Thursday, 16 June 2022

Grlić Radman: Things Moving Towards Opening Talks With N. Macedonia, Albania

ZAGREB, 16 June 2022 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, said in the North Macedonia lakeside town of Ohrid on Thursday that "things are moving towards" opening European Union membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Grlić Radman was participating in the Prespa Forum together with Western Balkans leaders and senior EU officials. He said that talks are under way and "things are moving towards finally launching accession negotiations" with North Macedonia and Albania.

He said he believes there is still enough time to reach an agreement before the EU-Western Balkans summit next week.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi are also in Ohrid, but representatives of Bulgaria have not been announced. Bulgaria has blocked the opening of talks with North Macedonia over identity issues, thus also blocking the path of Albania because the EU treats the two countries in a package.

Grlić Radman said that EU enlargement is the strategic interest of Croatia and the EU and that the Union must use all its legal mechanisms to ensure the implementation of the necessary reforms in the membership candidate countries so that they can join the bloc as soon as possible.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman For Opening EU Entry Talks With N. Macedonia, Albania as Soon as Possible

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - North Macedonia and Albania have met all the criteria to open EU accession negotiations as soon as possible and Kosovo deserves visa liberalisation, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday in Luxembourg.

"Albania and North Macedonia have met all the criteria and we believe that accession negotiations should be opened with them as soon as possible," said Grlić Radman upo arriving in Luxembourg for a General Affairs Council meeting.

The General Affairs Council is composed of foreign or European affairs ministers of the member states. They convened today to discuss preparations for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday on migration, enlargement and the stabilisation and association process.  Furthermore, the Portuguese presidency will inform the EU ministers about the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

One of the more important topics to be debated within Article 7 is the rule of law in Hungary and Poland.

Accession intergovernmental conferences with Serbia and Montenegro will be held on the margins of today's meeting, but without opening or closing any policy chapters. So-called political intergovernmental conferences are a new approach in the accession process.

Agreement still has not been reached to open negotiations with North Macedonia due to objections by Bulgaria and no progress is expected before elections in Bulgaria scheduled for next month.

There are no blockades regarding Albania, however some countries do not wish to separate the issue of opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

Grlić Radman that Croatia supports the motion for liberalising the visa regime for Kosovo as soon as possible.

Croatia would like talks on candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be launched as soon as possible too, said Grlić Radman and once again underscored the need for the election law in that country to be changed so that it ensures the equality of all three constitutent peoples.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Albina Grčić to Represent Croatia at Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam

February 14, 2021 - Albina Grčić is the winner of this year's Dora, the Croatian selection for Eurovision, and will represent Croatia in the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest!

Jutarnji List reports that with the song "Tick-Tock" written by Branimir Mihaljević, Albina Grčić will represent Croatia in May at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. The 22-year-old Split native and student of English language, literature, and history at the Faculty of Philosophy was both the jury and audience favorite in Opatija on Saturday night.

"I am not yet aware that I have won the Dora. All of this seems like a dream, and it is a beautiful dream in which I have invested a lot of effort and love. Thank you to my entire team, who have been a great support to me over the past months, from rehearsing to performing at Dora. I am happy that people recognized us. The competition was great, and if we had sent anyone else to Rotterdam, we would not have failed," she said after the victory.


Grčić was also remembered by the public as a finalist of last year's HRT show "The Voice." But unlike the heavy retro ballads that Albina sang during the popular TV spectacle, she presented herself in Opatija on Saturday in an entirely new, danceable, and much more modern light.

"My song ‘Tick-Tock’ is vastly different from what I’ve presented so far; I would say the genre has stayed the same, but the rhythm has changed a lot. This song is also my challenge and something I haven't had a chance to try before. One of my favorite verses is ‘You think you’re fancy but play the game my way...’. ‘Tick-Tock’ is a powerful song that represents my identity in my future career. In my opinion, she is exactly what I can imagine on the 2021 Eurovision stage. I think we have everything, and it is up to me to use it and present it to the Eurovision audience," added Albina, who celebrated the victory with a glass of champagne and showed that bookmakers should never be blindly trusted.

Namely, in recent weeks, they have ruthlessly favored second-placed Nina Kraljić, who performed in Opatija with the song "Rijeka" and the Alconost of the Balkans project.

The Croatian jury was led by Daniela Trbović, Barbara Kolar, Jelena Lešić, and Doris Pinčić, and the evening in Opatija was enhanced by Vesna Pisarović, a musician who performed twice at the Eurovision Song Contest - in 2002 in Tallinn with the song "Absolutely Safe" and won 11th place, and two years later as the author of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian song "In the disco", which placed ninth.

The winner of Dora was decided by the sum of the votes of the audience and the jury. 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Albania Donates €250,000 to Croatia after Earthquake

ZAGREB, Dec 30, 2020 - Albania will donate €250,000 to Croatia for post-earthquake reconstruction, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Wednesday.

"Just signed the Government of Albania decree to donate 250k EURO to brotherly Croatia to help the rebirth of Petrinja after the devastating earthquake! Croatia is an example of resilience and a role model for us in its amazing transformation into a proud EU country," Rama tweeted.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Albania in November 2019, claiming 51 lives. On that occasion, Croatia sent rescue teams and search dogs and donated €1 million at a donor conference organized by the European Commission for the reconstruction of hospitals and schools.

The 6.2 quake that struck Croatia's Sisak-Moslavina County on Tuesday killed at least seven and injured dozens, destroying hundreds of houses in Petrinja, Glina, Sisak, and nearby towns and villages.


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Defence Minister Says That President's Visit To Albania Was Official

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 - Defence Minister Mario Banozic said on Wednesday that according to his information President's visit to Albania was official and dismissed remarks that the ministry was keeping mum about the case.

"From what has been given to me in writing, it was an official trip, and the Conflict of Interest Commission will establish... if it was a private or an official visit," Banozic told the press in Split.

He said the media interpreted his recent statement about the president's visit to Albania flippantly. He explained that he was stating the rights which the president and Armed Forces commander in chief had in using military resources under the Defence Act.

Banozic said that in his statement he pointed to the amount that was paid because the expenses for the use of those resources were covered by the Defence Ministry, not the president's office and that he would always comment on that. He added that it was not true that the ministry was keeping quiet about it.

Banozic said the ministry did not participate in organizing the president's trips and that they were organized by the president's office in cooperation with its services.

He said the Armed Forces received a request, under the Defence Act, based on which he, as a minister, gave his consent for diplomatic or ceremonial purposes.

Banozic said he did not have the legal grounds not to consent to the use of the military and that any questions about this case should be put to the president's office.

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Friday, 5 April 2019

World Bank Foresees Croatian Economic Growth in Next Three Years

Economic growth in Europe and Central Asia slowed down to 3.1 percent in 2018, and it is predicted to fall to 2.1 percent in 2019 due to a slower rate of global growth and uncertain prospects.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of April, 2019, the Croatian economy continued to grow at a rate of 2.6 percent in 2018, while in the forthcoming period from 2019-2021 moderate growth is expected at an average rate of 2.5 percent, according to the World Bank's most recent report on the latest economic trends in Europe and Central Asia (N1).

The countries of the region recorded different rates of growth. Growth at the regional level has greatly contributed to positive developments in the GDP data of Russia as the largest economy in the region, just as the accelerated growth did in Albania, Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. On the other hand, Turkey has experienced a significant slowdown in growth due to the pressure of the financial market and currency issues. Namely, in 2019, it is expected to grow by 1.0 percent, which is a significant drop compared to 7.4 percent back in 2017.

"Europe and Central Asia are vulnerable to global uncertainty and are faced with serious long-term challenges such as aging populations, a decline in productivity, a decline in investment, and climate change. It is good that there are a whole range of possible solutions available when public policies are geared towards mitigating these challenges,'' stated Cyril Muller, Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia.

"Countries should work harder to attract investment, enhance their participation in global value chains, and ensure that more people are able to access financial services such as bank accounts and electronic payments."

Regional growth is expected to recover its power in 2020 and 2021, as it is predicted that the gradual recovery of Turkey will serve as a counterweight to the restrained activity in Central Europe as a whole. However, the long-term challenges of the region are still substantial.

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Vienna Institute: Croatia Continuing to Slow Down, Kosovo is Rising Star

As Adriano Milovan/Novac writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the economic expansion period for most of the transition countries, including the Republic of Croatia, is now over, and in the coming years we can count only on very modest rates of economic growth, this was the message from experts from the renowned Vienna Institute for International Economics Studies (WIIW).

According to the latest forecasts of the Vienna Institute, this year, Croatia can expect a growth rate of 2.6 percent. However, in the coming years, economic growth will slow down even more, meaning that the Croatian economy will likely grow at a rate of 2.5 percent in 2020 and again in 2021. Although the GDP growth rate of 2.5 percent doesn't deviate much from the previous growth rates in Croatia, given that they were still less than in other comparable countries of the so-called "New Europe", it's worth noting that this rate is still less than was previously expected.

Additionally, and more concerningly yet, the Republic of Croatia will be among the new EU member states with the lowest rates of economic growth of all. On the other hand, the fastest growing economies among transition countries will rather surprisingly be non-EU European countries, such as Kosovo and Albania and even more surprisingly, Moldova, at least according to an analysis taken by the esteemed Vienna Institute. According to these forecasts, Kosovo's economy, for example, was to grow at a rate of 4.1 percent this year, in the following year at a rate of four percent, and in 2021, at a rate of 3.9 percent.

In their forecasts, the analysts of the Vienna Institute cited the slowdown of economic growth in the world as a whole, especially in Germany, and the strengthening of protectionism in world trade and uncertainty brought about by Brexit (should it occur at all), as among the main reasons for the ''cooling'' of the transition economies.

Openly, however, the question remains about how the current crisis in Uljanik will reflect on the Croatian economy as a whole. Vladimir Gligorov, a longtime analyst at the Vienna Institute and now an external associate, says the events in Uljanik will have negative effects on the Croatian economy in the short term, primarily through the activation of state guarantees and the cost of dealing with former workers who will be left jobless, but in the medium term, it shouldn't actually reflect all that much on the macroeconomic image of the country that significantly.

The attitudes of Croatian macroeconomists, Zeljko Lovrinčević from the Zagreb Institute of Economics and Zdeslav Šantić, the chief economist of OTP banka, don't differ significantly from the above statement from the Vienna Institute, and they also don't expect huge consequences on the Croatian economy from the collapse of Uljanik. Moreover, Lovrinčević believes that the first half of this year could be even better for Croatia than expected, whereas we will likely only feel a slight slowdown in the second half of this year and next year.

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Click here for the original article by Adriano Milovan for Novac/Jutarnji

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Air Albania to Connect Zagreb and Tirana in 2018

The new routes to Zagreb's new terminal continue to be announced, with the Albanian capital of Tirana the latest, reports ExYuAviation on November 25, 2017.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

In Just Three Days, Nine People Cross into Croatia through Montenegro Illegally

Nine foreign nationals were caught illegally crossing the state border between Montenegro and the Republic of Croatia in four separate cases.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Albanians Hack Official Website of City of Dubrovnik?

Have Albanian hackers targeted Dubrovnik?

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