Sunday, 2 May 2021

Croatia Reports 944 New Coronavirus Cases, 52 Deaths

ZAGREB, 2 May 2021 - Croatia has registered 944 new coronavirus cases and 52 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Sunday.

The number of active cases currently stands at 13,152. Among them are 2,223 infected people who are hospitalized, including 240 who are on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in the country, 335,173 people have been registered as having contracted the novel virus, of whom 7,182 have died and 314,839 have recovered, including 2,016 in the last 24 hours. Currently, 32,614 people are self-isolating.

A total of 1,822,875 people have been tested to date, including 8,370 in the last 24 hours.

So far, 907,575 vaccine doses have been administered; 503,960 people have received the first dose and 200,518 have received both doses. For 2,579 people there is no information on the number of doses administered.

The head of the national coronavirus response team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said that the daily number of new cases was on the decline.

"We have a reason for optimism, but only if we comply with the measures aimed at protecting people'', Božinović told the press during a visit to the eastern town of Borovo.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules to the locations of vaccination points and testing centres throughout the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Details of EU Summit Negotiations: At Least Another 500,000 Pfizer Doses in Croatia?

March 27, 2021 - Will there be at least another 500,000 Pfizer doses in Croatia? If the EU Summit negotiations successful, Croatia could vaccinate more than half of the adult population with a single dose of vaccine by June 30, 2021. 

Jutarnji List reports that if the negotiations of the permanent representatives of the EU member states in COREPER are successful, Croatia could vaccinate just over half of the adult population with one COVID-19 vaccine dose by June 30, which would bring it closer to the EU average.

This is the essence of the European Council meeting held on Thursday, at which Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković advocated that 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, which will arrive in the second quarter of this year, be distributed so that more doses are given to those members who are being the EU vaccination average because they were left without large quantities of vaccines ordered from AstraZeneca.

Croatia has missed a lot because only 17 percent of the promised AstraZeneca doses arrived in Croatia. Thus, the country is currently third in the EU in terms of the number of vaccinated citizens with one dose, followed by Latvia and Bulgaria. No agreement was reached at the European Council. Still, the joint statement emphasized that the doses would be distributed according to the principle of European solidarity, which would have to be agreed upon by the political body. That fact alone gives us hope that Croatia could do well.

Namely, out of 100 million doses planned for delivery in the fourth quarter, Pfizer will deliver 10 million doses in the second quarter. They will now negotiate what percentage will go to the countries that lag behind the most and how much to all others. 

Among the numerous proposals was that all 10 million doses go to the four, five, or six most severely deprived countries, including Croatia, but this could not pass because each country wants certain doses for itself. It was mentioned that Croatia could receive as many as 1.4 million doses by the end of June, but that, Prime Minister Plenković explained yesterday, was just one of the proposals.

While the amount of doses Croatia is now counting on is still unclear, given that it is a matter of negotiations, we know that a little more than half a million Pfizer doses would bring Croatia closer to the average by the end of June. With this dynamic, Croatia could have more than half of the adult population vaccinated.

Some countries have demanded that the principle continue, with these 10 million doses, to be exclusively proportional, i.e., concerning the number of inhabitants, but this would be unfavorable for Croatia because it would receive only 90,000 doses June 30, which would still lag behind the EU average.

As things stand now, Croatia will get far more than that; the goal is more than half a million to make up for the loss with others.

According to these calculations, Bulgaria should get the most, given the population and the fact that it is at the bottom of the EU in terms of vaccination.

"The conclusion on that topic was to find an agreement on the ratio of distributing those 10 million doses in the spirit of solidarity, which means that those who have less will get more," said Plenković yesterday and later explained that EU leaders support compensating Croatia for the lack of vaccines. 

The good news from the meeting is that the leaders agreed to distribute these doses according to the principle of solidarity. Still, the not-so-good news is that the rest of the vaccine will be distributed as before, according to the "pro-rata" principle. However, if the first goal is achieved, then further distribution according to the principle of proportionality is less unfavorable for Croatia.

These are the two messages from the summit that ended on Thursday before midnight. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's idea to "distribute the vaccine more fairly" between member states has only been understood when it comes to an additional 10 million doses without Austria, which, according to others, has not been missed.

Kurz was not only not supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel but also by Mark Rutte from the Netherlands. Austria will not be able to count on abandoning the principle of dividing the vaccine "pro-rata" according to the number of inhabitants and according to the quantity ordered by the states from individual producers. They won’t be able to count on most of these 10 million doses either.

However, Croatia, Bulgaria, Latvia, and the Czech Republic can benefit from this. When Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he is ready to agree to give more to Croatia, that is important news. Rutte is a classic representative of the school that in diplomacy, it is necessary to go cold-headed but also cold-hearted. So, if the principle of solidarity is agreed upon, which means that some need to give more for others to get more, the factual situation should also be taken into account. And the fact is that Austria, unlike Croatia and Bulgaria, does not lag far behind others in vaccination. Moreover, Austria is even above the EU average.

According to the plan presented by Ursula von der Leyen at the summit, 360 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter. But of that, just 70 million AstraZeneca, 200 million Pfizer doses, 35 million Moderna doses, and 55 million Johnson & Johnson.

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

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Greater Responsibility for County Headquarters in 2021 Croatian Tourist Season Preparations

March 24, 2021 - The Croatian government and National Headquarters are placing more responsibility on the county headquarters for 2021 Croatian tourist season preparations and believe they must coordinate with the tourism sector.

HRTurizam reports that the Chief of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Davor Božinović, published a new instruction to the local Civil Protection Headquarters, specially made to prepare the tourist season. Božinović pointed out that all Civil Protection Headquarters are obliged to coordinate with the tourist boards operating in their area and, in cooperation with them, consider what measures and activities need to be taken to make their area epidemiologically safe for their citizens and tourists.

Božinović stressed that they want to ensure that everyone in the health and tourism system coordinates, considers the current situation, and either independently or through a proposal of measures to the national headquarters, tries to stop the spread of the virus from entering the new season. He believes it is not time to adopt horizontal measures, especially in those counties that have a favorable epidemiological situation.

"When we talk about the regional approach, I'm pretty sure it's justified. We have entered this phase of the epidemic with minimal numbers in some counties. We know how important tourism is to us. Countries will assess the situation in all our counties. Therefore they will make travel decisions in them. This is a job that the profession will do all summer, so we need the awareness of all institutions and citizens," said Božinović, adding that Croatia will implement some things regarding Covid passports before the EU. "Those who have either recovered or been vaccinated or have an EU-approved test will be able to enter Croatia," Božinović said at the news conference today.

"The headquarters are invited to propose measures because they know best where the focus is. It is also preparing for what will be an integral part of European policy related to the tourist season, and that is the regional approach," said Božinović, adding that last year they fought not to see Croatia as a whole.

Looking at the Re-open.eu platform, Croatia is still divided into two regions, not by counties, which does not give an accurate picture. The platform serves as the main reference point for anyone traveling to the EU because it provides centralized and up-to-date information.

On the other hand, there is an initiative to divide Croatia into four regions instead of counties, as was done on the HUT Corona Region Tracker (North Coast - Istria and Kvarner), South Coast (Dalmatia), Central Croatia (Zagreb and surroundings), and Eastern Croatia.

However, without entering into the discussion of which model is better - by counties or four regions, the most important thing is that someone from Croatia reacts to the Re-open.eu platform so that the country is not divided into only two regions. 

There are currently 28 test centers in the Republic of Croatia that perform RT-PCR tests for COVID-19. All processed samples are entered into the national platform at the Croatian Health Insurance Institute, available to all county public health institutes.

In some cities and counties in Croatia, an epidemiological measure of testing using rapid antigen tests is being implemented.

At the recently held 6th Split-Dalmatia County Family Accommodation Forum, it was pointed out that there will be eight testing points in the County.

Director of the Teaching Institute for Public Health of the Split-Dalmatia County Željka Karin appealed for respect and adherence to all epidemiological measures.

"Testing points will be on Brač, Hvar, Vis, Makarska, Imotski, Trogir, Sinj and Split. The Teaching Institute for Public Health's testing point is always open in Split; in a month, we will have to relocate the checkpoint that is now in the ferry port because of cruisers, and we are also talking about a testing point at Split Airport," said Karin. 

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates in Croatia: How Will They Look?

March 9, 2021 - Krunoslav Capak explains that the look of COVID-19 vaccination certificates in Croatia and the EU has been defined, though they are currently only used for medical purposes and not for crossing the border. 

Jutarnji List reports that the appearance of EU COVID-19 vaccination certificates has been defined.

As Krunoslav Capak, head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health and a member of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, explained to Jutarnji list, the certificate must contain the name of the vaccinated person, the country they come from, the name of the vaccine used, the date of vaccination, the serial number of the vaccine and a bar at which the data can be read.

"The appearance of vaccination certificates has been defined, but for now, they are used only for medical purposes and not to cross the border. The use of certificates for crossing the border is now intensively discussed. The time will surely come when the EU will make a decision. However, there are still a lot of questions and controversies," said Capak, adding that no EU country has made a decision on crossing the border based on vaccination, but there are bilateral agreements.

"We also have some bilateral talks about recognizing vaccination certificates mutually," Capak added.

He further explained that there are still no visuals but an agreement at the EU level on the certificate's content.

"An agreement has been reached on the content of the certificate. It should contain the name and surname of the person, the vaccine that was used, the date of vaccination, and the serial number of the vaccine," Capak explained.

The state should also be listed. Given that it will be a smart solution, Capak says it will take up to three months for it to work. Namely, the EU is still discussing whether vaccinated citizens will receive smart cards or have a code that can be read on a mobile phone.

"It seems to me that the most probable variant is with a QR code, but as we are talking about a large number of people from all over the EU, it is clear that it is a big job for data collection, but also for experts who will find IT solutions," concludes Capak and adds that the rules will apply to Croatian citizens as well as to the rest of Europe.

Already now, all citizens who have been vaccinated, regardless of which vaccine - Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca - receive a vaccination certificate, i.e., a card with their name and surname, the vaccine they received, and the serial number. It is a cardboard card that additionally contains when the second dose is received. Different manufacturers have different cards, but the principle is the same. Each card also has a QR code, but it does not contain the data of the person who was vaccinated, but information about the vaccine they received.

As Capak also points out, such certificates can only be used for medical purposes for the time being. Still, the EU is discussing what kind of application they could have, especially in tourism. Although vaccination is voluntary, some airlines have already made it clear that only vaccinated passengers will fly. Some EU members have already announced that such certificates will substitute for a negative PCR test when entering their country. Israel, for example, announces that without such confirmation, citizens will not be allowed to enter mass gatherings, and unvaccinated employees will work in dislocated offices and will not be allowed to socialize with others.

Such an approach opens up many controversies, especially in human rights, given that vaccination is voluntary and that, at least for now, there are not enough vaccines on the market for everyone. Thus, the question arises whether vaccination can be required as a condition for entry, for example, on a plane.

Therefore, as Jutarnji finds out, in addition to IT requirements, the huge deficit of vaccines on the market is one reason why passports will not work for some time.

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

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 658 New Cases, 15 Deaths, 482 Recoveries

ZAGREB, 6 March, 2021 - In the last 24 hours, Croatia has conducted 5,838 coronavirus tests, and 658, that is 11.3%, have returned positive, the country's COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Saturday.

In the said period, there have been 15 deaths linked to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 5,585.

Currently, Croatia has 3,770 active cases, of whom 738 are hospitalised patients, including 72 placed on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when Croatia recorded its first case of infection with coronavirus, 1.38 million persons have been tested and 246,120 have contracted the virus. Of them, 236,765 have recovered, including 482 in the last 24 hours.

There are now 15,312 people self-isolating in the country.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Index: Cafe Terraces Open In Two Weeks If Numbers Stay Low

February 17, 2021 – Indoor sports return and cafe terraces open on Monday 1st March if infection numbers remain low, learns Croatian media outlet Index.

By the time spring arrives, Croatian coffee lovers should be back enjoying their drinks outside their favourite cafe bar. Cafe terraces open on Monday 1st March 2021 if Coronavirus infection numbers remain low and stay on their current trajectory, according to Croatia media outlet Index.

Indoor sports will also return on the same date, with the same stipulation that infection numbers remain low. Having cafe terraces open again cannot come too soon for frustrated business owners. At the moment, they are only permitted to serve coffee to go. According to Index, from on Monday 1st March 2021, cafe terraces open and people will no longer need to congregate on the street outside, in parks or on benches to enjoy their drinks.

“Measures should be further relaxed throughout Croatia as of March 1, including the much-anticipated opening of cafe terraces,” says the portal. Cafe terraces open and other relaxed measures depend on the prerequisite of figures remaining at the level they are at now. “The share of newly infected in the number tested in recent days is below five percent,” Index adds.

Headquarters and the government had already announced that the next round of concessions could be expected in early March.

restaurant-644504_1920.jpgCafe terraces open in Croatia from March 1st 2021, if Coronavirus numbers remain low, say media outlet Index

Croatian cafe terraces open, the interior of cafes and restaurants remain closed

“As we find out, the terraces of cafes and restaurants will definitely open on March 1,” wrote Index. “However, according to information from a source close to the Headquarters, the closed (interior) parts of cafes and restaurants will not be opened. (This) is realistically expected in April at the earliest.”

“Once cafe terraces open, guests will most likely not be able to enter the interiors of cafes and restaurants, except perhaps for the use of toilets, to prevent indoor parts of cafes and restaurants from being used and guests being served there. Closed spaces are still considered by headquarters (to be) an extremely high risk when it comes to the spread of coronavirus.”

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Further relaxation of Coronavirus measures: Indoor sports to return

According to Index, although the first information received said that from March 1, only indoor sports for children would be opened, the portal has discovered that instead all indoor sports should be opened, with prescribed epidemiological measures. They remind that, according to current measures, only gyms, swimming pools and contactless individual ball sports are allowed.

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Public gatherings / marketplaces / fairs

“There should be concessions when it comes to fairs, but it is not yet completely clear under what conditions,” says the portal. Like supermarkets, open-air and indoor markets are currently permitted to operate. The newly relaxed measures will pertain to similar, but more irregular events at which arts & crafts, books and other goods are on display for sale. The portal say that the vending and consumption of food – which is traditional at such events – will likely not be permitted for now.

“The headquarters is inclined to open fairs where products are sold or exhibited, but the consumption of food and drinks might be limited to prevent excessive gatherings and socializing,” they say.

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Relaxation of Coronavirus measures pertaining to private gatherings

“The allowed number of people at various gatherings should not change significantly, only minor corrections are possible,” claims the portal, adding that the current ban on the gathering of people from more than two households may instead be downgraded to a recommendation. The portal reminds that this measure has not been strictly enforced in any way before.

"To give way on March 1, the numbers have to stay at about the level they are now. But the pressure is great - no one wants to keep something closed that should not be kept closed. Most of it is already open, so there remains a narrow circle of what can still be given,” a source close to the Headquarters is quoted as telling Index.

Friction between regional and national authorities over easing of Covid-19 measures

Even if cafe terrace open on March 1st, Index concludes their article by reminding that a disparity between regional and national authorities is still causing some friction. The friction between two north-westerly regions of the country and national headquarters is specifically addressed.

“The Headquarters believes that the announcement of the Istrian Headquarters that they will open the terraces of cafes and restaurants on March 1 was very incorrect. They (national headquarters) say that this opening is planned at the level of the whole of Croatia anyway.”

“However, the decision of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar headquarters, which postponed the opening of bookmakers and casinos in that county, is perhaps even more critically commented on. The government states that the opening of bookmakers (betting shops) and casinos is a purely financial decision and ironically comments that if the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County wants to leave these facilities closed, they should (themselves) cover the costs that will be incurred,” says the Index article.

Index claims that these moves from Istria and Rijeka (Primorje-Gorski Kotar) are regarded in the National Headquarters and the government as politicking and that they are connected with the upcoming local elections.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Epidemiologist: At This Rate, Vaccination Goal Won't Be Met Until Autumn

February 9, 2021 – In a Croatian media TV interview, epidemiologist of the Croatian Institute of Public Health Bernard Kaić yesterday said the plan to vaccinate half of the population by the summer will be delayed. He predicted that if Croatia continues vaccination at its current rate, the goal would not be reached until autumn, possibly late autumn

Epidemiologist of the Croatian Institute of Public Health Bernard Kaić, speaking to Croatian media RTL, told them the plan to vaccinate half of the population by the summer will be delayed. The epidemiologist predicted that if Croatia continues vaccination at its current rate, the goal of vaccinating half of the population within the country will not be completed until autumn, possibly late autumn.

"I can't say (by) exactly how much,” he told RTL, regarding how much delay will occur, “because we still don't know how many vaccines we'll get in March. And (how much) after March we (still) have no idea.”

“If this pace continues, it would take four million doses to vaccinate half the population. We won't achieve that until autumn for sure, and it’s late autumn,” the epidemiologist said.

According to an article in Index, the epidemiologist said that, as things currently stand, there will be three vaccines used in Croatia - AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech. They will be used concurrently, with vaccinations from all three available in Croatia at the same time.

When asked which vaccine he would choose to be vaccinated with, the epidemiologist answered that he did not know and that he was glad that he did not have the opportunity to choose. "There was only one offered so I got vaccinated,” said the epidemiologist. “It would be really hard to decide."

When asked why some states have given up vaccinating those over the age of 65 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the epidemiologist explained that in currently available results from clinical studies the messenger RNA vaccine had proven to be somewhat more effective in preventing mild forms of Coronavirus than the AstraZeneca vaccine. Some of the vaccines work in different ways. However, the epidemiologist ultimately said that it was expected the AstraZeneca vaccine would prove to be effective, it was just that this had not yet been proven statistically.

bernard-kaic-e505fb44671c29c2fdonRTL.jpgRTL screenshot

Later in the interview, the epidemiologist was asked “Due to skepticism towards AstraZeneca, many associations in (Croatia's) border areas plan to take pensioners to Serbia for vaccination. How smart is it to accept such an arrangement?”

The epidemiologist replied; “My only fear is that such organized trips do not turn into corona-trips so that people do not get infected on the way back and forth and do themselves harm. I would wait.”

The three vaccines for which Croatia is currently expecting deliveries are now not the only vaccines available. Speaking in a discussion on the same evening on another Croatian media outlet, HRT, Zlatko Trobonjača, an immunologist from the Rijeka Clinical Hospital, spoke about the Russian vaccine.

"Our country is obviously following the EU and its decisions,” he said. “The EU has entered into talks with Russia. It can be expected that these talks will continue. It is a quality vaccine, it provides high protection.”

"As for the quality of the vaccine, we can see that it is not harmful and it could be used in our country. The EU is oriented towards Western companies. And now, they (the companies) did not stick to the agreement," Trobonjača said, adding that he would be vaccinated with the first vaccine that was made available to him.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Jutarnji List: Croatian Cafes Open on Monday 15 February (and Gyms too)?

February 2, 2021 – The wait is over! In less than two weeks, Croatian cafes and gyms will open, if infection numbers continue on their current downward trajectory

With the spring season just around the corner, people will soon be able to once again enjoy coffee on the sun-filled daytime terraces of Croatian cafes. If Coronavirus infection numbers continue on their current downward trajectory, Croatian cafes and gyms will open on Monday 15 February. All businesses will still have to operate under strict epidemiological measures.

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Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff, Davor Božinović, spoke about the forthcoming concessions on Croatian cafes and gyms, but a fuller picture of how the concessions will actually look was discovered unofficially by Croatian daily Jutarnji List. It was published in the evening of Monday 1st February 2021. The good news soon travelled across Croatia. It will come as a great relief to many independent business owners who have not been allowed to operate.

Business owners have been increasingly on edge over recent weeks, with protest openings of Croatian cafes and gyms threatened to take place in defiance of the current ban on operations (indeed, some did). Owners of Croatian cafes were particularly irked by the seeming inconsistencies in current measures – fast food outlets, gas service stations and bakeries were all permitted to sell coffee to go. People took advantage of this and thereafter congregated on the streets outside such businesses to enjoy their drinks. But, Croatian cafes were still not permitted to service people wishing to drink on outside terraces in almost exactly the same manner.

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Monday 15 February has long been announced as the next review date for the imposed Coronavirus measures. But, until now, nobody was certain in which way – if any – measures would be relaxed.

Under unofficial plans, from Monday 15 February Croatian cafes will be able to serve coffee and drinks to be consumed on outside terraces, with strict epidemiological guidelines in place.

Croatian cafes and gyms opening on 15 February will be conditional on a continued downturn in infection numbers and the absence of new Coronavirus strains appearing in Croatia

The re-opening of Croatian cafes and gyms is wholly dependent not only on the continuing downturn in numbers of infected but also on the condition that new strains of Coronavirus - specifically those first detected in the UK and South Africa - do not appear in Croatia between now and then.

"If the indicators are good, if the numbers go down, we will certainly not be reluctant to react,” Deputy Prime Minister Davor Božinović said, regarding the 15 February review, “our aim to strike a balance between everything - with an emphasis on health care - has brought us to a position where Croatia has the least stringent measures in the EU."

Coronavirus infection numbers in some other European territories remain at an alarmingly high rate, although a corresponding relaxation in measures for some regions of Italy was similarly announced over recent days. This is the second time since the start of the pandemic that stricter measures imposed by the Croatian government – and a widespread public observance of these measures and other guidelines - have successfully produced the intended results.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Miroslav Tudman, son of Franjo Tudman, has died from Coronavirus

February 1, 2021 – Miroslav Tudman, the first child of Franjo Tudman, died in Zagreb from complications caused by Coronavirus. A scientist and educator who followed a route into politics, he bore a striking resemblance to his father, the first President of Croatia

Miroslav Tudjman, HDZ member of parliament and son of Franjo Tudman, the first President of Croatia, died in the evening of Sunday 31 January 2021 in Zagreb. He was 75 years old.

Miroslav Tudjman had been hospitalized in Zagreb at the beginning of December due to complications caused by Coronavirus. He had been placed on a respirator. He sadly lost his fight for life at the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Zagreb.

Born in Belgrade in 1946, the son of Franjo Tudman and his first wife Ankica Zumbar, Miroslav Tudman moved to Zagreb in 1961. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb in 1970 and later became part of the faculty, founding its Institute for Information Studies in 1989.

20150623vrgorac.tudjmanov.arhiv_32122.jpgMiroslav Tudman © HDZ

He took part in the Croatian War of Independence and in 1992 Miroslav Tudman became the head of the Centre for Strategic Research. He took up the role as the deputy head of the National Security Office before founding and leading the first Croatian Intelligence Agency (Hrvatska izvještajna služba, HIS). In 1998, Miroslav Tudman became a tenured professor at the Faculty of Philosophy where he had studied.

Miroslav Tudman had dallied with politics since before the war, but it was only after the passing of his father – who died while in office – that they became a more consuming affair for him. He flitted between running as an independent candidate, within fringe parties and as a member of HDZ, the party to which his father belonged. His longest duration with any party was from 2011 and 2021, during which he was a member of HDZ.

At the time of his death, he was a member of the Croatian parliament, head of the Parliamentary Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a member of the Committee on Defence, Internal Policy and National Security, War Veterans and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation.

Bearing a very close resemblance to his father, Miroslav Tudman was named after Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža who his father adored at the time of his firstborn child.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that he received the news of Miroslav Tudman's death with sadness.

"It is with great sadness that I received the news of the departure of Prof. Miroslav Tudman, PhD, a dear colleague, friend and member of the Croatian Parliament, son of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudman, a prominent politician and a scientist dedicated to protecting national interests," he wrote on Twitter. "In these sad and painful moments, for the Tudman family, I express my sincere condolences and sympathy, on behalf of the government and myself."

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Sunday, 31 January 2021

Zagreb Cafes Protest Opening 1st Feb Cancelled, Fines Too Severe

January 31, 2021 – The planned cafes protest in Zagreb and elsewhere, which was due to see 100 facilities open their doors on Monday 1st February in defiance of the current ban on their operations, has been cancelled. Huge fines and the threat of prison are the reason for the climb down. Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric appealed to caterers for patience.

The proposed Zagreb cafes protest organised for Monday 1st February has been cancelled. The protest was due to see some catering facilities and gyms open their doors to the public in defiance of the current nationwide ban on operations in such facilities. Around 100 businesses were said to be joining the Zagreb cafes protest.

"Although it has been rumoured that more than 100 caterers in Zagreb will open their facilities on February 1, mostly cafes, or at least start issuing coffee and drinks outside, despite the work ban, it does not seem this will (now) happen, as many have withdrawn after seeing all the consequences that could befall them if they do, " Franz Letica, president of the Zagreb Caterers' Association, told Hina by telephone after the meeting.

On Friday 29 January, the Association of Caterers in Zagreb announced the opening of at least 100 bars and Croatian cafes would open on Monday. An informal meeting of caterers, many who were due to take part in the cafes protest, took place on the afternoon of Saturday 30 January. It seems that at the meeting, plans for the cafes protest fell apart. Caterers had faced the possible punishment of fines - from 20 thousand kuna to 70 thousand kuna - and up to three years in prison for defying the law and opening during the cafes protest.

Petra Odobašić, the owner of a catering facility from Zagreb who attended Saturday's informal meeting, also confirmed to Hina there would be no mass opening on Monday, but that only a dozen caterers would continue with the cafes protest. This handful of establishments were described as being situated mostly in the Dubrava area of Zagreb. Around 80 caterers attended Saturday's informal meeting, mostly from Zagreb, but some from other areas such as Karlovac.

Appearing on Croatian television on Saturday 30 January, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric appealed to caterers for patience.

"We hope there will be (patience)," he said when asked about the proposed act of defiance, "given that we have explained the epidemiological situation we are currently in. We need to think about the season - spring and summer - this will be the time when we can all reap the fruits of responsibility together."

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