Croatian President discusses EU accession, Czech investment during Prague visit

Stjepan Mesic and Vaclav Klaus, photo: CTK

The President of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic, is on a two-day visit to the Czech Republic. The main topics on his agenda are Croatia's bid to join the European Union in 2009 and the possibilities of Czech investment in Croatia, which remains the favourite summer destination for Czech tourists. Pavla Horakova has more.

Stjepan Mesic and Vaclav Klaus,  photo: CTK
On Monday, President Mesic met his Czech counterpart, Vaclav Klaus, who once again spoke in favour of Croatia's bid to join the European Union. After the meeting, President Mesic said Croatia can take example from the Czech Republic as to how to speed up the accession process and also defend its national interests within the union.

"We are not waiting until the Czech presidency of the European Union - we are in close contact right now. The Czech Republic can give us the best advice concerning the process of negotiations. We are hoping to meet all the requirements, adopt the standards and carry out the reforms by the time of the Czech presidency and we expect to be ready to join the EU by then."

President Stjepan Mesic unveiling the foundation stone to a monument to Nikola Tesla,  photo: CTK
President Mesic also called on Czech investors to turn their attention to Croatia. He said Czech tourists were always welcome on the Adriatic coast and that Croatia's tourist industry was still in need of investment and would therefore welcome the involvement of Czech capital.

"There is plenty of room for development within the Croatian tourist industry. It is one of our most important industries and we are specifically interested in Czech capital as that would enable us to combine the useful with the enjoyable. In fact, Czech tourists had discovered Croatia and its tourist possibilities and it's quite understandable that Czech capital should participate in the development of tourism in Croatia. Not just on the sea coast but in the whole of Croatia. But we also expect investment in other fields of our economy."

On Monday, President Stjepan Mesic in Prague unveiled the foundation stone to a monument to Nikola Tesla, the world-renowned Serb-American inventor, born in Croatia. Tesla spent time in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s and was awarded with a high state honour by then President Edvard Benes.