Zagreb: Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Wednesday set out four priorities for his country's presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), highlighting "a Europe that connects".
Croatia will take over the Council of the EU's rotating presidency from 1 January to 30 June next year.
Speaking at a conference in Zagreb, he said Croatia's four prioritised goals are a Europe that is growing and developing, a Europe that connects economically, energy-wise and infrastructure-wise, a Europe that protects and a Europe that is globally influential.
Plenkovic stressed that a "Europe that connects" is needed and thus it is necessary to further develop transport, energy, and digital infrastructure.
"We will stand for a Europe that protects its citizens while respecting and protecting the rule of law," the prime minister said.
Plenkovic noted that the EU is the world's second-largest economy, accounting for one fifth the world's gross domestic product (GDP) and that the EU economy and labor market are faced with increasing competition from other economies.
"The answer to that is a stronger Europe that is developing and growing in a balanced and inclusive way," the prime minister noted.
During its presidency, Croatia will also advocate the further enlargement of the EU to the southeast of Europe.