Saturday, 18 June 2022

Croatian and Austrian Green Parties to Step Up Cooperation

ZAGREB, 18 June 2022 - The president of the Styrian Green Academy Sigrid Binder and the head of Croatia's Green Alternative, Zorislav Antun Petrović, on Saturday held a meeting at which they concluded that the bilateral cooperation between Green parties in Croatia and Austria was very good and vowed to further it.

Binder was quoted in a press release issued by the Green Alternative Orah as saying that she arrived in Zagreb to see how the local red-green coalition is functioning in the city.

She recalled that also in the Styrian capital of Graz, a coalition of the Greens, the Communist Party of Austria and Social Democrats of Austria is in power.

During their visit to Zagreb from last Wednesday to Saturday, members of the Green Academy were informed about the local municipal issues such as public transportation.

Binder noted that there are too many cars in Zagreb that do not only make transport more difficult but also worsen the air quality.

We hope that some of the solutions applied in Graz and Austria could be applicable here too, she said.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Borrell Calls for Vigilance due to Emerging New Coronavirus Strains

ZAGREB, 10 July 2021 - There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, but we must stay vigilant due to emerging new variants, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell said in Dubrovnik on Saturday and called for cooperation with Russia and China.

We are reaching the end of the tunnel, but the pandemic is still raging, especially in South America, Africa and India. We must stay vigilant because new strains are emerging, said Borrell at the 14th edition of the ministerial forum in Dubrovnik. This year's gathering focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on geopolitical relations and the world economy.

We still have a long battle ahead of us, said the chief of European diplomacy, adding that one the consequences of the pandemic will be an increasingly insecure, unequal and less free world.

Inequality will be visible, he said, not only between countries but also within each individual country.

The decisive factor for overcoming the pandemic are vaccines without which we cannot win this battle, Borrell said.

There was a lot of division at the international level, there was a lack of cooperation, but the scientific world worked hard and produced the vaccines in a very short time, Borrell said.

China increasingly intrusive, but cooperation necessary

Certainly, we need to do more, but there is one positive aspect. The EU is the only region in the world that has vaccinated its population and at the same exports the vaccine to other countries and donates to the COVAX programme, Borrell underscored.

He accused Russia and China of using vaccines to achieve their interests and warned that we had to be aware of that.

Those countries are using vaccine diplomacy, we must be aware of that, he said.

He pointed out that it was important how the EU would position itself in the triangle with the US and China, recalling that China is recording amazing economic development and that they received a very defiant message from President Xi Jinping from Beijing that foreign forces will face broken heads if they try to bully or oppress China.

(China) is becoming increasingly intrusive, cooperation with it is becoming more difficult, Borrell said.

However, he added there had to be cooperation with China in many areas and that the economic potential was still very large.

As much as 25% of global economic growth this year is from China, Borrell said, adding that in the the United States there are comments that China is a competitor, rival and partner.

He thinks that the competition between China and the US would shape the world in the decades to come, and the EU had to set a clear direction.

We share history, political and economic system with the US. We will always be close to Washington, but we must view the world taking into account our own interests, said Borrell, stressing that the dialogue between the EU and American President Joe Biden's administration on China was real, positive and constructive.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

US Department of Homeland Security Officials in Croatia: Week-Long Visit Regarding Visa-Free Travel

June 15, 2021 -  The US Department of Homeland Security officials in Croatia will continue to work in strengthening diplomatic relations with Croatia and ensuring visa-free travel between the two countries situated on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Officials from the US Department of Homeland Security are currently in Croatia on a weeklong visit. As reported by US Embassy on social media, the visit is in regard to Croatia's progress towards Visa Waiver Programme Membership.

If Croatia joins the programme, Croatian citizens will not need a visa to travel to the USA for tourism, transit, or even for work as long as they don't extend the 90 day limit placed on their stay in the country.

As TCN reported earlier this year, The American Embassy in Croatia formally confirmed back in February that Croatian citizens will be able to finally enjoy the right to travel to the USA without the need for a visa later this year, by the 30th of September 2021 at the very latest, as was reported by Večernji list.

The final prerequisite for the removal of visa requirements was the issuing of 2000 further visas before the end of November 2020. Back then, sources inside the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed this criterion had been met, and thus the annual level of rejected applications will be less than 3%. That final bar was set by the USA to Croatia.

''Our two governments are continuing their close cooperation on meeting the requirements for the Visa Waiver Programme participation. US Department of Homeland Security officials are currently here, working with their Croatian Government partners on further advancing our shared goals, as well as addressing any remaining technical and policy requirements. People-to-people ties between the United States of America and the Republic of Croatia are robust,'' says the press release by the US Embassy in Zagreb.

They added that the US Embassy is continuing to focus on strengthening ties between the two countries and that Croatia is a trusted partner, and these new travel arrangements will also contribute to deepening bilateral relations.

This bit of news comes as a refreshment when taking into account some other recent events. Croatia and the USA enjoy a close connection thanks to their NATO membership, and recently, Croatian president Zoran Milanovic stated that he would not accept a NATO closing declaration if it failed to mention the Dayton agreement and Bosnia and Herzegovina's three constituent peoples.

That statement was criticised even by Željko Komšić, the Croatian member of the tripartite BiH Presidency, saying that ''the concept of constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina is obsolete.''

Additionally, a bit of challenge can be seen with the fact that while the US Embassy has a diplomatic mission in Croatia, there is no appointed Ambassador to Croatia at the moment. But nevertheless, cooperation and friendly relations between the two nations remain tight.

As TCN reported back in May, Croatia participated in a military exercise of transporting American military supplies, before that, in March, the US donated the GeneXpert Machine to Zagreb's Infectious Diseases Hospital and also invested $480,000 in the Upgrade of Rijeka's Offshore Emergency Response Centre.

In addition to their cooperation in terms of safety and health issues, the US additionally cooperated with the science-technology park - Step-Ri to bring entrepreneurship expertise to the Croats. With this diplomatic friendship evident and constantly being nourished, visa-free travel between the two countries is both fully deserved and now needed.

Learn more about visas in Croatia on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Croatia Ready to Take in About 10 COVID Patients From Czechia and Slovakia Each

ZAGREB, 9 March, 2021 - Croatia is ready to take in about ten COVID patents from the Czech Republic and Slovakia each, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković tweeted on Tuesday after his telephone conversation with his counterparts Andrej Babiš of Czechia and Igor Matovič of Slovakia.

"I have conveyed Croatia's readiness to hospitalise about ten COVID-19 patients each from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, if necessary, taking into consideration the fact that their respective health systems are under strain," Plenković wrote on his Twitter account.

Croatia is showing its solidarity with EU member-states in the struggle against COVID-19, he underscored.

The Czech Republic, which has been one of the hardest hit countries in the world by the COVID epidemic recently, has asked Germany, Switzerland and Poland to take in dozens of COVID-19 patients as the situation in its own hospitals has reached a critical point.

Slovakia has already transferred some of its patients abroad this week.

Poland and Germany each have said that they can hospitalise ten patients from that country. 

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

PM Plenković Satisfied With Good Cooperation Between Ivanić-Grad, County and Government

ZAGREB, 9 March, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković visited Ivanić-Grad on Tuesday, underscoring good cooperation with local and Zagreb County governments.

Speaking to the press after meeting with Mayor Javor Bojan Leš and County Prefect Stjepan Kožić, Plenković said that the investments made by the county and the town complemented government efforts to keep jobs.

"The funds for this purpose have so far affected 57,000 workers as HRK 512 million has been disbursed for job retention," the prime minister said.

€51 million from EU for county development projects

Plenković said that during the term of his government €51 million worth of projects had been agreed with the EU for this county, contributing to its development. He noted that following the reform of the local and regional government funding law, this county had received 28 percent more revenues in 2020 than in 2017.

Zagreb County has established itself among the five most developed counties in Croatia, Plenković said, praising Ivanić-Grad for investing in school infrastructure, sports halls and health tourism.

Mayor Leš highlighted the investment in the Naftalan medical rehabilitation centre and expressed his satisfaction with the collaboration with the government on public sewage system construction.

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

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Croatia and Russia Sign Programme for Boosting Cultural Cooperation

ZAGREB, Dec 16, 2020 - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Croatian Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek signed on Wednesday the sixth Programme of Cooperation in the Field of Culture for the 2020-2022 period, the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media said.

The program was signed as part of the Russian Foreign Minister's official visit to Croatia, and it encourages exchange and cooperation between artists, cultural and art institutions, and associations, as well as direct cooperation between cultural institutions of mutual interest, the MKM said.

Mutual cooperation, the Ministry said, encompasses a wide range of activities related to museums, galleries, performing arts, literature, and publishing, as well as the existing high level of cooperation in the area of audiovisual activities.

The Ministry recalled that in the domain of cultural heritage the cooperation was especially pronounced between the Underwater Research Centre of the Russian Geographical Society, the Lomonosov Moscow State University Marine Research Centre, and the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology in Zadar, a UNESCO Category II Centre.

Signing the Programme will improve, the Ministry said, the existing cooperation between organizations, artists, and experts.

In addition to a good and meaningful bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which is achieved through direct contact between cultural institutions and artists working in Croatia and Russia, the cooperation within international platforms will also continue, the Ministry of Culture and Media said.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

HOO: Croatia and China Continue to Cooperate in Sports

ZAGREB, Sept 15, 2020 - A video conference was held at the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) on Tuesday reaffirming that Croatia and China continue to cooperate in sports, notably between the Croatian Table Tennis Federation and the Chinese Embassy in Croatia.

The cooperation, established in 2018, includes sponsorship and exchanges of the coaching staff, which is very important for Croatian table tennis because it has the world's biggest table tennis power as its partner, the HOO said.

Speaking via video link, Chinese Ambassador Xu Erwen recalled Croatia's recent sports successes, adding that Croatia and China did not cooperate only in table tennis, but also in water polo, handball, and gymnastics.

What has always impressed us and what many of my compatriots ask me is that they do not understand how a country of just four million people can achieve such excellent results globally in practically all sports, the ambassador said.

HOO President Zlatko Matesa spoke of handball cooperation. He said that a Chinese team had for the first time participated in the last season of the regional SEHA League.

"They practiced and were accommodated in Croatia, they played games here and were led by a Croatian coaching team. That is a unique example in the world that a Chinese team played in an official competition in Europe, and the link was Croatia," he said.

Matesa also mentioned the excellent cooperation between the Zagreb Faculty of Kinesiology and the Beijing University of Sport. He said that Croatia and China also cooperated in many other areas, citing the construction of the Peljesac Bridge.

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Monday, 14 September 2020

PM: Croatia is the Advocate of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croats

ZAGREB, Sept 14, 2020  - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said during a visit to Mostar, south Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday that Croatia is the advocate of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croats' rights and that he expected the Dayton Peace Accords would be respected and that Croats would no longer be outvoted.

"As before, we will strongly support Bosnia and Herzegovina, develop cooperation with all three constituent peoples, with all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and be the country that supports Bosnia and Herzegovina on its way to the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation," Plenkovic told a press conference following a meeting with Dragan Covic, the leader of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH).

Plenkovic had arrived for the inauguration of Petar Palic as the new Bishop of Mostar-Duvno.

Asked about announcements by leading Bosniak officials that they would outvote Croats in the 2022 elections and impose lower-level officials as well, and not only the member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, Plenkovic said that it was important to respect the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement.

He said he expected that the leading Bosnian Croat party, the HDZ BiH, and the leading Bosniak party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), would reach an agreement on amendments to the Elections Act to put an end to the practice of outvoting Croats.

HDZ BiH leader Covic said that he had earlier warned SDA leader Bakir)Izetbegovic that the imposition of political representatives had caused problems in the past.

Commenting on the situation in South-East Europe after the election in Montenegro and the talks between Serbia and Kosovo, Plenkovic underscored that Croatia was committed to stability in all neighboring countries.

"What is important to Croatia is that there is stability, that there is peace and that tension is reduced, and that trade flows are stabilized. In all this, we take into account the Croatian minority and Croats in Serbia. We are sorry that due to division between the two Croatian parties the electoral threshold in Montenegro was not passed to obtain a seat in the parliament, a representative of the Croatian ethnic minority," Plenkovic said.

After talking with the HDZ BiH leader, Plenkovic met with Ratko Peric, the outgoing Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, and his successor, Petar Palic.

A diocesan cultural center opened in Mostar on Sunday, the construction of which was also financed by the Croatian government.

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