Hungary was the first EU member state the newly appointed Croatian FM Miro Kovač officially visited after his inauguration (and the second one after Bosnia and Herzegovina), which clearly bears a positive political message: despite all the tensions in our bilateral relations due to the MOL-INA case or the recent refugee crisis, we have only one choice – to work together.
His public lecture held at the Hungarian Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade was the closing event of his day in Budapest. He stressed that Croatia is located in a very special geostrategic position to which the government constantly has to adapt. There is a horizontal and a vertical cooperation at the same time. The first one links Croatia (and South-Eastern Europe) to Austria and Germany, the most important allies, while the second one means a Central-European dimension. Hungary, being a neighboring country and of strategic importance, comes into the picture in this second aspect.
He mentioned the Croatian willingness to take part in the Visegrad Cooperation as tightly as possible but admitted that he sees no chance to officially join the group. However, the V4+ formation (V4+Croatia+Slovenia) seems adequate to meet the goals of Croatia. He added that the so-called Quadriliterale (the loose cooperation of Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy) should be revitalized to some extent.
Moreover, Croatia will actively participate in every regional cooperation including the Berlin and the Brdo-Brijuni Process. The duties of the Foreign Ministry will be reshuffled in a similar way as they were in Hungary: the focus will fall on economic relations and foreign investments.
In order to ensure the economic prosperity of both Croatia and Hungary, the reestablishment of good neighborly relations is a must. Luckily enough, where there is a will there is a way.