Albanian president visits Varaždin County, awards honorary consul


VARAŽDIN, 30 October 2019 (HINA) – On Wednesday, in Breznički Hum, the president of Albania Ilir Meta awarded the honorary consul of his country Stjepan Šafran for special civic merit in assisting the Albanian diaspora in Croatia and promoting Croatian economic investments in Albania.

During his state visit to Croatia, Ilir Meta visited the Varaždin County. He was welcomed by both Varaždin and Koprivnica-Križevci County prefects, Radimir Čačić and Darko Koren, on the Šafran family estate.

For these two counties and the Međimurje County, the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Albania was opened in February 2017 in Varaždin. Stjepan Šafran, entrepreneur, was appointed the honorary consul. Upon receiving the award, he said he was glad his effort in developing relations between Albania and Croatia were recognized.

“This is not only my award. This is an award for everyone involved in the matter, especially the Ambassador and the Embassy of Albania in Croatia, the Croatian Chamber of Economy, our ministers, and especially the Minister of Economy, Darko Horvat, as well as everyone else who contributed in bringing these two markets closer”, said Šafran.

He said a lot can be done for both economies in question.

“Great investments are made in Albania. I am sure Albanian people may find something interesting in Croatia, but we need to create the right conditions and opportunities”, said Šafran.

A visit by the president of a country “opens the door and sends a message to entrepreneurs. This message is straight-forward: come, cooperate and work. That is what drives us”, added Šafran.

President Meta emphasised the good relations between the two countries and thanked the honorary consul Stjepan Šafran for improving them.

“Stjepan Šafran has done so much to improve the cooperation between the Croatian and Albanian regions, but also to promote the economic relationship and overall collaboration between the countries”, said the Albanian president.

He was content that Albanians living in Croatia have a member of parliament to represent them, and that the Croatian president supports learning the Albanian language in Croatia — the same will be done with the Croatian language in Albania.

“We expect improved integration of Albanians in Croatia because they deserve it due to their contribution in the fight for freedom of Croatia in the Homeland War”, said Meta.

Radimir Čačić, the prefect of the Varaždin County, recalled that this was the second visit of the Albanian president to the Varaždin County, which is currently establishing cooperation with the Albanian region of Elbasan. The Varaždin County can offer its experience in accessing European funds and, as a European center of excellence, experience in primary and secondary education.

Čačić emphasised that there is still room for improvement in the economic cooperation of Croatia and Albania.

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