The President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic began her state visit to Ireland meeting the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. „Croatia and Ireland are not in favor of a multi-speed or multi-tiered Europe but rather of a Europe of States with equal rights that participate in shaping its future,“ stated President Grabar-Kitarovic after her talks with the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
“We discussed several essential aspects of our relations and our joint work within the framework of the European Union. We particularly discussed the European project, European values and our views that are very similar when it comes to it how the European project should continue. Against a multi-speed and multi-tiered Europe, for a Europe of countries with equal rights that participate in shaping its future,” stated the President.
The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union was an unavoidable topic in the talks about the future of the European Union. President Grabar-Kitarovic highlighted the importance of unity of the remaining 27 Member States adding that leaving the European Union does not mean leaving Europe.
“Although the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, it is not leaving Europe. It cannot just sail away from its location. We believe in good cooperation. To achieve this solidarity is necessary as well as joint positions and unity among the other twenty-seven Member States in negotiations with the United Kingdom,” stated the President. She added that in this process Croatia needs to ensure equality of our citizens in the United Kingdom with other citizens of the European Union.
Speaking of emigration from Croatia, especially of young people, and the fact that Ireland has become an attractive destination for Croatian emigrants, she expressed satisfaction that the Embassy of Ireland has recently opened in Zagreb. “Approximately 12,000 people have emigrated to Ireland. Considering the similarities between Croatia and Ireland, I am pleased that the Embassy of Ireland has opened in Zagreb,” said the President confident that this will help to exchange experiences.
“I look upon Ireland as an example of a country that transformed into modern society from a closed agrarian society,” she stated and underscored the role of education and investment into high technology in this process of transformation. “They invested much in education and high technologies. Ireland has become one of the European giants that probably best exploited European funds for projects of development and for the promotion of its economy,” added President Grabar-Kitarovic. In her words, Ireland knew how to attract investors and multinational companies with its tax policy and other measures.
“Immigration policy, how to attract young people, this is also very important. I believe that we will create prerequisites for the return of our people with experience that we need in order to open our society and eliminate the resistance to changes that exists in our country,” stated the President.
President Grabar-Kitarovic participated at the traditional tree planting ceremony in the gardens of the Office of the President of Ireland. On Parnell Square, part of the city north of Leaffy River, she laid a wreath in the Garden of Remembrance and visited the Museum of Irish Emigration (Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia; Photo Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Filip Glas).