Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Paladina Has Accepted Nomination to Help Post-quake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 9 March 2022 - Ivan Paladina, who has been nominated as the candidate for the new construction minister, said on Wednesday that he could not turn down the proposal made by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for his nomination as it is a call to rebuild the earthquake-affected homes of Croatian citizens.

"We have little time and a lot of work to do. I accepted this proposal as it also concerns the call to reconstruct the homes of our compatriots," Paldina said while presenting his agenda at a joint meeting of the parliamentary committees on construction and the economy today.

He said that he is always guided by principles of cooperation, inclusion of different opinions and that he always listens to the opinions of professionals and wants to make things simpler.

"Administrative obstacles must not slow down the reconstruction of anyone's home and they must not hinder progress. People, who suffered damage in the (2020) earthquakes, must not fall victim to rules", he said.

He will also focus on making legislative changes so as to accelerate the processes of post-quake reconstruction.

Concerning the criticism from the Opposition that he was an executive of the company that ran the Kupari Luxury Hotels project, Paladina underscored that he had withdrawn from that project four years ago and that he launched procedures to exit from ownership, in this case, two years ago.

"All the investments I was included in were conducted in line with the law and market principles, and I paid my taxes accordingly", he said.

In response to the questions from opposition MPs, Paladina said that to date he has completed many successful investment projects in construction and real estate and that his experience could be useful for the post-quake reconstruction.

The ministerial nominee said that he had already consulted experts and has detected the main problems in the process of the post-quake reconstruction.

For more information on this, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

PM: Construction Minister Nominee's Experience, Enthusiasm to Contribute to Government

ZAGREB, 9 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Wednesday presented the nominated minister of construction, Ivan Paladina, in the parliament, and said that the candidate's experience and enthusiasm are supposed to be a useful contribution to his cabinet.

"The government needs a man with the experience in the construction sector, project management, and real estate and with managerial and entrepreneurial skills so as to make the processes more dynamic," Plenković said at the joint meeting of the parliamentary committees on construction and the economy.

Paladina, born in 1983, graduated from a faculty of economics and has also a postgraduate degree in management. He used to be an advisor to the management of Hrvatska Poštanska Bank (HPB) and before that he had been the chair of the management board of the IGH Institut construction company.

The PM said today that the ministerial department of construction and zoning had three important tasks: to accelerate the post-quake reconstruction, to make the issuance of building permits and other documents faster and simpler in order to boost the investment cycle, as well as to make use of the state property.

For more information on this, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

New Fuel Prices at Croatian Gas Stations Announced

March 8, 2022 - The government has made a decision that fixes the margin of oil traders and temporarily reduces excise duties on diesel and gasoline to mitigate rising prices. Thus, as of today, new fuel prices at Croatian gas stations are more expensive. You can follow the latest fuel prices on this page.

The new price of regular diesel is now HRK 12.51, and Class Plus diesel HRK 13.56. Ordinary petrol, ie Eurosuper 95 now costs 12.18 kuna, while Eurosuper 100 costs 13.11 kuna.

Recall, the government has made a decision which fixes the margin of oil traders and temporarily reduces excise duties on diesel and gasoline to mitigate rising prices, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in the introduction to the government session, writes N1.

"Fixing the price could lead to the closure of some gas stations"

If the retail price fix was extended, many distributors in the market would face the situation of operating at a loss, which could lead to the closure of some gas stations, he added.

"In order to avoid such a situation, we will enable their further business by fixing the total margin for diesel and gasoline at 0.75 kunas per liter and 0.50 kuna per liter for blue diesel," said Plenković.

Excise duties and margins will be valid for 90 days

In addition, he added, the amendments to the Decree on Excise Duties will reduce the number of excise duties on diesel and gasoline by 90 lipas per liter of unleaded motor gasoline and 20 lipas per liter of diesel fuel for a period of 90 days.

"In this way, we want to contribute to reducing the price shock on our citizens, and according to our calculations, this will lead to a reduction in state budget revenues from excise duties on energy over 150 million kunas," said Plenković

According to government estimates, the new measures will keep the price increase per liter of fuel, whether diesel or petrol, which would amount to around two kunas in real market trends, from an increase of 80 lipas to 1.20 kuna.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Croatia-UAE Cooperation Becoming 'More Serious', PM Says

ZAGREB, 6 March 2022 - The cooperation between Croatia and the United Arab Emirates will soon become more intensive and more serious, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a business forum between the two countries in Dubai on Sunday.

Plenković, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac arrived at Expo 2020 on the occasion of Croatian National Day at the exhibition.

They came to Dubai with numerous Croatian business people who attended the business forum.

"I would say that this stay at Expo, such a big turnout of Croatian business people and this business forum will contribute to increasing trade, which will soon pass US$ 100 million again," the prime minister said.

After meeting with UAE leaders, he said he had a "strong confidence that the cooperation between Croatia and the UAE will take a more intensive and more serious direction."

At the forum, Plenković presented the Croatian economy to the Arab participants, saying that Croatia has a stable economic growth and the highest investment rating in its history.

For more, check out our business section.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Plenković Talks Croatian Innovativeness, Cooperation With Arab World at Expo Dubai

ZAGREB, 6 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday attended the marking of Croatian National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, saying Croatia is a "country of investors" and that it has centuries-long ties with the Arab world.

Croatia is attending Expo for the first time since 2010 in China.

Today the Croatian Pavilion at Expo 2020 was visited by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, a member of the United Arab Emirates government and commissioner of the exhibition.

"UAE-Croatia relations have been growing considerably in the last decade and we wish to expand the cooperation in the commercial, political and cultural spheres," he said, adding that the Croatian pavilion symbolises the "growing relations" between the two states.

Plenković said he was proud of the "history, talent and creativity" of the Croatian people and the "beautiful and preserved nature and the diversity of the cultural heritage."

He mentioned the necktie, Faust Vrančić as the first man to jump with a parachute in 1617, criminalist and fingerprinting creator Ivan Vučetić, modern seismology founder Andrija Mohorovičić, and Nikola Tesla.

"Thanks to him (Tesla), in 1895 Šibenik became the first city whose street lighting received energy from a hydroelectric power plant," Plenković said and also mentioned the Rimac Automobili company, which made the fastest electric car in the world, which is displayed in the Croatian Pavilion.

"Besides an innovative and creative spirit," Croatia is also full of talent in sports, culture, music and art, he said, calling on those present to visit Croatia.

Plenković said the relations between Croatia and the Arab world dated back to the Middle Ages.

"For centuries, the Croats were the only Slavic people which maintained relations with the Arabs in the Mediterranean, and the Croatian republic of Dubrovnik traded intensively with the Arab states as a mediator between East and West," he said.

"Therefore it's no coincidence that the first mention of Croatia on the world map was on the one designed by the great Arab Islamic geographer and cartographer al-Idrisi in the 12st century," Plenković added.

He also mentioned Croatian philosopher Hermann the Dalmatian, one of the most important translators from Arabic to Latin, the author of the first Latin translation of the Qur'an, and the fact that Croatia was the third European country to officially recognise Islam as a religion in 1916.

Plenković was accompanied to Dubai by Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Plenković: Croatia Cares for Stability and Security in its Neighbourhood

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Croatia cares for stability and security in its immediate environment, promoting peace and good-neighbourly relations with the countries in southeastern Europe on their way to integration into the European Union and NATO, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in the Croatian Parliament on Wednesday. 

"We want everyone to refrain from any incidents, any inflammatory rhetoric or anything that might destabilise the otherwise tense situation in at least three countries in our neighbourhood. We can't have two hotspots in Europe at the same time. The chaos that we now have is enough," the prime minister said in response to questions from MPs during discussion on the situation in Ukraine following Russia's military invasion.

MP Bojan Glavašević (Green-Left Bloc) recalled the statement by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik in which he supported Russian President Vladimir Putin and called Ukrainian defenders "an armed gang".

"As for Dodik and his view on the Ukrainian defenders, I condemn it unequivocally," Plenković said.

Plenković said that Croatia was taking care of the security of the LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, a strategic installation thanks to which Croatia has changed its position on Europe's energy map, and making sure there were sufficient supplies of food and at affordable prices.

Asked by Andreja Marić (Social Democratic Party) about the readiness of the healthcare system for a nuclear threat, the prime minister said that the Health Ministry had formed a task force to take care of all aspects of healthcare in all scenarios.

"As for threats with nuclear weapons, I sincerely hope such a scenario will not happen because it would be the end of the world as we know it," Plenković said.

Mario Kapulica of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union recalled that President Zoran Milanović had recently mocked the possibility of Russian aggression and spoken of extremists in Ukraine.

"This is when we have to give those who were not precise enough a chance to take the right side," Plenković said, agreeing that there had been "misjudgements and poorly worded sentences" and calling for "unity in the time ahead of us".

Condemning the aggression on Ukraine and expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people, Plenković said that Ukraine was not a country that deserved the concept of neutralisation and being without a democratic leadership and its own armed forces.

The Croatian prime minister rejected the idea that the war in Ukraine was prompted by NATO's expansion. "That's not true," he stressed.

"This is a time when we have to uphold the fundamental principles no matter the cost, even if that may require giving up our way of life. This is a situation in which we must not have any doubts," he added.

Independent MP Karolina Vidović Krišto remarked that the prime minister should have submitted a report on the situation in Croatia and corruption, rather than the war in Ukraine on which he had no influence.

Plenković described her speech as inappropriate, harmful, untrue and defamatory. "We are working, while you are obstructing. We are winning and you are losing," the PM said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Government to Closely Examine Request to Strip Labour Minister of Immunity, Prime Minister Says

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the government would examine in detail the request by the State Attorney's Office that Labour Minister Josip Aladrović be stripped of immunity before making a decision, adding that this is the first such case in the government's history.

The government received the request yesterday so that a procedure could be launched for a crime, that if convicted, is punishable with up to five years' imprisonment.

Speaking to the press, Plenković dismissed the interpretation that stripping the minister of immunity was a routine move. "There is nothing routine about this."

According to the media, Aladrović is suspected of illegal hiring at the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, which he headed before becoming a minister.

Asked if a candidate for the new minister of physical planning, construction and state assets, after the resignation of Darko Horvat, would be known this week, Plenković said, "We'll see. Consultations are under way."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Croatian Ambassador Has Left Kyiv, Prime Minister Says

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine Anica Djamić has left Kyiv and is en route to Lviv, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday.

"Given the deteriorating security situation in Kyiv and the attacks on Ukraine's capital, yesterday I instructed our Ambassador Anica Djamić to leave Kyiv," he told the press.

The ambassador is en route to Lviv, where she will stay and do her duty, helping Croatian nationals and following the situation in Ukraine.

"She is fine and we are believe that in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, she will be safe," Plenković said.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Europe's Future Depends on Kyiv's Fate, Croatian Prime Minister Says

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - The future of Europe depends on the fate of Kyiv, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday, once again condemning Russia's aggression in the strongest terms and commending the Ukrainian army and people for a heroic resistance.

"A quarter century after the Homeland War, a war is raging on European soil again. To the shock of the whole world, Russia's unprovoked brutal aggression on Ukraine is in its seventh day. There has been no war of such force and such extent in Europe for 77 years," he said, presenting a report on the Ukraine situation.

The "gross violation of international law" already has "far-reaching consequences for the whole world" and this crisis will most likely last a while, Plenković said.

He reiterated that Croatia "condemns the Russian aggression in the strongest terms and extends full support to the Ukrainian people who at this moment is once again dying for European values."

He congratulated Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on their courage.

Plenković said this was "a war between David and Goliath in which Russia is attacking the 28 times smaller Ukraine," adding that Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine the victim.

Croatia is sending Ukraine HRK 124 million worth of weapons, ammunition and protective gear for the infantry. The European Union (EU) has ensured €500 million for the procurement of protective and military equipment.

Ukrainians won't bow down

Plenković said that Croatia had shown, with its partners in the EU, determination, solidarity and unity, and that this war had identified the need for energy autonomy and strengthening defence capabilities.

He said Croatia had always advocated Ukraine's European perspective, recalling that he and Zelenskyy signed a Declaration on that perspective in Kyiv last December.

Plenković said the war in Ukraine revived memories of Croatia's Homeland War. "All those images revive in Croatia painful memories of the Milošević regime's Great Serbian aggression and the horrors of war that we went through."

He congratulated Croatian MPs on the unanimous condemnation of Russia and solidarity with Ukraine, saying he was pleased that the parliamentary majority and the opposition are "on the right side of justice and freedom."

Attending the parliamentary debate were Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Kyrylych and members of the Ukrainian minority. The Ukrainian flag was also displayed.

"By supporting Ukraine and respecting the courage of Ukrainians not to run away from tanks, not to give in to blackmail, not to bow down, to be inspired by love for the homeland like the Croats were in the Homeland War, let's stand with Ukraine and Ukrainians today. Glory to Ukraine," Plenković said to a round of applause.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Monday, 28 February 2022

PM Plenković Announces 124 Million Kuna in Support Measures for Ukraine

February 28, 2022 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced a package of support measures for Ukraine, including 124 million kuna in protective equipment and small arms, in addition to restricting the use of air space by Russian planes. Here is a summary of the measures taken in Croatia so far.

Four days after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory, fighting continues across the country, including in the capital of Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pointed out that, so far, they have successfully resisted the Russian offensive and the daily results are positive. In addition to the fact that from the beginning, and on a daily basis, the sanctions against Russia and its companies have been increasing and asserting, several international media indicate that Russia would be facing a possible scenario of de-escalating their invasion. Yesterday, a Ukrainian delegation traveled to Belarus for the first approach to peace talks with Russia.

Croatia, like other countries of the European Union or NATO, had a definite position regarding the Russian invasion. On Thursday 24, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Croatia, Vasyl Kyrylych, and expressed not only his support and solidarity but also confirmed a possible series of sanctions against Russia. Plenković also condemned the Russian aggression and claimed Ukraine as an independent and sovereign nation.

The following day, the Government's position was supported almost unanimously in Parliament, which adopted a declaration on the situation in Ukraine, where in addition to showing its solidarity and position in favor of Ukraine, they also condemned Russia and supported future sanctions against the Russian Government and companies. Almost all Croatian parliamentary groups spoke out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they reaffirmed it on Saturday 26.

During the weekend, the Prime Minister held meetings with the main authorities of his government and discussed not only the package of sanctions against Russia but also support strategies for Ukraine. It should be noted that in Germany, Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz halted the approval for the agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas line. Likewise, some European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Latvia, and Lithuania, have stopped issuing visas for Russian citizens.

To date, many Russian companies have been boycotted around the world, including select Russian banks that have already been disconnected from the SWIFT system, a move supported by the United States. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the freezing of the assets of several Russian banks and even the suspension of several Russian oligarchs in the country. The vast majority of European countries have restricted the entry of flights from Russia and suspended the operations of Russian airlines.

In Croatia, many of the actions have come as an initiative of the population. Thousands have withdrawn their money and closed their accounts in the Russian bank Sberbank, which has even caused its subsidiaries in Croatia and Slovenia to fail or likely to fail owing to a deterioration of their liquidity situation, according to multiple reports. Also, on Saturday, Total Croatia News reported that the first Croatian volunteers were on their way to join the Ukrainian army to confront Russia. Most are veterans with combat experience.

But in parallel, the Government confirmed from the beginning the dispatch of ten Croatian soldiers as part of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. Likewise, Croatian government authorities confirmed the disposition and readiness to receive Ukrainian refugees. On Saturday, the Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinović confirmed the arrival of the first six refugees, who according to him did not need assistance upon arrival since they had private accommodation. On the same day, Davor Spevec of the Civil Protection Directorate said in Slavonski Brod that Croatia could receive up to 17,000 refugees from Ukraine.

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević confirmed that the Croatian capital was ready to receive Ukrainian refugees and that more locations would be made available. Similarly, in Osijek, a center was set up to house up to 300 refugees. The opening of one more center on the border with Ukraine has already been announced.

Over the weekend, PM Plenković has met with the rest of his ministers, the Civil Directorate, and the Croatian Red Cross to carry out all the corresponding coordination on handling the situation. 

The Prime Minister took the opportunity yesterday to reaffirm his support for Ukraine, in addition to expressing that Ukraine is an independent and sovereign country. Likewise, the Russian airline Aeroflot suspended its operations in Croatia, something that the PM himself reinforced by announcing the prohibition of the use of airspace for Russian aircraft.

Today, on his Twitter account, Plenković announced a series of support measures for Ukraine. He had previously expressed that by supporting Ukraine, Croatia was standing on the right side of history. "Croatia is on the right side of history, on the right side of values, on the right side of international law, on the right side of humanity. It's very important that at this moment such a clear message prevails also in the Croatian public," he told the press.

Furthermore, he stressed that the current relationship with Russia, under the current circumstances, was not the best.

plenkovic-tweet.png

The Prime Minister first appealed to recent history in Croatia in a tweet:

''The Croatian people know very well what it means to fight for democracy and decide on their own destiny, and to defend their homeland from aggressors! Croatia can only be on the side of democratic, sovereign, and attacked #Ukraine, on the side of justice, peace and freedom!

He followed his first tweet by announcing the supporting measures:

''We bring a package of measures to support Ukraine and send assistance in protective equipment and small arms worth 124 million kuna. We are raising the level of preparedness for the possible reception of refugees and ensuring gas supply and financial stability''.

Finally, he confirmed what had already been announced the day before about the use of Croatian airspace:

''We have also adopted a measure banning the use of airspace by Russian planes!''

 Most recently, the Prime Minister shared a new tweet expressing support for the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

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