Tuesday, 21 June 2022

PM: Unfair to Set Conditions for Finland's NATO Membership

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - It is unfair and incorrect to set conditions for Sweden and Finland's NATO membership, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin, expressing the government's support for Finland and Sweden's NATO membership bid.

"The position of the Croatian government and parliamentary majority has been continually clear and firm - we support Finland's ambition and believe that, if that is what our EU partner wants, its choice should be respected and supported," Plenković said at a news conference he held with the visiting Finnish PM.

"We believe that at this moment NATO membership is the security umbrella both Finland and Sweden want," he added.

The prime minister underscored that his government would advocate for the protection of the rights of BiH Croats and Bosnia and Herzegovina's European path, but without unfairly making Sweden and Finland's NATO membership conditional on those efforts.

Our task is to explain the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Finland's and Sweden's prime ministers and win their support for correcting the injustices, and not to call their choice into question, Plenković added.

Without naming President Zoran Milanović, the prime minister thus criticised his insistence to make Finland and Sweden's NATO entry conditional on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law. Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on 24 February.

Earlier on Tuesday, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin met with President Milanović, who told her that in principle, he was not against Finland's NATO entry but at the same time pointed out the difficult status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the security problems Croatia is faced with due to lack of stability in BiH.

Marin said that she had a good meeting with Milanović, that his position was very clear and that he did not have any problem with Finland and Sweden joining NATO, adding that she appreciated Croatia's support for Finland's NATO membership.

There is no closer relationship than membership in the same defence alliance and readiness to defend one another unconditionally, Marin said.

Finland and Sweden's NATO membership bid has been met with opposition from Turkey, which says that Helsinki and Stockholm support Kurdish militants and have imposed an arms embargo on Turkey.

Marin expressed optimism at the press conference in Zagreb.

She said that she believed that NATO would send a strong message of unity at a summit in Madrid next week, stressing that Finland and Sweden would make NATO stronger.

The Finnish prime minister also said that Helsinki supported Croatia's membership in the Schengen Area and the euro area.

Finnish PM does not express position on BiH's candidate status

Croatia is not alone in warning about the unjust neglect of Western Balkan countries' EU accession, with Slovenia and Austria especially pointing it out.

Slovenian foreign minister Tanja Fajon said Slovenia would request at the next EU summit that Bosnia and Herzegovina be awarded candidate status, after the Commission last week proposed that Ukraine and Moldova be given EU candidate status.

Plenković said that regardless of the latest initiatives from Austria and Slovenia, if there was one country that supported Bosnia and Herzegovina's candidate status and European path, it was Croatia.

He recalled that Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership when HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović was BiH Presidency Chairman.

Plenković underscored the importance of amendment of the country's election law for democracy and for the equality of its constituent peoples.

Asked about Finland's attitude towards conferring candidate status on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marin said Finland had not adopted a position yet but that it had a long history of supporting EU enlargement.

It is important to seriously consider all issues that are important to member states, she said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

The Climate Pledge: Croatian Post and Finnish Equivalent Find Common Ground

March the 19th, 2022 - Croatian Post, which is 100 percent state owned, and Finland's equivalent, have found common ground in the fact that they are both involved in a new initiative, The Climate Pledge.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian Post has joined The Climate Pledge initiative - an international, cross-sectoral community of companies and organisations founded back in 2019 by Amazon and Global Optimism. Along with the Finnish postal service, Croatian Post has become the only postal operator to join this initiative in achieving zero carbon emissions by the year 2040 - ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement target.

Currently, The Climate Pledge has more than 300 signatories across 29 countries, and includes 51 different sectors such as transportation, aviation, energy, real estate/property, and information and communication technologies. The signatories of the initiative generate more than 24 trillion kuna in global annual revenue and have more than 8 million employees. Companies and organisations joining the initiative have a key role to play in encouraging investment in the development of low-carbon products and services.

The signatories of The Climate Pledge initiative must agree the following:

That they will regularly measure and report on greenhouse gas emissions
That they will implement decarbonisation strategies in accordance with the Paris Agreement by introducing real business change and innovation, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, reduction of material consumption and other carbon elimination strategies
That they will offset all remaining emissions with additional, measurable, real, lasting and socially beneficial compensations to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 - a decade ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement target
That they will undergo a digital business transformation

All of the signatories are taking high-impact science-based actions to combat the ongoing threat of climate change, such as innovation in supply chain efficiency, sustainable transport, the circular economy and clean energy.

Croatian Post, as part of the wider Posta2022 Development Strategy, is intensively implementing the digital transformation of all of its business operations, about which we've written quite extensively and which is closely related to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions. Back in April 2021, the Sustainability Management Strategy entitled "Growing Green and Sustainable" was adopted, which includes doing green business and corporate social responsibility and corporate governance.

The strategy defines key areas with specific goals that need to be acheived, and by implementing the Sustainability Management Strategy, the company can ensure long-term stable growth that will also have a positive impact on the environment and all of its stakeholders.

There are more than 200 electric vehicles which make up the fleet of Croatian Post, which include 40 electric four-wheelers and almost 30 electric mopeds. In addition to the continuous expansion of the green vehicle fleet, Croatian Post also set up charging stations for electric vehicles in Velika Gorica, Zadar and Osijek, which laid the foundations for further expansion of its fleet of electric vehicles.

Last year, an alternative delivery channel was opened that will work to further reduce harmful emissions - a network of parcel machines (Croatian: paketomat). Parcel machines increase the percentage of successful deliveries on the first attempt, and delivery vehicles need to visit fewer locations, which significantly reduces emissions.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Croatian Economy Minister Conducts Working Visit to Finland and Norway

ZAGREB, August 27, 2019 - Croatian Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat will conduct a working visit to Finland and Norway from August 27 to 29 at the invitation of the Kongsberg company and he will tour Patria Aviation Oy, AIM Norway AS and Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, the Economy Ministry said on Tuesday.

On that occasion the minister will discuss the conditions for offset obligations to be fulfilled, future cooperation and of the presence of Patria and Kongsberg on the Croatian market, which would include some form of strategic partnership, transfer of know-how and technology, the ministry added.

In mid-June the Jutarnji List daily ran a report, later confirmed by Minister Horvat, that Patria was interested in establishing a centre for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft and helicopters at the Aviation Technical Centre (ZTC) in Velika Gorica, on the outskirts of the capital Zagreb.

A delegation from Patria visited the ZTC and a spokesman from the company told the daily that Patria wishes to establish a long-term partnership with state-run companies involved in maintenance, overhaul and repairs in Europe, and that the Adriatic region was very interesting in that regard.

Patria is a Finnish provider of defence, security and aviation life-cycle support services and technology solutions. It is involved in the maintenance of civil and defence aircraft and military helicopters. Patria is also interested in ZTC due to future large contracts for the maintenance of Croatia's helicopters.

ZTC is a state-owned company that maintains military and civil aircraft and helicopters. However, it has been faced with huge business problems for years, Jutarnji List wrote.

Confirming the daily's claims, Minister Horvat said that negotiations were being conducted with Patria, Kongsberg and a Belgian company regarding investments in the ZTC.

More news about Economy Ministry can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Plenković Meets with Prime Minister of Finland

ZAGREB, November 8, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his Finnish counterpart Juha Sipila, who met in Helsinki on Wednesday, agreed that the relations between Croatia and Finland had been more and more developed, and were now together preparing the programme for the European trio that will chair the Council of the European Union over the next year and a half year.

We have very good bilateral relations and had a good talk on EU issues and on bilateral relations. Our countries, together with Romania, form the trio faced with a challenging period when the European Parliament the Commission and others will change. I hope that we will not leave a lot unresolved matters for you during your chairmanship, Sipila told reporters after the talks with Plenković who arrived in Helsinki to attend a conference of the European People's Party.

Romania, which will take over the chairmanship at the start of next year, followed by Finland in the second half of 2019 and Croatia in the first half of 2020, form a European trio that together prepare the programme for the next year and a half.

Prime Minister Plenković also expressed satisfaction with the good development of the Croatia-Finland relations and their intensified contact, and recalled the introduction of four direct flights between Croatia and Finland during the six months of the tourism season which has notably contributed to tourist arrivals from Finland.

"With regard to the programme of the European trio, I think that our priorities converge with regard to growth, security, migration, global issues, relations with Southeast Europe, enlargement and joint efforts to complete negotiations over the multi-annual financial framework," Plenković said and expressed hope that those negotiations will have been completed by the time Croatia takes over the chairmanship. "If that happens to await us, we will be prepared," he said.

Agreement over the seven-year budget framework is always one of the most demanding issues in the European Union and negotiations go on for a long time. The European Commission delivered its draft multi-annual budget in May and expressed hope that an agreement on this matter would be reached before the European Parliament election in the spring next year. However, the chances for that are slim. In any case it is not excluded that an agreement is reached during Croatia's chairmanship.

Asked how to tackle populism, which is an increasing phenomenon throughout Europe, Plenković said that he endeavours to raise awareness in the Croatian public of European topics in such a way that after each summit meeting he speaks in parliament about the conclusions adopted at those meetings.

"My party's policy is very clear. We try to present matters as they are. We strive to win voters' support for a very clear platform without rhetoric that generates fear. The European Parliament election will be an opportunity to win the confidence of voters, an opportunity to send encouraging messages. Various types of parties exist. There are political parties and parties that can govern. We are a party that can govern," said Plenković who is the leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

Sipila added that in that regard the most important thing was to implement what the party had promised its voters.

For more on the HDZ party, click here.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Preparations for Croatia’s EU Presidency Continuing

ZAGREB, November 8, 2018 - Croatia and Finland will preside over the European Union (EU) in times full of challenges and they are ready to fully cooperate and support one another, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković and his Finnish counterpart Paula Rissiko said at their meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Jandroković, who is taking part in a European People's Party (EPP) congress in Helsinki together with a delegation of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), held talks with Rissiko within the frameworks of the preparation of trio (Romania, Finland, Croatia), for taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 Jan 2019 to 30 June 2020. The concept of trio/troika has been introduced to enable member states to share experiences and ensure coherence on an 18-months base.

"We primarily discussed the future presidency of the Council of the European Union because together with Romania we are part of the chairing troika. Croatia will chair the EU for the first time and Finland's experience is very important to us," Jandroković told the press after his meeting with Rissiko.

He underscored friendly bilateral relations, adding that both countries wanted to deepen cooperation in the economy and within the EU. The talks also focused on numerous challenges before the EU, including the migrant crisis, Jandroković said.

The two speakers expressed readiness to fully cooperate and support one another in order to successfully prepare and implement the parliamentary dimension of each of the three countries' presidencies. They also commended cooperation so far.

Jandroković and Rissiko also talked about topical European issues such as the future functioning of the European Union, the migrant crisis, topics discussed at the EPP congress and the election of the candidate for the European Commission president, according to a press release issued by the Croatian Parliament.

The two speakers agreed that Croatia and Finland shared the commitment to Euro-Atlantic structures, and that there was room to strengthen bilateral relations.

For more on ties between Croatia and Finland, click here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Plenković Concludes Visit to China, Travels to Finland

ZAGREB, November 6, 2018 - Croatia has a favourable geographical position in the middle of Europe and as a member of the European Union it is part of the large European market with over 500 million people which represents a great opportunity for Chinese companies interested in cooperation, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Shanghai on Tuesday, at the Croatia-China business forum which brought together representatives of about 30 Croatian and more than 130 Chinese companies.

With his participation in the business forum, the Croatian prime minister wrapped up his five-day visit to the world's second largest economy. During his stay in China, he held talks with top Chinese officials – President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang – and held a number of working meetings with Chinese business people.

Opening the business forum, Plenković invited Chinese companies to invest in Croatia, notably in railway infrastructure and naval ports, saying that Croatia wanted to increase its exports to China. "We want to attract new investment and I believe that our meetings will help further development of cooperation between Croatia and China. This forum shows that Croatian companies are increasingly interested in the Chinese market. Let's hope your talks today will result in numerous deals," Plenković said.

He underscored the advantages of Croatia's favourable geographical position, adding that Croatia is part of the market with 500 million people. Plenković stressed Croatia was entirely integrated in transport plans on the European level and focused on further investment in the railway sector.

He recalled that the overall trade between the two countries last year amount to 900 million dollars of which only 125 million dollars was Croatia's exports to China. "Our goal is to have a balanced trade...We want to increase Croatia's exports to China, which is why we are here, to help Croatia's exporters," Plenković said.

He also underscored the importance of cooperation with China in the China +16 initiative. The 16+1 format is an initiative launched by China aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU Member States and 5 Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia) in the fields of investments, transport, finance, science, education, and culture. In the framework of the initiative, China has defined three potential priority areas for economic cooperation: infrastructure, high technologies, and green technologies.

"It is a great honour for us to host the China+1 summit in spring 2019 in Dubrovnik," Plenković said. He also underlined the importance of the decision, adopted by the Hrvatske Ceste road operator, to select the China Road and Bridge Corporation to build the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia, which he described as "the most important infrastructural project in Croatia."

Plenković wrapped up his visit to China by expressed satisfaction with his stay in that country and the talks he held with the Chinese politicians and business people.

A delegation of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), led by HDZ chief Andrej Plenković, will take part in a congress of the European People's Party (EPP) in Helsinki on Wednesday and Thursday when EPP members are expected to elect their lead candidate for the next European elections, scheduled to take place on May 23-26, 2019.

Plenković will also hold a bilateral meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila on Wednesday.

The EPP meeting in Helsinki will also be attended by government leaders from the EPP ranks, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as well as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

Some EPP members are going to support Manfred Weber, currently the leader of the parliamentary group of the PPE in the European Parliament, in the running for the next President of the European Commission.

Manfred Weber is running against Alexander Stubb inside the group as the other EPP member aspiring to become this entity's candidate to the European Commission top job.

To read more about Croatian politics, click here.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Finland Supports Croatia’s Schengen and Erurozone Plans

ZAGREB, September 4, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini in Zagreb on Monday, expressing hope that a decision on Croatia's accession to the Schengen area would be made by the start of 2020, a government statement said.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Croatia to Cooperate with Romania and Finland in EU Presidency

ZAGREB, April 24, 2018 – Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Monday signed a declaration of cooperation among the parliaments of Croatia, Romania and Finland in support of the preparation and fulfilment of the parliamentary dimension of the EU presidency, the Croatian parliament said in a press release.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Croatia to Help Finland Protect Arctic?

ZAGREB, April 10, 2018 - Croatia sees a partner country in Finland and is counting on more intensive cooperation within the European Union, and the two countries could also cooperate in the protection of the Arctic region, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Tuesday after meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Finnish President Coming to Croatia

ZAGREB, April 9, 2018 - Finnish President Sauli Niinisto will pay an official visit to Croatia on 10 and 11 April, and during the first day of his stay in Zagreb on Tuesday he will be received by his host, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, according to a press release issued by the Office of the Croatian President on Monday.

Search