Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Citizens Have Right to Call for Throwing Rotten Eggs at Politicians, MP Says

ZAGREB, 26 Jan 2022 - Citizens have the right to call for throwing rotten eggs at politicians, independent MP Karolina Vidović Krišto said on Wednesday, labeling the recent arrest of two men for allegedly threatening Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Facebook as shameful acting out by those in power.

Last week's arrest of a 72-year-old who said Plenković "should be welcomed with rotten eggs" when he came to Zadar and a 49-year-old for calling Plenković a "baboon" was a shameful acting out by "corrupt ruling structures alienated from the people" and an antidemocratic act, the MP said in a statement.

"Croatian citizens are justified, in their helplessness and exposed to arrogant powerful structures, in having the right to call for throwing rotten eggs at politicians."

The ruling structures are openly breaking the law, getting rich illegally, corrupting the media, and running the judiciary, Vidović Krišto said.

She added that Plenković was "personally involved" in a "long list of corruption scandals," that he "has HRK 5 billion in his account, yet the government has not rebuilt even one house either in Banovina or in Zagreb" after the 2020 earthquakes, and that he "is a symbol of incompetence and the anti-democratic state of affairs."

The key political stakeholders, the key media, and the judiciary are insulting citizens on a daily basis by breaking the law, through tax plunder, and by destroying the health system, the MP said, asking "who will send Plenković and his supporters for police questioning for impoverishing Croatian citizens, destroying the legal system, and systematically emptying" Croatia.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 24 January 2022

PM Plenkovic Claims to Have Made Life for Croatian Islanders Better

January the 24th, 2022 - PM Andrej Plenkovic has claimed that his government (HDZ) has pushed life for Croatian islanders in a better direction, adding that the digital transition is a huge chance for Croatian islanders in many ways.

As Morski writes, after visiting the moonlike island of Pag and participating in the "Croatian Island Product" for 2020 and 2021 award ceremony, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stressed that this initiative, which has been going on since way back in 2007, is a great example of promoting island economies, indigenousness, cuisine and agricultural products - all that makes up the true identity of not only the islands but Croatian islanders themselves.

The Croatian island product label, he added, is a guarantee of quality and originality, and is proudly placed on products from the islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Pag, Krk, Lastovo, Dugi otok, Rab, Cres, Lošinj, Prvic, Ugljan, Mljet, Solta, Zirje, Pasman, Iz, Murter, Olib, Kornati, Rab, Silba and Zlarin and the Peljesac peninsula.

He pointed out that the maritime orientation of Adriatic Croatia is important for understanding Croatia and its differences, but above all - its riches and what it has to offer.

"The government wants the sustainable management of island resources"

''Croatian islands are among the riches of this country that many of our friends have come to love and appreciate. In terms of tourism, the islands are always among the most attractive destinations, visited by many tourists, and they want domestic products,'' said Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, talking about the meaning of the Croatian Island Product initiative which emancipates the tradition of Croatian islands and Croatian islanders in a visible and recognisable way.

He said that his government had partly continued and partly improved the strategic, legal, programmatic, project and financial framework for improving life on the islands and providing more support to Croatian islanders.

He added that the islands are also part of Croatia's National Development Strategy until the year 2030, which emphasises the direction of development of smart and sustainable islands, fully incorporated into global and European Union (EU) trends. The government also wants the sustainable management of island resources, respect for specifics and the greater availability of infrastructure and public services.

''In the future, the islands will be the focus of one of the most important global topics - the issue of climate change,'' he pointed out.

''The digital transition is a huge opportunity for Croatian islanders''

In addition to the green transition, Prime Minister Plenkovic emphasised, the digital transition is also important for the country's many inhabited islands. He said that it was a huge opportunity for island inhabitants, noting the fact that Croatia was the first to embrace digital nomads, given that today, internet platforms for work and more or less everything else can be used from anywhere in the world.

Croatia also has a National Island Development Plan, added Prime Minister Plenkovic, which aims to improve the availability of health and social services and strengthen all of the brimming potential of the islands that will have an impact on demographic trends and economic revitalisation. It will also work to further encourage the creation of the proper entrepreneurial infrastructure for island economy development, competitiveness, innovation, and increase the recognisability of island products and services. On top of that, it will work for the protection of nature and the environment and the use of renewable energy sources.

One of the key topics, Plenkovic also pointed out, is the mobility of Croatian islanders and frequent transport connections, not only from the islands to the mainland but also between the islands themselves.

He stated that 1.8 billion kuna had been invested in transport and transport connectivity, 300 million kuna had been invested in the economy and employment, 262 million kuna had been invested in agriculture, 166 million kuna in energy, 162 million kuna in water management, while when it comes to the budget, another 560 million kuna had been invested, and 206 projects worth as much as 118 million kuna had been co-financed through the Island Development Programme.

''We're going to continue to do everything to keep our people living on the islands and to make life better for them,'' he said, emphasising that fact that the island of Pag is one of the great examples of recognisability in this way.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Croatian Island Product Designation Example of Promoting Economy, PM Says

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković attended a Croatian Island Product award ceremony for 2020 and 2021 in the town of Pag on Pag island on Friday, saying it was a great example of promoting the economy, cuisine, and farm products.

The Croatian Island Product designation is awarded by the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry. For 2020, it was given to 27 producers for 45 products and for 2021, to 23 producers for 78 products.

The designation is given to applied arts and design products, chemical products, foodstuffs, and beverages.

To date, the designation has been given to 320 producers for 1,094 products from 24 islands.

The prime minister said the islands were part of Croatia's riches and among the most attractive tourist destinations.

"Tourists want a domestic product, the Croatian Island Product. The producers have tried to emancipate all our tradition in a visible and recognizable way," he said, adding that the government has "enhanced the strategic framework of improving life on the islands as well as the legal, program, and financial framework of extending support to the islands."

He recalled that the islands are part of the national development strategy up to 2030.

Had there been no coronavirus, he said, all topics would have focused on climate change, which affects life on the islands. He underlined the green and digital tradition, saying that the latter is a huge opportunity for island people.

"We have opened the labor market to digital nomads as well as to our people. One can actually work from any part of the world via internet platforms. It's necessary to establish a stimulating enterprise infrastructure. There's also nature and environmental protection and the use of renewable energy sources. Everything will continue to be done so that people continue to live on the islands and Pag is one of the brighter examples," Plenković said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Plenković and Gotovina Pay Tribute to Defenders Killed in Operation Maslenica

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and retired General Ante Gotovina on Friday paid tribute to the Croatian soldiers killed in 1993 Operation Maslenica.

"This is an opportunity to remember all Croatian defenders, soldiers, and police, who gave their lives for the freedom of Croatia and the Croatian state, which had been desired by generations of Croats for centuries and which we now have," Plenković said during a ceremony at the monument near Maslenica Bridge in Zadar County.

"Croatia is now a free, democratic, and developed member of NATO and the European Union, and all this would not have been possible without the defenders. Once again, on behalf of the government, ahead of tomorrow's anniversary, I wish to thank them and their families for everything they did for Croatia," the prime minister said.

Gotovina said that the purpose of Operation Maslenica was to push the Serb forces as deeply as possible into the hinterland to ensure the free flow of traffic, put Zadar's Zemunik airport into operation, and put the Peruča dam under control.

"The operation was completed and its goals were achieved. We had 180 personnel killed several hundred wounded, and we paid our respects to those people. It is thanks to them that today we have a sovereign state, a safe country, and a free society," Gotovina said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Dario Hrebak: Croatian Covid Certificate System Should be Scrapped

January the 21st, 2022 - Should the Croatian covid certificate system be scrapped? With all eyes now on 2022's summer tourist season and the arrival of the much more mild but highly infectious Omicron variant, questions are hanging in the air.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at a recently held coalition meeting, the situation with the spread of coronavirus, the new Omicron variant, and all of the accompanying epidemiological measures, including the issue of the Croatian covid certificate were discussed.

"What is good is that the Prime Minister comes and listens to us every Tuesday, and new proposals are always on the table. I talked publicly recently at the coalition meeting about what Israel has done, I think Israel is doing a good job as far as the coronavirus pandemic is concerned, I think we're doing a good job too, but it's precisely because I think we're doing a good job that we need to rethink some things. We have 16 thousand infected people, and yet hospitalisations are drastically dropping, the number of positive results among those tested is still growing, I don't think there is any need to test people anymore. As soon as over 50 percent of those being tested return positive results, there is no longer any need for testing.

I'm going to be open now, I always speak responsibly, but I always try to speak with common sense as well. We also have to think about the upcoming summer tourist season. We now need to simply revoke the Croatian covid certificate. They should have been adopted when they were adopted, but now is the time to abolish them, I suggested that at the meeting of the ruling coalition,'' said Dario Hrebak, president of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) for HTV's Otvoreno (Open).

Asked whether or not the ruling party, HDZ, was ready to support this proposal, Josip Boric, vice president of the HDZ MPs' Club, said he had not been to the meeting and did not know what the discussions were, but has always listened to what the Civil Protection Directorate advised and said.

PM Andrej Plenkovic has since stated that the Croatian covid certificate system will remain in place for now, with Beros adding that the vaccination rate among the domicile population is still much too low to consider removing any epidemiological restrictions.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Plenković: I Want No Involvement in Conflict Between Banožić and Milanović

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he wanted no involvement in the conflict between the Defence Ministry and the Office of the President, adding that President Zoran Milanović's letters to him were irrelevant but that the ministry and the president's office had to communicate.

"Sending me letters and then making them public via the media is absolutely unacceptable, I consider all of his letters totally irrelevant," Plenković told reporters after a government session.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić said earlier today that President Milanović should declassify documents on his travels and that he would then declassify the findings of an inspection in the office of the Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj.

The PM said that he had not read the report on the inspection in Hranj's office but would do so once he found the time.

"I do not consider it to be very important, the minister has stated his position on the matter," Plenković said.

As for Milanović's statement that he sees no possibility of cooperation with Banožić over the latter's campaign of strategic harassment, Plenković said that he could say the same about Milanović.

"I think the President of the Republic has been strategically harassing a huge portion of civil institutions, commentators, media, and political actors and we do not see any possibility of further cooperation, yet we are open to dialogue," the PM said.

Asked if he would demand that Banožić make the said report public, Plenković said that he would not because it was not Banožić who had classified the document.

Asked again why he would not, given that Banožić had been the one to request the inspection, the PM said that Banožić had not requested it for the public's sake but for his own sake.

"Banožić has said that he is satisfied with the report, if he is satisfied, it's fine with me," he added.

Asked if the Armed Forces could function if there was no communication between the Defence Ministry and the Office of the President, Plenković said that they had to communicate and that he recommended they do so.

He confirmed that he would soon forward agreements on the purchase of the Rafale multi-purpose fighter jets to the Office of the President.

"He has every right to it, he is the head of state. Whether there is room for cooperation is irrelevant, he has the right to see the agreements and he will obtain them, of course, they, too, are confidential."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Some Can't Appreciate Croatia's Success, PM Says

ZAGREB, 17 Jan 2022 - Croatia's EU entry was difficult because it was necessary to make up for the lost war years, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday, adding that some could not appreciate that today.

Speaking at the Zagreb Faculty of Law on the topic "Croatia's international position: from independence to new challenges and opportunities," he recalled Croatia's difficult path to the recognition of its independence during the Greater Serbia military aggression and later on to EU membership.

"Entering the Union was a process that was anything but simple... In the 90s, unlike other Central and Eastern European countries, we were left completely on the margin."

As we were dealing with occupied territories, refugees, and the war damage, he said, Central and Eastern European countries were becoming financial investment centers.

That fact, Plenković added, created a distance between those countries, which were making fast progress towards the Union, and Croatia, which was trying to catch up.

Trust between old and new Europe

He said the key element for EU enlargement was trust between "old" and "new" Europe. "The key element is trust between Europe's East and West. It isn't written anywhere, yet it's the key to everything."

Plenković recounted an exchange with a British diplomat who said, "You leaders of Eastern and Central Europe pretend you are ready, we in the West pretend we want you."

Croatia's EU accession in 2013 "was very demanding, very difficult. When I look at some political actors today, even the public, I almost have the impression that some people don't appreciate that," he said.

Plenković went on to say that the Schengen and euro areas were the only "deeper" structures Croatia should join and that decisions on that would be made soon.

"We are entering Schengen at a time when Schengen is not what we would like it to be, to freely cross borders... Today, because of three elements - the migration crisis, terrorism, and COVID - it's the opposite. Internal controls are everywhere and the goal is to protect the EU's external border, prevent terrorism, and put the pandemic under control so that we can go back to free movement as it used to be."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Plenković: No One Can Be Happy with Decrease in Population

ZAGREB, 17 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that no one can be pleased with the population decrease but it was not unexpected, stressing that the government will do everything to mitigate the negative trends and improve the positive ones and noting that demographic issues go beyond the framework of one government.

After presenting the bill to adopt the euro as legal tender in Croatia, the prime minister was asked by the press to comment on the 2021 population census, which shows that Croatia has 396,000 fewer residents than ten years ago.

"Naturally, these results are not good, no one can be pleased with them, but at the same time when observing broader trends, they were not unexpected and can be explained quite easily," said Plenković.

He first warned of the structure of the 396,000 fewer people, saying that the difference between births and deaths is 165,000 while the remaining 230,000 refers to 110,000 registered and 120,000 unregistered emigrants.

Referring to the negative natural increase, Plenković noted that this process has been ongoing for 70 years, recalling that in 1948, 95,000 children were born annually, while their number declined by 60,000 to 35,000 in 2021.

In reference to the number of emigrants, he recalled the fact that this has resulted from Croatia's accession to the EU as one of the fundamental freedoms in the EU is the free movement of workers.

"Prior to 2013 you could emigrate to an EU country only if you met one of two criteria - obtaining a work permit or being part of some sort of quota," Plenković recalled.

"Now in 2022, in the ninth year of EU membership and ahead of entering the Schengen area and euro area, we are lifting our economy in terms of the average level of development within the EU and in terms of economic growth. We have the best credit rating ever, wages are increasing and by investing and using EU membership we are taking Croatia forward," he added.

The prime minister recalled that, unlike Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, which started ten years earlier, it was only in 2000 that Croatia started using EU funds and "catching up" will still take this entire decade, in which Croatia has €25 billion at its disposal.

He noted several government measures directed at improving the framework to help young families have more children but warned that is not "just an economic, financial or political issue," but also a matter of culture.

"That relates to the way of life we have today and it is not the same as in the 1950s or in the third decade of this century. Simply, the culture of life is different," he claimed.

The government will do all it can to relieve the negative trends and improve the positive ones. "However, that is an issue that is much broader than the framework of one government or one policy," he assessed.

Unfortunately, the data are as they are but many countries in Western Europe have negative natural increases and are compensating them with immigration, he added.

"We still are not in a situation where Croatia would need to compensate these trends with immigration. When you look at the largest number of people being born in many Western countries, when you observe children's origin, then you will see that many of them are the children of immigrants. These are all the facts that need to be put on the cards before any justification is made," the prime minister said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Andrej Plenkovic Visits Novska Gaming Campus, New Student Dorms

January the 14th, 2022 - Novska is having a complete and utter turnaround, becoming the Novska gaming campus which has just recently been put into function, as have new student dorms.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, it has been less than two years since Novska's former INA building was transferred to the portfolio of that city, which is rapidly positioning itself as the centre of the gaming industry in Croatia. The new building has been put into a new function by being transformed into new student dorms.

This has been a joint project of the City of Novska, Sisak-Moslavina County and the Croatian Government, which was officially opened this week by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who made sure to emphasise that this is just one project which is transforming Novska into the country's gaming centre as the industry of the future.

Two business incubators are playing host to more than 60 companies specialising in video games, while over 50 percent of the companies engaged in the gaming industry are registered in Novska where young people just keep on coming, which is the nucleus of development and new positioning of the city and the wider county.

In the specific case of the second student dormitory in this county, the education department has a prominent role, which verified a new subject for Novska's students - training to become technicians for video game development, resulting in the need to open the aforementioned student dormitory.

More than half of the students enrolled in this subject of study come from outside of the area, and 21 students will be the new tenants of the new building. According to Prefect Ivan Celjan, there is a recognition of the education and needs of today's students, but also the efforts of parents who are trying to achieve better conditions for their children. Owing to the deep understanding of the above, the student dorms will be fully funded, which means they'll be free of charge for end users.

The new dorms will house students from all over Croatia from Zagreb, Dugo Selo, Bjelovar, Kutinska Lipa, Stari Petrovo Selo, Kumrovec, Bektez, Koprivnica, Vodnjan and beyond, while the interest in the new field of study is unsurprisingly huge given the popularity of video games and the Novska gaming campus.

The Croatian Government has raised subsidies for entrepreneurs to the maximum (within the programme of the reconstruction and revitalisation of the local economy after a series of catastrophic earthquakes at the end of 2020) and this concept is being carried out in cooperation with the CES, being considered a magnet for young people who will come to Novska and hopefully decide to stay following their studies.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Works on Pelješac Bridge to Be Completed this Month, PM Says

ZAGREB, 10 Jan 2022 - The works on Pelješac Bridge will wrap up by the end of the month and the access roads are coming along too, so this tourist season it will be possible to drive across the bridge, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday while visiting the site in southern Croatia.

There is ten more days' work on the bridge and a peak traffic test is planned for the end of the month, to be followed by technical checks, he added.

"As announced, the construction of Pelješac Bridge will be near completion by the end of January 2022."

He said the construction of access roads by Austria's Strabag and Greece's Avax was "coming along" and that they were expected to "be near completion in May and June," while the completion of a road near Ston "should follow in early autumn."

"That's what's good at the moment, but this means that it will be possible to drive across Pelješac Bridge this tourist season, which means without crossing borders and the congestion in Neum," Plenković said, adding that thereby Croatia was becoming "a propulsive auto destination, which is extremely important in 2022."

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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