an invitation from NATO soon.
"We harmonized some agreements between two countries hoping to improve agricultural and trade cooperation,“ Besimi said.
The Croatian foreign minister also said that she seesEU enlargement toward south-east Europe as a consolidation of European territory, rather that simply an enlargement issue.
"Macedonia is making some reforms in the field of freedom of speech, human rights, administrative reforms and commerce. We agreed to cooperation with Croatia on different fields, and we consider this country as a friend in the EU, a friend that will support our association,“ Besimi said.
Macedonia has been a candidate country since 2005. A number of reforms are requested of this country from Brussels in order to continue association talks, including a solution for the name dispute with Greece, as well as relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria.
Greece insists that Macedonia’s name implies territorial claims to its own northern province, also called Macedonia.
Bulgaria joined Greece last autumn in blocking Macedonia’s accession bid, alleging discrimination and hate speech towards Bulgarians inside and outside Macedonia.
Beside Macedonia, the status of a candidate country is currently also given to Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.