Sunday, 1 August 2021

Kosovo's Kurti Thanks Plenković for Helping Bus Crash Victims

ZAGREB, 1 Aug, 2021 - Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti has sent a letter to his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković to thank the Croatian authorities and people for helping the Kosovo citizens injured in a traffic accident in eastern Croatia last Sunday. 

Ten people were killed and 45 injured after a Kosovo-registered bus, travelling en route from Frankfurt to Kosovo, veered off the A3 motorway at Slavonski Brod on the morning of 25 July and overturned.

"Your rapid response after the tragic accident at Slavonski Brod, where 10 of our compatriots were killed, the treatment of those injured and care for other passengers show your own great personal qualities and the generosity of the Croatian people," Kurti wrote in the letter carried by Kosovo media.

"Your selfless effort and the effort of the institutions of your country in providing all the necessary assistance to our compatriots has deeply touched our hearts. The people and government of the Republic of Kosovo will never forget this act of humanity and solidarity with our tragedy," he said.

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Saturday, 31 July 2021

Plenković: Croatia and Kosovo Act Together in Accidents

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2021 - Croatia and Kosovo act together in accidents, such as one that occurred on the motorway in eastern Croatia last week when 10 Kosovo citizens were killed, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in an interview with the Kosovo Albanian website Albanian Post.

"In accidents we stand and act together. We showed this not just in this accident, but also in earlier crisis situations and emergencies in the last 30 years," Plenković said.

"Croatia and Kosovo have good bilateral relations and understand each other well because we know how challenging the road to independence and state-building is," he added, recalling that Croatia had been among the first countries to recognise Kosovo's independence and was actively advocating its European path.

A Kosovo-registered bus, travelling en route from Frankfurt to Kosovo, ran off the A3 motorway at Slavonski Brod last Sunday. Ten Kosovo citizens were killed and another 10 seriously injured. All Croatian emergency services responded promptly, providing medical and other assistance to those injured and arranging accommodation for those uninjured. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti visited the injured passengers.

"Prime Minister Kurti wanted to visit the Kosovo citizens. He showed great commitment to his people and to those involved in this great tragedy that occurred," Plenković said.

The representative of the Albanian minority in the Croatian parliament, Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj, also provided a great contribution, he added.

"All relevant Croatian services and institutions responded promptly and made maximum effort to help the people involved in the accident, both those who were injured and those who were not," Plenković said. "The Croatian authorities did for the Kosovo citizens what they would do for Croatian citizens" and the rapid response prevented "the number of casualties from increasing."

An image of the Croatian flag, with an inscription saying "Thank you, Croatia", was projected on the Kosovo government building in Priština on Friday as a sign of gratitude to Croatia for helping the bus crash victims.

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Monday, 26 July 2021

Kosovo PM Flies in to Visit Injured Bus Passengers in Slavonski Brod Hospital

ZAGREB, 26 July 2021 - The prime ministers of Croatia and Kosovo, Andrej Plenković and Albin Kurti respectively, have visited the passengers injured in the bus accident that occurred on the A3 motorway at Slavonski Brod early Sunday morning. 

The Kosovo-registered bus with 67 passengers and two drivers on board, en route from Frankfurt, Germany to Kosovo, ran off the motorway at Slavonski Brod, eastern Croatia, at 6.20 am on Sunday, as a result of which nine passengers and the driver who was resting were killed. Forty-four passengers were injured.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Kurti flew into Slavonski Brod on Sunday evening aboard a Croatian army helicopter deployed in Kosovo as part of the KFOR peacekeeping mission. He was welcomed by Croatian Prime Minister Plenković, who had visited the injured passengers earlier in the day.

"I am glad that the prime minister of Kosovo promptly arrived in Croatia," Plenković said. Kurti said that this was a hard day for the people of Kosovo, extending his condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured.

Kurti thanked Plenković for the assistance provided by the Croatian government as well as the doctors at the Slavonski Brod hospital where the majority of the injured passengers are being treated.

"I visited all the patients and I want to thank the hospital's directors and all staff who are looking after the patients," Kurti said. He was accompanied by Kosovo's foreign minister, interior minister, health minister, and presidential chief of staff.

The two prime ministers also visited the passengers who were not injured, who are accommodated in a boarding house in Slavonski Brod.

Plenković reiterated that Croatia would provide all the necessary assistance.

Kurti said that Monday would be a day of mourning in Kosovo.

The Croatian police and prosecutors have opened an investigation, confirming that the driver has been arrested after admitting that he fell asleep for a moment.

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Thursday, 22 July 2021

PM: Marked Rise in New COVID Cases, Restrictions to Be Introduced in Adriatic Region

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that after a period of decrease and stagnation, the past week saw a marked increase in the number of new cases of the coronavirus infection, and he called for caution, adding that additional restrictions are being introduced in the Adriatic region.

The largest number of cases were registered in four Dalmatian counties which are all tourist destinations, so the national COVID-19 crisis management team will introduce additional epidemiological measures in that area to limit the possibility of the infection spreading, to control events with a greater number of participants, to avoid risks and to make tourist season possible, Plenković announced at his cabinet's session.

He added that the government took into account the health aspect, but also the tourist, economic, financial, and social aspects.

As for vaccination, he said that as of yesterday Croatia passed the number of 1.6 million people vaccinated with the first dose against coronavirus.

"That's very good, we're getting closer to the number of 48% of the vaccinated adult population. I still call on everyone, especially those in two minds or in fear, to get informed, to have confidence in the profession, medicine, all those who want to protect as many citizens as possible, and to decide to get vaccinated themselves," the prime minister said.

94% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients not vaccinated against this infection

He said that there was "an abundance" of vaccines and recalled last week's decision to enable all Croatian citizens without mandatory health insurance and Croatia from all over the world, as well as all other foreign nationals, to get vaccinated, so, for instance, someone from Mostar going on holiday to Makarska can get vaccinated for free there.

"I would like us to contribute to the protection against COVID beyond our borders also in that way because this is a global game, and with our action, we want to make that contribution," Plenković said, inviting people to use this opportunity.

He also underlined that 94% of hospitalized COVID patients had not been fully inoculated against that infection.

Ministers: Numbers growing, a new package of measures to be introduced

Health Minister Vili Beroš said at the government session that the number of COVID cases was unfortunately rising and that the epidemiological situation in some counties called for caution, while Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced the introduction of a new set of measures.

In the two-week period from 5 to 18 July, Zadar, Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties and the City of Zagreb registered the largest number of new cases, Beroš said.

"The numbers are unfortunately still growing, the increase in positive cases over the past seven days is 46.1%, the situation in some counties calls for caution, so it requires increased monitoring and caution," said Beroš, warning of the easy spread of the new variant of the virus and of several smaller hotspots.

He said the situation in hospitals was generally favorable, with the exception of some hospitals in Dalmatia, which are recording a slight increase in the number of hospitalized patients. There are currently 122 patients in hospitals, 13 of whom are on ventilators, he said, reiterating that 94% of hospitalized patients have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

A total of 2.9 million doses have been administered, and the minister announced pharmacies would join the vaccination process and issue COVID certificates.

On the 514th day since the outbreak of coronavirus in Croatia, 179 new cases have been registered, the percentage of positive tests over the past 24 hours is 4.56%, and Croatia's 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 35.9, the health minister said.

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

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

PM Andrej Plenković Extends Kurban Bayram Greetings

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday congratulated the head of the Islamic Community in Croatia, Mufti Aziz Hasanović, and all Islamic believers on Kurban Bayram, wishing that the Bayram days be filled with peace, health and joy.

Plenković also wished that "this time of sacrifice give you inspiration and strength to overcome the challenges and tests ahead."

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Saturday, 17 July 2021

Plenković: Italian Union Strengthens Identity of Ethnic Italians in Croatia and Slovenia

ZAGREB, 17 July 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Friday praised the role of the Italian Union in strengthening the identity of ethnic Italians in Croatia and Slovenia and congratulated the association on its 30th anniversary.

The Italian Union ("Unione Italiana"), headquartered in Rijeka, is an umbrella association of members of the Italian minority, that implements cultural programs with the aim of preserving and promoting the ethnic and cultural identity of local Italians. It is the union of more than 45 societies of local Italians and it has a branch office in Koper, Slovenia.

Addressing the ceremony, held in Rijeka on Friday evening to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its establishment, Prime Minister Plenković said that the participation of all ethnic minorities in the parliamentary majority made his cabinet happy.

He underscored the importance of the fact that representatives of ethnic minorities also participated in the executive branch of the government.

"I think that this is the best way to make headway and to make sure that all people living in Croatia feel well," Plenković said.

He promised that the Croatian authorities would continue providing strong support to the efforts of ethnic Italians to preserve their identity, culture, language, tradition, and customs.

This is particularly important in the relations between our two peoples, and in the past, there were periods in those relations that we feel happy to recollect and also some periods which we could remember with less pleasure, Plenković said, admitting that some parts of the history of those relations were not fortunate.

 It is important to put an emphasis on the things that connect us, on the future, on our cooperation rather than on the periods from the past that divided us, he added.

The prime minister again underscored an important role played by ethnic minorities in the political and social life of Croatia.

"We are a country with high representativeness of ethnic minorities in the parliament. As many as eight seats are designated for lawmakers representing ethnic minorities and we are proud of that,"  he said.

He promised further support of his cabinet in the implementation of operational programs for ethnic minorities, and Croatia's commitment to delivering on the goals of the 1996 bilateral agreement regulating the status of Italians in Croatia and Croats in Italy.

The Croatian parliament's Deputy Speaker Furio Radin said that Italian Union had always been committed to protecting the Italian community in this region even in the times which had been more difficult for local Italians.

Radin, who represents the Croatian Italians in the Sabor, said the Italian Union represented Italians living in Croatia and Slovenia in line with the international agreements and made a significant contribution to the relations between Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia and thus contributed to the cause of the European Union as a union connecting nations and people.

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Thursday, 15 July 2021

Plenković: I Believe in Social Agreement Between State and Citizens on Vaccination

ZAGREB, 15 July 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday he believed a social deal would be reached between the state and citizens on vaccination against COVID-19, calling on everyone who can get vaccinated to do so for the benefit of all and stressing that the "tool" for that has been ensured - the vaccine.

In an interview with the HRT public broadcaster, Plenković stressed the goal of vaccination was to gain collective immunity against COVID-19, recalled the government had provided enough vaccines, and congratulated everyone who had been vaccinated, with the percentage of vaccinated people in the adult population now standing at 46.3%.

The prime minister believes the agreement reached with employers would be implemented and that up to 70% of those employed in companies that will apply for business support due to the consequences of the pandemic would get vaccinated.

Earlier on Wednesday, cabinet ministers and social partners held the second round of negotiations at which it was proposed that businesses, where over 70% of workers have been vaccinated against COVID, would get payments for all workers, while those with lower percentages would get payments proportionate to the number of workers with COVID certificates.

PM Plenković appealed for common sense to prevail and solidarity so that all get vaccinated except those who cannot for medical reasons.

Railways - the largest investment

Talking about Croatia's National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the prime minister said no one, including Europe, was imposing reforms on us, but we knew ourselves that we had to carry them out.

He recalled that in addition to COVID, which hit the entire world, Croatia had four times more costs due to the 2020 earthquakes. Plenković explained that was why the entire National Recovery and Resilience Plan was based on the government's program and the national strategy, the key components of which were the economy, investments in all sectors guided by the logic of green and digital transformation and transition.

As for the announcement about the creation of 100,000 new jobs, the prime minister stressed we would achieve that in the sectors where we wanted - in the ICT sector, which was achieving phenomenal results in Croatia, with or mostly without the state, but also in traditional, tertiary industries, such as hospitality and tourism, which were yet to experience real recovery and investments.

Plenković recalled a huge step forward had also been taken in the energy sector and transport infrastructure so now, he said, we only had to make investments in the railway.

On 1 July, the Plenković cabinet adopted a document on the modernization and restructuring of the railway sector, which contains the main reform elements and presents an action plan for the reform of the railway sector. Croatia plans to invest about HRK 33 billion in upgrading the rail sector until 2030.

Status of Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats

Commenting on recent statements by President Zoran Milanović on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the prime minister said there was nothing new in them.

Because, he recalled, the position of the government and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has been for years that Croats, as one of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, must be equal, and the Dayton-Paris peace agreement must be respected.

He recalled that issue had existed since 2006 when Bosniaks elected a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Croats on the territory of the Federation entity, and that unfavorable "electoral engineering" had unfortunately been repeated several times since, the last time in 2018.

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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Women Work One Month For Free, Says MEP Glavak

ZAGREB, 14 July, 2021 - Women work one month for free due to lower wages and their total income, and consequently their pension, is lower because they care for children and the elderly, Croatian MEP Sunčana Glavak (EPP) said on Wednesday.

She was speaking at an event at Plitvice Lakes which discussed how to strengthen the position of women in Croatia and Europe, held as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Glavak said a division into men's and women's departments was not felt in the EP because the persons there were competent, but added that a balance had not been achieved anywhere in Europe.

She called on citizens to engage in a debate on that and other European topics via the Commission's platform “futureu.europa.eu.”

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said four women ministers in Croatia's 18 government departments was not enough, but added that they "run important departments and make a big contribution to this government."

He boasted that Croatian women hold high positions in European institutions - Dubravka Šuica is a Commission vice president, Marija Pejčinović Burić the Council of Europe secretary-general, Ivana Maletić a judge at the European Court of Auditors, and Maja Markovčić Kostelac the head of the European Maritime Safety Agency.

"As a government, we will continue to make an effort towards empowering and protecting women, towards equality and women's participation at a higher level and a high representation percentage," he said.

Present at the Plitvice conference were Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac, Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak and Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković, while Šuica and EPP Women President Doris Pack participated virtually.

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

 

 

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Croatian PM: Srebrenica Atrocities Are Defeat of Humanity

ZAGREB, 11 July, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković says in his message on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the Srebrenica tragedy that the insane atrocities committed in Srebrenica amounted to the defeat of humanity and that Croatians are in their thoughts with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On Sunday Plenković wrote on his Twitter account that today "the tribute is being paid to thousands of innocent Bosniak victims who will never be forgotten."

The killing of more than 8,000 Bosniak civilians, men and boys in Srebrenica 26 years ago when that eastern Bosnian enclave fell into the hands of the Serb force was described by the Croatian Prime Minister as "insane crime " which amounted to the defeat of humanity.

During this year's commemorative events, remains of 19 Srebrenica victims will be buried in the Potočari memorial centre. The youngest victims unearthed from mass graves are Azmir Osmanovć, who was a 16-year-old boy when he was killed, and 17-year-old Fikret Kiverić.  Also the remains of 24-year-old girl will be buried today.

So far, the funeral rites have been organised at the Potočari centre for 6,652 victims who were exhumed after the war from mass graves or from unmarked individual graves.

The families of another 237 victims buried their dearest ones in other cemeteries after the identification of the remains.

Also, the remains of 88 victims not yet identified are in the ossuary in Tuzla. In several cases, the agreement has not been obtained from families for burials as long as only parts of the bodies of their dearest ones are exhumed and identified. Those families wait for the discovery of the all the remains of those victims.

Since early Sunday morning, hundreds of mourners started flocking Srebrenica and Potočari.

To date, 48 sentenced for Srebrenica genocide to a total of over 700 years

International courts and local courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia have to date sentenced 48 wartime officials and military and police officers of Bosnia Serb to a total of more than 700 years

Five high-profile convicts have been given life sentences for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in July 1995 in Srebrenica. The wartime political and military leaders Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić were tried for charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Srebrenica, Prijedor, Ključ, and other districts of Bosnia, and these two masterminds of the Srebrenica tragedy have been sentenced to life in prison by the UN tribunal ICTY.

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Friday, 9 July 2021

Plenković Meets with Bulgarian, Estonian Presidents, Amazon Reps

ZAGREB, 9 July 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković held several bilateral meetings in Sofia on Friday, on the fringes of a Three Seas Initiative summit.

Plenković tweeted that he held talks with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on economic cooperation and cooperation within the Initiative, migration, the fight against COVID-19, and the two countries' ambition to join the Schengen and euro areas.

Plenković also held talks with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, who supported Croatia's Schengen bid.

"We appreciate Estonia's support in Croatia's ambition to become a member of the Schengen and euro areas," he tweeted.

Plenković and Kaljulaid also talked about economic cooperation, notably in energy and digitalisation, EU efforts in fighting COVID-19, and climate challenges.

He also met with representatives of the Amazon Web Service, tweeting that they talked about digitalisation in Croatia, plans for the company to open a regional centre in Zagreb, and cooperation in digital transformation, which he said would also create jobs.

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