Wednesday, 15 September 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Truth About Homeland War Indisputable

ZAGREB, 15 Sept, 2021 - Answering Homeland Movement MP Stipe Mlinarić's question when he would seek war reparations from Serbia, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during Question Time on Wednesday that the government was "working on this matter" and that the truth about the Homeland War was indisputable.

"The issue of war reparations and possible lawsuits against Serbia has been raised to the bilateral level, ministries and experts are involved in the process, we have not forgotten about it," he said, adding, "It is important that the truth about the Homeland War is beyond dispute in Croatia and internationally."

Plenković noted that people gone missing in the 1991-95 war and those who had been detained in prison camps had not been forgotten.

Serb minority MP Dragana Jeckov wanted to know about potential demographic measures, noting that there were fewer than 10 pupils each in 405 local schools and that those schools could soon be closed.

Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović said that Croatia was faced with challenging times in terms of demography, but that the government had been adopting a number of horizontal policies and that by the end of 2021 it would adopt a strategy for the country's demographic revitalisation and that favourable economic prospects would contribute to that.

"I am confident that in the period to come demographic indicators will be much better," he said.

Answering a question from Bridge MP Zvonimir Troskot, Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that after a recent accident, clear instructions had been issued in coordination with Karlovac County to establish an early warning system for residents living downstream the hydroelectric power plant "Lešće" on the river Donja Dobra to inform them when the plant releases water from its reservoir.

Answering a question from Hungarian minority and independent MP Robert Jankovics about the border with Serbia on the Danube, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said that talks to finally determine the Croatian-Serbian border were ongoing and that at the last meeting of the joint border commission in Belgrade in June 2019 it had been concluded that current inconsistencies regarding the cadastral border were not that big so as to prevent an attempt to regulate the matter by a bilateral agreement.

"Should that not be possible, there is the International Court of Justice," the minister said.

Speaking of EU funds, EU Funds and Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak said that the new statistical division into regions had increased grants for all businesses in Croatia and in all regions.

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

PM Andrej Plenković Calls on Citizens to Register Online For Population Census

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday called on all citizens to register online for the population census which began yesterday and will be conducted in two phases.

In the first phase, lasting until 26 September, citizens can take part in the census online, which the prime minister did, registering his family "simply and quickly," he wrote on Twitter.

"Let's use the possibility to register online. Let's do our civic duty and let's all take part in the 2021 Census," he tweeted.

By 3 pm today, over 177,000 citizens have taken part in the census online, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics said, the largest number in the City of Zagreb (58,214) and the lowest in Lika-Senj County (1,118).

The second phase begins on 27 September and lasts until 17 October, when census-takers will be visiting all households that have not registered online.

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

Monday, 13 September 2021

Prime Minister Confident Croatia Will Be Ready to Join Euro Area on January 1st, 2023

ZAGREB, 13 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday he was confident Croatia would be ready to enter the euro area on 1 January 2023.

Speaking at the 11th meeting of the national council for the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency, Plenković said Croatia had the full support of the European Commission and the European Central Bank to join the euro area.

"We approached this process in a very structured way, carefully. We believe we will fulfill in time all the commitments we undertook by entering the Exchange Rate Mechanism."

He said the government regularly discussed reform implementation in money laundering prevention, the business environment, public administration management, and the justice system, adding that he was confident all the ministries involved would fulfill what had been agreed.

Highly euroized economy

Plenković reiterated that over 60% of Croatia's export was to EU member states, over 60% of tourists in Croatia came from the euro area, over two-thirds of savings and half the loans in Croatia were in euros and that Croatia was already a highly euroized economy.

The experience of the countries which joined the euro area shows that it benefitted both their citizens and economies. Entering the euro area will eliminate the currency risk and exchange costs, reduce interest rates, boost foreign investment, and increase the possibility of financing on the capital market, which we are sure will have an additional effect on our credit rating, Plenković said.

That will also facilitate exports and tourist arrivals, he added.

By comparing pay and price trends in new member states, one can conclude that gross wages increased considerably in relation to price growth, he said. "Living standards increased considerably after the introduction of the euro."

Plenković reiterated that Croatia would have €25 billion in EU funds at its disposal in the years ahead.

"We expect an advance of €818 million could arrive in Croatia in the weeks ahead and, with the GDP growth we saw in the second quarter and which, after such a successful tourism season, will certainly be such in the third quarter as well, to embark on strong economic recovery, strengthening the resilience of the Croatian economy, quality of life, and raising the standard of our fellow citizens."

Dombrovskis: EC strongly supports Croatia's work and ambition to join the euro area

The European Commission Executive Vice President of for an Economy that Works for People Valdis Dombrovskis said at the meeting the Croatian government had shown a strong political will and set ambitious goals.

The Commission strongly supports the work and ambitions of the government and other Croatian institutions to join the euro area, which requires meeting all Maastricht criteria, he added.

Your economy is recovering well and will receive support via the recovery and resilience plan. Croatia is the biggest recipient of EU funds. 11.6% of GDP has been allocated to Croatia in grants, he said.

Dombrovskis said taking the euro path was worth it as it would lead to a more prosperous economy.

Asked by the press about the current inflationary pressures and if prices would go up once Croatia joined the euro area, the Commissioner said one should carefully monitor the impact of introducing the euro on prices also while preparing to introduce it in order to prevent significant price growth.

He said that when the euro was being introduced, product prices were being monitored in two currencies, among other things so that citizens could get used to prices in euros.

The relevant authorities will also have to monitor prices. Latvia, for example, where Dombrovskis was prime minister, conducted a campaign for a fair and equitable introduction of the euro.

Everything that was necessary was done to prevent the introduction of the euro from being used to raise prices, and even retail chains took part in the campaign, he said.

He added that no significant price increase was registered in the Baltic countries that entered the euro area last.

Plenković told the press there was no need for a referendum on euro adoption, explaining that during its referendum on its European Union's admission, Croatia also assumed the obligation to enter the euro area.

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

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Bozinovic's Comments on Vaccination Misinterpreted, Plenkovic Clarifies

September the 12th, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, who is also a leading member of the National Civil Protection Directorate, charged with setting out measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus, sat down to discuss all things ''pandemic'' in Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Bozinovic recently appeared on ''Interview of the week'', during which he spoke about the situation with the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Croatia, the excellent tourist season and more.

In the introductory part of the show, the Interior Minister spoke about the increased number of infected people, emphasising that we're now coming to the end of the height of a fantastic 2021 tourist season, which is at the level of record 2019, when we're talking about July and August. Compared to last year, he added, this year there were a lot more people present and activities going on, so infection growth was expected, including the fact that the Delta strain, which is much more contagious, is spreading rapidly and with apparent ease all around the world.

"We aren't at all surprised by the increase in the number of infected people, but we're entering autumn (…) and that's why we are talking all the time about recommendations that always come down to the same - maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask indoors, ventilating indoors and vaccinating people," he told HRT.

When all this is summed up, and when you see experiences from around the world, vaccination against the virus is, he believes, the only way out of the pandemic and the route we must continue to insist on - the more people get vaccinated, the smaller the reservoir is in which the virus will spread.

''Despite everything that has been going on, life mustn't stop, I think that we in the Government and in the Civil Protection Directorate have shown a very high degree of understanding for what people can accept at a given moment. Our measures have never been so strict, nor have they been accompanied by any repressive action by the police, but we can't just let the virus spread without any measures to make the environment more hostile for it in place. The minimum must remain,'' he added.

There will be no new lockdowns, nor will there be any sort of curfew, he said, adding that we have learned that we can calibrate anti-epidemic measures, but the only real protection is vaccination.

President Zoran Milanovic said that "this is all getting very much on people's nerves", and Bozinovic says that this is not a normal situation which we're used to, but the Government has a responsibility on its hands to protect people from the agent as much as possible.

"We have to take certain measures, we have to point out the dangers that are very real - more than 8,300 people in Croatia have died as a result of this virus. The danger is there, we have enough vaccines and everyone in Croatia can protect themselves in the most effective way possible,'' he added.

Some of the arguments against vaccination in this case are that vaccinated people can both spread the infection and become infected themselves. Bozinovic cited the example of the Split hospital, where 93 percent of all those hospitalised were not vaccinated.

"Of course, some vaccinated people get sick, some of them do sadly die, but most of those in that situation who are vaccinated are older, they're people who have various comorbidities, and despite vaccination, they fail to develop a sufficient level of immunity to protect them from SARS-CoV-2,'' Bozinovic told HRT.

Since then, Andrej Plenkovic has come out to state that ''nobody can be forced to be vaccinated'' given the fact that many portals have wrongly interpreted Bozinovic's comments on vaccination. 

"That isn't correct. He was asked about covid certificates, for some reason people thought he was talking about mandatory vaccination, he wasn't. Whoever has published that, please remove it,'' asked Plenkovic.

"We can't introduce the obligation to vaccinate for anyone because we said at the beginning that we wouldn't do that and we're sticking to it. We believe in the intelligence of Croatia's residents. I don't believe that there is anyone in Croatia who doesn't know that covid has existed for more than eighteen months now,'' he added.

He added that the government had done everything in their power to get people to have their vaccinations and that they weren't about to force anyone's hand.

"We can't force anyone to get vaccinated, but at the same time life... has to go on," he said, adding that minimal epidemiological measures are set to remain in place.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Plenković on 9/11: Croatia Stands in Solidarity With US

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - Croatia remembers the victims of the 9/11 attacks, extending its condolences to the families and expressing solidarity with the United States and the American people, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wrote on Twitter on Saturday. 

"The evil of terrorism is a global threat that we can eradicate through joint action and cooperation," Plenković said on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Three thousand people were killed in attacks by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group on 11 September 2001 after terrorists hijacked three aircraft and deliberately crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers.  

The 20th anniversary falls less than two weeks after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the longest US war in history, launched in retaliation against the al-Qaeda conspirators and leaders and the Taliban who gave them refuge.

For Croatia's latest news, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

PM: Croatia's Turning Red on ECDC Map as Expected

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a government session on Thursday that Croatia's turning red on the epidemiological map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was as expected given the spread of the much more contagious Delta coronavirus variant. 

"After it was orange and green on the ECDC map the whole summer, Croatia has now turned red, which is as expected considering the rise in the number of infections," he said.

"We are faced with the much more contagious Delta variant, which is more aggressive and spreads faster, and Croatia is already seeing an increase in the number of infections. We continue to insist that vaccination is the best and most efficient way to protect ourselves," he stressed, noting that so far close to 52% of the adult population had been vaccinated.

He recalled the basic epidemiological measures, such as room airing, physical distancing, mask-wearing, and personal hygiene, warning citizens against relaxing entirely.

The epidemiological restrictions applied in Croatia were appropriate to our mentality, health protection, and economic and financial trends, Plenković said, adding that compared to other countries, they had enabled a very good quality of life for Croatian citizens.

"Now it is important that the figures that are relevant at the moment - the number of hospitalizations, the number of patients in serious condition and the number of fatalities - be kept as low as possible," he said, adding that of the ten latest fatalities, only two had been vaccinated.

Most important part of tourist season without alarming situations

He expressed satisfaction with the tourist season, noting that there had been no alarming situations during the peak season.

Commenting on the coming census, he said that for the first time citizens would be able to self-enumerate via the e-Citizens (e-Građani) system.

The census will be conducted digitally from 13 to 26 September, after which data will be collected by around 8,000 census-takers, who will be in the field until 17 October, Plenković said.

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

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Croatian PM Sends Condolences Over N. Macedonia COVID Hospital Fire

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday sent a letter of condolence to North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and to the families of the victims who lost their lives in a fire that broke out in a COVID hospital in the western city of Tetovo on Wednesday evening.

We are very saddened by the news about the violent fire in the COVID-19 hospital in Tetovo in which many people lost their lives, Plenković wrote on his Twitter account.

"We are in our thoughts with North Macedonia and the families of victims," Plenković added.

At least 14 people died and many more were injured in that hospital fire in North Macedonia, health officials said.

The fire erupted after an explosion at about 2100 hrs Wednesday. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze for an hour before they managed to bring it under control.

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

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

PM Andrej Plenković Holds Welcoming Ceremony For Croatian Olympic, Paralympic Athletes

ZAGREB, 8 Sept, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Wednesday organised a welcoming ceremony for Croatian athletes who had competed at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, congratulating them on their achievements.

Addressing the athletes, Plenković said that the government appreciated and was very grateful for their achievements and promotion of Croatia on the global scene.

He said that his government had increased investments in sports by 100% and would continue to invest.

Attending the welcoming ceremony for the Croatian Olympic and Paralympic athletes were also Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac, Labour Minister Josip Aladrović, Defence Minister Mario Banožić and Croatian Olympic Committee president Zlatko Mateša.

During the 23 July-8 August Olympic Games in Tokyo, Croatia won eight medals: three golds, three silvers and two bronzes.

Croatian athletes with disabilities who competed at the 24 August- 5 September Paralympic Games won seven medals - three silvers and four bronzes.

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

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Sends Best Wishes to Jewish Community For Rosh Hashanah

ZAGREB, 6 Sept, 2021 (Hina) - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Monday extended his best wishes to the Jewish community on the occasion of the holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, with the traditional greeting "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year".

In the message he sent on his own behalf and on the behalf of his cabinet on the occasion of the 5782 Jewish year, Plenković wished an abundance of hope, health and prosperity to Jewish believers.

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

Friday, 3 September 2021

PM Andrej Plenkovic Expresses Pride for Main 2021 Tourist Season

September the 3rd, 2021 - PM Andrej Plenkovic hasn't been shy in expressing his feelings of pride towards what has so far been an excellent tourist season. The predictions back at the beginning of the year as the vaccine rollout was plagued with issues and lockdowns were still ''in fashion'' weren't good at all, and in light of that, the height of the Croatian tourist season of 2021 has been rather remarkable.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic took to Twitter to comment on the new ECDC corona map, according to which the Croatian coast has remained orange, but some parts of Croatia are unfortunately now in red. These areas are Slavonia, as well as Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

"According to the new ECDC map, the Croatian coast has remained orange even at the beginning of September. Foreign tourists have recognised Croatia as a safe destination and we could exceed 70 percent of the tourist results from the pre-crisis 2019. With responsible behaviour and with vaccination, we can protect the health and economy of Croatia!'' wrote PM Andrej Plenkovic proudly on Twitter.

It's worth remembering that Croatia's traditional tourism competitors across the rest of the Mediterranean generally had a worse epidemiological picture, with Spain, popular with Northern European tourists such as Germans and Brits having an extremely unfortunate situation on its hands. The whole of Greece, also popular with the above, is in red or crimson, while Cyprus is in crimson.

The whole of Portugal is also marked in red, as is France. Southern and central Italy are in red, while most other Italian regions are in orange. Croatia did excellently and managed to maintain an extremely favourable epidemiological situation throughout the height of the tourist season, which can be seen by the brilliant results and economic recovery.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

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