Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Croatian Agriculture Minister and Albanian Ambassador Meet to Discuss Trade

ZAGREB, 30 March 2022 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković met with Albanian Ambassador Riza Poda on Wednesday to discuss common trade issues and ways of expanding bilateral cooperation in agriculture, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

It was agreed that Vučković would soon visit Albania as part of efforts by both countries to expand bilateral cooperation in agriculture, and further strengthen trade.

The two countries have excellent relations and work together to achieve their common interests through mutual political and technical support.

The Croatian Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development and the Albanian Agency for Rural Development have already signed a cooperation agreement, and next week the Croatian Agency is organising a workshop on improving the quality of internal audits for a delegation from the Albanian Agency.

In 2020, the two countries' agriculture ministries agreed veterinary conditions for exports of egg products and designed a veterinary certificate, given the considerable potential of the Albanian market for exports of animal products from Croatia.

Croatia has a surplus in trade in agricultural and food products with Albania and a high coverage of imports by exports of as much as 974%, the ministry said.

Albania is a considerable export market for small pelagic fish from Croatia, notably anchovy.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman For Opening EU Entry Talks With N. Macedonia, Albania as Soon as Possible

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - North Macedonia and Albania have met all the criteria to open EU accession negotiations as soon as possible and Kosovo deserves visa liberalisation, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday in Luxembourg.

"Albania and North Macedonia have met all the criteria and we believe that accession negotiations should be opened with them as soon as possible," said Grlić Radman upo arriving in Luxembourg for a General Affairs Council meeting.

The General Affairs Council is composed of foreign or European affairs ministers of the member states. They convened today to discuss preparations for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday on migration, enlargement and the stabilisation and association process.  Furthermore, the Portuguese presidency will inform the EU ministers about the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

One of the more important topics to be debated within Article 7 is the rule of law in Hungary and Poland.

Accession intergovernmental conferences with Serbia and Montenegro will be held on the margins of today's meeting, but without opening or closing any policy chapters. So-called political intergovernmental conferences are a new approach in the accession process.

Agreement still has not been reached to open negotiations with North Macedonia due to objections by Bulgaria and no progress is expected before elections in Bulgaria scheduled for next month.

There are no blockades regarding Albania, however some countries do not wish to separate the issue of opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

Grlić Radman that Croatia supports the motion for liberalising the visa regime for Kosovo as soon as possible.

Croatia would like talks on candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be launched as soon as possible too, said Grlić Radman and once again underscored the need for the election law in that country to be changed so that it ensures the equality of all three constitutent peoples.

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

Thursday, 26 March 2020

“Positive Decision for Macedonia, Albania is a Croatian Success”

ZAGREB, March 26, 2020 - EU member states have formally given their consent in writing for opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Goran Grlić Radman said on Wednesday, who considers that this is Croatia's success amid coronavirus and earthquakes.

"Croatia managed to do this in very difficult conditions, fighting with coronavirus and earthquakes in Zagreb," said Grlić Radman.

The European Commission is starting to work on the negotiation framework, which is expected by June, he said.

This morning, EU member states adopted the decision to open negotiations with Skopje and Tirana.

Blocking the two countries in October last year was "an unexpected decision", Grlić Radman said, pointing out the fact that Croatia had started working on the issue during preparations for its first presidency of the Council of the EU.

"Croatia has made all foreign-policy efforts to convince all member states that it was necessary to open negotiations with these two countries, because the European prospects of West Balkan countries, stability, and security, were in the interest of the EU. This is a great political success for Croatia," Grlić Radman stated.

The exact date when the negotiations would start is not known as yet, however, the minister thinks that the date is not important now, but that the important thing is to send a message to other West Balkan countries that it was worthwhile to work on their European prospects, meeting criteria, and accepting European values.

The EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb, the central event of the Croatian Presidency of the EU, will take place in May, and for now it will not be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus.

"The date still stands. We hope that we will have overcome this crisis by then. We are ready for May, and we are not thinking about cancelling it," stated the minister.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Croatia Welcomes Green-Light for Launch of EU Entry Talks with Macedonia, Albania

ZAGREB, March 25, 2020 - Croatia has welcomed the agreement on the launch of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, underscoring that one of the priorities of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU has thus been fulfilled.

EU ministers of European affairs, who make up the General Affairs Council, on Tuesday reached a political agreement on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, and the formal decision is to be made in writing after the political consensus was reached at a video-conference.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wrote on Twitter that Croatia fully supported the two aspirants at the start of a new stage of their journey towards EU membership.

The decision reached by the member-states' ministers to give a political green-light for the launch of accession negotiations was described by Plenković as the fulfilment of one of the priorities of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The European Council is expected to support the conclusions on the start of the membership talks with Skopje and Tirana at a video-conference scheduled for Thursday.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Decision on Accession Talks with Macedonia, Albania to Be Made Next Week?

ZAGREB, March 18, 2020 - Croatia's EU presidency has proposed that a decision be made next week to launch accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, and that the first intergovernmental accession conference be called immediately after a negotiating framework is adopted.

Draft conclusions that were made available to Hina and that the General Affairs Council is expected to adopt at its next meeting on March 24 propose that a decision be made to launch membership talks with both countries.

Talks on the draft conclusions will first be held at the level of member-countries' ambassadors before the document is discussed by European affairs ministers.

The text of the conclusions must be unanimously supported by all member-countries, which is why changes to the proposed draft are possible before its adoption.

This decision, if adopted by the Council of Ministers, should also be supported by the European Council, that is, heads of state or government, at a summit meeting on March 26-27.

Under the draft conclusions, the Council is to invite the European Commission to present a draft negotiating framework for both countries as soon as possible and by June at the latest.

The negotiating framework is a key document that defines how and based on which principles accession talks will be conducted.

The negotiating framework needs to be adopted unanimously by all member-countries and it is a precondition for calling the first intergovernmental accession conference, at which talks are formally launched.

Work on harmonising the text of the negotiating framework can take time.

According to the draft conclusions, the first intergovernmental conference should be called as soon as possible after the negotiating framework is adopted.

Officials at Croatia's Permanent Representation to the EU would not comment on the draft document, saying only that despite the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they work intensively on other portfolios as well, such as enlargement, which is one of the priorities of Croatia's EU presidency.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Croatia Supports Albania's European Journey

ZAGREB, March 2, 2020 - Croatia supports Albania's European journey and wants the Zagreb Summit during its European Union presidency to become a watershed in EU-Western Balkan relations, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Monday.

The main topic of our talks is Albania's European journey, he told reporters in Tirana, where he met with Albanian Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj.

With today's visit, we wish to show "Croatia's support on that journey," Grlić Radman said, adding that Zagreb was pushing for opening the accession negotiations without delay.

Croatia wants the negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia to be opened during its presidency of the Council of the EU and an "important contribution" of Croatia to that goal will be the Council's summit with Western Balkan states in Zagreb on May 6-7, he added.

Grlić Radman recalled that the summit would take place 20 years after the Zagreb Summit which opened Croatia's European prospects, saying he expected a similar watershed for Albania and North Macedonia.

"We want our Zagreb Summit to become a watershed in the relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans," he said.

According to an announcement by the Croatian Foreign Ministry, Grlić Radman is also to meet with Albanian President Ilir Meta and then go to Skopje, where he will give the same messages of support at a meeting with North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

More news about relations between Croatia and Albania can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Croatia to Donate a Million Euro to Albania for Post-Quake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, February 18, 2020 - Croatia will donate €1 million to Albania for reconstruction of healthcare and education infrastructure following a devastating earthquake that hit the country last November.

"The Croatian government decided at its meeting on 13 February to donate one million euro for infrastructure reconstruction in the area of healthcare and education," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in his address to a donors' conference in Brussels on Monday.

The conference was organised by the European Commission after a strong earthquake struck the Adriatic port city of Durres claiming the lives of 51 people and causing extensive property damage, estimated at €985 million.

As soon as the news of the disaster came in, Croatia dispatched 15 rescue workers and search dogs to Albania, and 1 million kuna (€135,000) worth of relief aid soon followed, the prime minister said, adding that Zagreb had also sent five engineers and civil protection specialists.

"We are here to help our friends," Plenković said.

In his address, Plenković also mentioned the EU-Western Balkans summit due to take place in Zagreb on 6-7 May and expressed hope that before that the EU would decide on opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

More news about relations between Croatia and Albania can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Croatia to Send Humanitarian Aid to Albania and Venezuela

ZAGREB, February 13, 2020 - The Croatian government on Thursday decided to send humanitarian aid to Albania as earthquake relief, and to Venezuela that is in a humanitarian and economic crisis and Zagreb will also help Bosnia and Herzegovina in procurement of police equipment necessary for the fight against cross-border crime.

Croatia will donate 1 million euro to Albania at a donor conference to be held in Brussels on 17 February. Albania will receive donations for reconstruction after a destructive earthquake hit that country in November last year, State-Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Zdravka Bušić informed the cabinet.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is expected to attend the Brussels conference.

On 26 November 2019, an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 hit Albania, resulting in 51 fatalities, with 1,000 people sustaining injuries while 4,000 people had to leave temporarily their homes. The disaster caused havoc to public and private infrastructure, hitting thousands of households and thousands of buildings were seriously damaged, including schools and health care facilities.

The Croatian government responded immediately after the earthquake and sent food and other kinds of aid to the local population.

Five thermal vision cameras and 198 sets of police equipment to be donated to Bosnia

Croatia will send aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina following several requests by Bosnia and Herzegovina's Interior Ministry and the ministries of three cantons in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and border police in those cantons, considering a rise in cross-border crime.

That represents a security challenge particularly in southern areas of the Federation entity that borders with Croatia, Bušić explained.

Therefore, Zagreb has decided to donate five thermal vision cameras and 198 sets of police equipment used in establishing public peace and order. The equipment is part of write-offs that the Croatian Ministry of Interior conducted last year.

Croatia will send USD 100,000 to Venezuela in order to procure medicines and basic hygienic products for vulnerable residents, including Croats and their descendants.

The crisis in Venezuela is one of the most critical humanitarian crises in the world at the moment, Bušić said and more than four million people have left the country since 2015 in the wake of economic and political instability.

An estimated million people have left the country since the end of last year alone while 90% of the population is living in poverty.

Since 2016 the EU has allocated €90 million in humanitarian aid for the people in Venezuela and those who have fled to neighbouring countries.

More news about relations between Croatia and Albania can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 13 January 2020

From Oil to Chocolate, Croatian Exports to Albania Grow Dramatically

The interest in deeper cooperation between Croatia and nearby Albania lies mostly in energy, mechanical engineering, electrical industry, construction, and Croatian exports to Albania are on the up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes on the 13th of January, 2020, one of the countries with which Croatia is experiencing strong growth in economic co-operation is Albania, and their Economy and Finance Minister Anila Denaj is on an official visit to Zagreb today.

She will talk with Croatian Economy Minister Dark Horvat, accompanied by businessmen, who will participate in the Croatian-Albanian Economic Forum, which will be held at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK). The businessmen of the two countries showed increased interest in business cooperation last summer, when the first forum was held, attended by some 20 Croatian and 88 Albanian companies, and today about 30 companies from Croatia and 20 companies from Albania applied for the bilateral talks.

Croatian exports to Albania have risen dramatically, and the most opportunities for cooperation, at least according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, lie in the energy, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics, pharmaceutical, food, textile and footwear industries, and especially in construction and investment in Albania.

Among the Croatian companies participating in the Forum are INA, Crosco, Končar, Metal Product, Vindija, Fragaria, Pik Vrbovec plus, Elda, Kemika, Perpetuum Mobile, Tehnix, Altpro, Ozimec, Neoinfo, Elektro Centar Petek, OPG Nevenka Jurin , Surium, Runs with Twins, Sano Modern animal nutrition, Transmitters and communications, Galko, Dam, the Port of Zadar (Luka Zadar), and Bureau Veritas Croatia.

Croatian exports to Albania were at their highest back in 2015, at 67.5 million euros, after which they recorded a decline, but they increased once again and reached almost 64 million euros in the first ten months of 2019, up by 36 percent year-on-year. The main Croatian exports are oil, fish products, electric transformers and chocolate, while from Albania, Croatia imports aluminum, footwear, processed fish, herbs and vegetables.

Imports from Albania are much more modest, but they have continued to grow and amounted to 7 million euros in the last 10 months of 2019.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Caritas Croatia Launches Campaign to Help Albania Quake Victims

ZAGREB, November 28, 2019 - Caritas Croatia has launched a campaign of quick assistance for the victims of a recent earthquake in Albania and sent a quick financial assistance amounting to 10 000 euros to the Caritas Albania, Caritas Croatia reported on Wednesday.

"We sympathise with the people in Albania whose lives have dramatically changed in a brief moment, who lost their loved ones or whose fate is still unknowns. With this modest but concrete help and with prayers we want to show unity in this difficult situation for them," said Fabijan Svalina, the head of Caritas Croatia.

He called on Croatian citizens and companies to join the campaign and express solidarity with the victims.

The earthquake death toll rose to 27 with hundreds of Albanian citizens seeking medical assistance after the quake struck the country's capital Tirana and its surrounding area in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

The epicentre was about 30 kilometres west of Tirana and was felt throughout the Balkans, and in southern Italy.

More news about charity drives can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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