ZAGREB, June 1, 2019 - Croatia aims to become an energy hub and a link between Central Europe and the Mediterranean, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Friday at the "Energy Security for the Future" forum in Monaco, to which she was invited by Albert II, Prince of Monaco, the president's office said in press release.

This is the fourth edition of the energy forum at which the strategic vision of Europe's energy security is being discussed. In addition to Croatia's president, other speakers were the head of the European Liberals (ALDE), Guy Vehofstadt, former Italian prime minister and European Commission president Romano Prodi, former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Slovenian president Danilo Turk, and leading experts in the energy and finance sectors.

Addressing the forum, Grabar-Kitarović underscored that, considering Croatia's geo-political position, on the crossroads of Central Europe and the Mediterranean, its objective is to become an energy hub and a link between the two regions, the press release said.

The president announced that by 2030, Croatia would implement energy transition by satisfying its energy needs from domestic sources, primarily renewables, but also by opening new hydrocarbon sites, for which tender for fields in Slavonia and the Dinarides are under way.

Combined with strategic projects like the LNG terminal on the island of Krk and the Ionian-Adriatic gas pipeline, Croatia will round off its energy security concept in the best possible way, she said.

She underscored that Croatia would put energy connectivity and work on an energy union high on its list of priorities during its chairmanship of the European Union early next year.

Grabar-Kitarović believes that over the past decades the EU faced a series of problems in its energy policies, noting dependency on external suppliers, exposure to external shocks, high energy prices, an outdated infrastructure, and the existence of energy islands, all of which meant that Europe's energy security has to be primarily observed through one of the priority projects - the establishment of an energy union.

She added that not one country in the united Europe should be deprived of the benefits stemming from secure energy supplies, and underscored that Europe has to be a community of secure, prosperous and independent countries in every sense and everywhere.

With that in mind, four years ago Croatia launched serious political communication on the Adriatic-Baltic vertical corridor with the aim of overcoming development differences between so-called old and new Europe, she said and added that that process has in a very short time grown into the Three Seas Initiative as an informal platform for cooperation between 12 EU member states on projects of common interest.

In that regard, Grabar-KItarović underlined that priority energy projects, like the gas connection between Poland and Lithuania, the development of a gas transport system along the corridor from Bulgaria to Austria, the Eastring or Ionian-Adriatic gas pipeline and the LNG terminal in Croatia, once they are built will once and for all end the energy uncertainty and insecurity of the entire central European area, the press release said.

The participants of the Three Seas Initiative have the undivided support of EU institutions and the US as a reliable friend, ally and energy partner, she said.

The fourth summit of the Three Seas Initiative will be held next week in Slovenia. In addition to Croatia's president, seven other presidents and foreign ministers will attend, including US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.