Zagreb - Croatia advocates Macedonia's efforts to join the European Union and NATO, and is hopeful that the long-standing Macedonian process of coming closer to the Euro-Atlantic institutions will be son unblocked, Croatian Parliament Speaker Josip Leko said on Friday after the talks with his visiting Macedonian counterpart Trajko Veljanoski in Zagreb.
-We are not happy to see that the process of Macedonia's integration into NATO and the European Union has been halted over the dispute with Greece, and Croatia wants the entire Balkans to be integrated in the said institutions, Leko said.
Veljanoski, who arrived in Zagreb for a two-day visit, congratulated Croatia on its admission to the EU on 1 July 2013, voicing his belief that this newcomer in the EU would advocate Macedonia's interest. He also thanked Croatia for being one of 130 countries that recognised his country under the name as cited in its constitution. Zagreb recognised that country under the name "the Republic of Macedonia" in October 2009, a few months after its admission to NATO. Macedonia's integration into NATO and the EU has been blocked by the insistence of Greece that its northern neighbour should not use the name "Macedonia".
Leko and Veljanoski said that Croatia-Macedonia bilateral relations were a model for good-neighbourly relations in the region as well as in Europe. During his stay in Zagreb, Veljanoski will be received by other Croatian officials, including President Ivo Josipović. (Hina)