Friday, 17 September 2021

DANUP-2-Gas Project: Danube Countries United in Introducing Renewable Energy

September 17, 2021 - The DANUP-2-Gas Project, developing renewable energy opportunities for all Danube countries, is set to hold a stakeholder event on September 28 at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Engineering and Computing (FER).

The beautiful Danube region in Slavonia, apart from boasting natural beauty, also has a lot of historical and archaeological significance. This is evident with the European Commission having recognised the ''Iron Age Danube Route'' earlier this year.

That being said, the Danube river also boasts a political and economic factors, the one that unites all the countries through which the Danube flows. One form of such international cooperation is the DANUP-2-GAS project.

''The Danube region holds huge potential for sustainable generation and the storage of renewable energy. However, to date, this region has remained highly dependent on energy imports, while energy efficiency, diversity and renewables share are low. In line with the EU climate targets for 2030 and the EUSDR PA2 goals, DanuP-2-Gas will advance transnational energy planning by promoting generation and storage strategies for renewables in the Danube region by coupling electric power and the gas sector,'' says the official website of Interreg Danube which is handling the project.

In an effort to achieve their goals, the DANUP-2-Gas project aims to bring together energy agencies, business actors, public authorities, and research institutions to join the cause.

The project started on the July 1 2020, and it will last until the end of 2022. So far, 24 institutions from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and of course Croatian partners have begun cooperating for DANUP-2-Gas, united by the geographical fact that the Danube connects them all. The Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute (EIHP), the International Centre for the Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, and the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) are the project's Croatian representatives. Check out the full list of partners in the project here.

As (EIHP) reported on its website, September 28 will be an important date for the DANUP-2-Gas project as FER will hold a stakeholder event from 09:30 to 12:30, the lectures held in English will explain the potential of the project, as well as the uses and benefits of renewable energy in the hope of encouraging more support.

The event is imagined as a hybrid event, being held partly online and partly in person, but as EIHP warns, there is a risk of the event ending up being held entirely online, depending on the epidemiological situation.

''Based on the platform developed during the DTP project ENERGY BARGE, it will incorporate all pre-existing tools and an atlas, mapping previously unexamined available biomass and energy infrastructure. Further, a pre-feasibility study utilising an optimisation tool for efficient hub design will identify suitable locations for sectors coupling hubs and a combination of two idle resources in the Danube region.

The unused organic residue (e.g., straw) will be processed to biochar for easy transport along the Danube river and as the basis for synthesis gas generation. Adding hydrogen produced from surplus renewable energy allows for the upgrading of this syngas to a renewable natural gas. This will enable the storage of surplus energy in the existing gas distribution grid, increasing energy security and efficiency. All of the resources required for this process are available in the Danube region and the ten partner countries,'' the Interreg Danube website stated, elaborating the positive changes it is attempting to achieve.

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Thursday, 24 June 2021

Croatia and Hungary Sign Programme of Cooperation in Education and Science

ZAGREB, 24 June 2021 - Croatian Minister of Science and Technology Radovan Fuchs and Hungary's Minister for Human Resources Miklós Kásler on Thursday signed a program of cooperation in education and science for the period 2021 to 2025. 

"The document additionally testifies to the exceptionally good, friendly, harmonic relations between Croatia and Hungary. The centuries-long history of our two peoples comes to full expression in cooperation and friendly relations," said Minister Fuchs.

He underscored that the way the issue of the Hungarian minority in Croatia and the Croatian minority in Hungary, all the rights that national minorities enjoy, is definitely an example of how relations between minorities could be resolved in other EU countries.

"This program opens further possibilities for cooperation, additional elements that will improve what we have been trying to do this entire time, to preserve the cultural and national identity of our national minorities," Fuchs said.

The program adds a new element to that cooperation. Each country will send their teachers, not members of national minorities but native speakers, to improve and advance courses in their mother tongue. 

Fuchs thanked the Hungarian government for its aid to earthquake-struck areas in Croatia, particularly for the construction of a new elementary school in Petrinja.

Kásler: Both governments attach great importance to public education, the inclusion of minorities in education

Minister Kásler underscored that bother governments attach great importance to public education and the inclusion of national minorities in their own education and culture.

That cooperation exists equally between institutions, students, and teachers, he said.

"This is a beautiful and important station in development and cooperation. Just like Hungary has done for the Croatian minority, Croatia has expanded the possibilities in public education for the Hungarian minority. This is a symbolic step, but it is also very important because it enables that one country provides help for the other," said Minister Kásler.

In that context, he said that since 2010 Hungary has increased its financial investments by three and a half times, from the initial 1.8 billion forints (€5.1 million) to 10 billion (€28.5 million) now.

"We have to discuss material matters that will enable good functioning but I consider that content is just as important. We have 800 years of joint tradition and history, living in peace and allowing coexistence and survival in difficult times," he said.

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

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Croatia and Hungary Facilitate Tourist Travel Between Border

May 8, 2021 - As the season approaches, Croatia and Hungary have reached an agreement to lift restrictions on citizens crossing the border with a vaccination certificate.

The vaccination process is still underway and the cases of infections continue to decrease in Croatia, and it is thus that, as the summer season unfolds, Croatia and its neighbor to the east have reached a bilateral agreement recognizing each other's vaccination certificates with any COVID-19 vaccine.

As reports, this is an agreement which, with the presentation of a vaccination certificate, will enable unhindered travel of Croatian and Hungarian citizens between the two countries, and which will be able to cross borders without restrictions, such as mandatory self-isolation or negative test.

This is great news ahead of the main part of the tourist season, during which the highest intensity of tourist traffic is expected in Croatia.

As they point out from the CNTB, good trends from the Hungarian market are confirmed by today's virtual presentation and business workshop organized by the Representation of the Croatian Tourist Board in Budapest in cooperation with the Zadar County Tourist Board. This virtual event brought together more than 110 participants, and almost 300 individual meetings will be held during the day.

"The great interest of Hungarian partners for virtual presentations and business workshops is a good indicator for the tourist season. In addition to reminding all participants of the beauties of Croatia, and especially Zadar County, we informed them about the current travel conditions between the two countries. The news of concluding a bilateral agreement between Croatia and Hungary came at the right time, and a large number of Hungarians will surely choose Croatia as their destination", said Ivana Herceg, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Budapest, adding that the first airline between Budapest and Zadar, which will operate twice a week from July, will also contribute to good trends.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Defence Minister Mario Banožić Meets With Hungarian Ambassador Csaba Demcsák

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Wednesday met Hungary's incoming Ambassador to Croatia, Csaba Demcsák, expressing satisfaction with Croatian-Hungarian friendly relations.

"Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the long-lasting friendly relations between the two countries while Minister Banožić said that the two countries have developed excellent bilateral military cooperation," a press release from the defence ministry notes.

Banožić spoke about Croatian-Hungarian cooperation within the RACVIAC centre for security cooperation and the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) and at the Multinational Division Command Centre in Hungary, established jointly by Hungary and Croatia, as well as about their cooperation in the EU and NATO.

Ambassador Demcsák presented Hungary's current defence policy, underlining that he believes in the continuation of the two countries' good cooperation, the ministry's press release notes.

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


Monday, 4 January 2021

Hungarian Company Entering Croatian Gas Market Through Krk Terminal

January the 4th, 2021 - A Hungarian company is set to enter the Croatian gas market through the much talked about Krk terminal.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the purchase of liquefied natural gas through the Krk terminal will provide the Hungarian company MVM with direct access to new resources and clients and entry into the wider Croatian gas market, the group announced on the occasion of unloading their first shipment.

The Krk terminals commercial operations finally began on January the 1st this year with the docking of the tanker "Tristar Ruby", which delivered 155 thousand cubic metres of liquefied gas in total for the Hungarian gas trading company MFGK, a member of the aforementioned MVM group.

This shipment is "the first element of a package of agreements" by which MFGK reserved a total of 6.75 billion cubic metres of gasification capacities and supply contracts for a period of almost seven years back in June 2020, which started on January the 1st, 2021,'' the statement explained.

By supplying through the Krk terminal, the Hungarian MVM group is directly entering the wider Croatian gas market through the Croatian subsidiary of MFGK, in accordance with the strategy of expanding business in the region, which includes Croatia, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well as Serbia and Romania, it was added.

The Krk terminal and the procurement contracts concluded by MFGK will provide neighbouring Hungary with "real gas supply and the diversification of (supply) routes" as well as provide direct access to natural gas sources and "market players" that haven't been made available to on the Hungarian market or indeed on regional markets to date.

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Friday, 21 August 2020

Season Over in Croatia? Hungary to Tighten Borders from September 1

August 21, 2020 - Hungary will tighten the rules for border crossings from September 1 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that is rapidly growing in neighboring countries, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on the radio Friday morning. So, what will this mean for Croatia?

"As the school year begins, we will no longer be able to have the border crossing system as it was during the summer," Orban said. Under current rules, those returning to Hungary from countries where the number of new infections has increased must go into quarantine for 14 days, unless they have two negative tests.

Croatia is on the green list

However, Reuters writes that Croatia, which is a popular summer destination for Hungarians, is still on the green list, which means that no special rules apply. Reuters also states that there were 255 newly infected people in Croatia yesterday, bringing the total number to 7329. This number is by no means decreasing. 

Orban did not reveal details about the new restrictions, though it seems citizens are encouraged to take their holidays now before the September 1 deadline. 

I5046 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in Hungary so far, while 609 people have died.

Orban also announced a two-year economic recovery plan

Orban, a nationalist who has been in power for more than a decade, also said his government must draw up a two-year plan by mid-next month to boost the economy after an annual 13.6 percent drop in the second quarter.

The government’s official forecast still sees the economy shrink by 3% this year. However, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said last month that the country's economy could shrink by about five percent.

This was even before the release of GDP data for the second quarter.

On Friday, Orban did not present a new economic forecast for this year.


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Friday, 8 May 2020

Croatia: Territorial Claims in EU Unthinkable

ZAGREB, May 8, 2020 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Thursday commented on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Facebook post of a Great Hungary map which includes a part of Croatia, saying the two countries had excellent relations and that territorial claims were unthinkable in the EU.

"Generally, any territorial claims in the European Union are unthinkable as all states recognised each other," Grlić Radman said, adding that "the border between Hungary and Croatia has always been known."

"The existence of historical maps which can be bought in an antique store, and not sought in a closet, doesn't reflect reality and, in a way, they divert attention from real life topics, which is building a future together."

The minister was referring to Croatian President Zoran Milanovic's condemnation of Orban's post in which he said that "Closets in most European countries keep similar contents hidden", calling on young people not to share such posts on social media.

Grlić Radman said Croatia and Hungary had excellent relations, as evidenced by the protection of each other's minorities and tourism, adding that Hungary had been among the first to recognise Croatia and that more than 50 Hungarians were killed in the Homeland War.

Orban has been extending best wishes to Hungarian students ahead of school leaving exams for several days now on his Facebook page and on Wednesday, before a history exam, he published a historical map of Hungary that includes portions of Croatian territory.

This map is frequently used in Hungary's popular culture, notably at rallies of the far right, and can also be seen on Hungarian cars during the summer in Croatia.

The map refers to the Kingdom of Hungary before the signing of the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, whereby Hungarians lost about two thirds of their territory. For that reason, they consider the peace treaty a national tragedy.

Orban posted the map in the past as well and during a previous term in office he declared June 4, the anniversary of the treaty, a day of national unity, according to Reuters.

His latest Facebook post, shared almost 1,000 times, has been criticised by many inhabitants of Romania as the Great Hungary map includes a portion of its territory too.

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

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Milanović Reacts to Orban’s Map of Greater Hungary

ZAGREB, May 7, 2020 - President Zoran Milanović has told Croatian fourth-grade secondary school students ahead of school leaving exams to learn from history but to look to the future, thus responding to the publication of a historical map of the so-called Great Hungary on the Facebook page of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Writing in a Facebook post on Thursday, Milanović said that most European countries had in their closets historical maps showing them bigger than they are today, but they are unachievable and they always irritate the neighbours.

Orban has been extending best wishes to Hungarian students ahead of school leaving exams for several days now, and on Wednesday, before a history exam, he published a historical map of Hungary that includes portions of Croatian territory.

"Following the publication of the map/globe showing a hypertrophied Hungary, otherwise our neighbour and, in recent history, a friend which is currently in the firm grip of chronic 'map addicts', here is my message of encouragement to Croatian students ahead of their school leaving exams: Croatia is a modern European state and nation. In our closets and archives there are many historical maps that show our country much bigger than it is today," the president said.

"Closets in most European countries keep similar contents hidden," he added, calling on young people not to share them on their social media accounts. "They are not topical or achievable and, more importantly, they profoundly irritate our neighbours in pretty much the same way as we are irritated and surprised every time by maps that occasionally and predictably emerge like a dark fetish from the pages of some 'leaders' in our neighbourhood."

Milanović called such moves "provocations by those who know well that such maps will continue to remain in the closets."

"Learn from history, but look to the future," he told Croatian students.

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

Monday, 30 March 2020

Međimurje Farmers Will Be Able to Tend to Their Vineyards in Hungary

ZAGREB, March 30, 2020- Grape farmers from the northern Croatian region of Međimurje will be able to cross the border into Hungary to tend to their vineyards there despite the border restrictions Hungary has introduced to fight the coronavirus epidemic, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Sunday.

Szijjarto said that he and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman had agreed on cross-border commuting in areas near the border, according to the Hungarian news agency MTI.

The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry did not respond to Hina's query about the agreement.

Szijjarto says that Croatian grape farmers from Međimurje recently contacted him about the border restrictions preventing them from crossing over to Hungary to farm their grapes.

"And if they do not finish the work now then there certainly won't be any harvest," he said on Facebook.

The Hungarian minister said that he had phoned his counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman and they quickly agreed to enable commuting over the border.

"The two police captains will work out the details and spring work can start," Szijjarto said.

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

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Szijjarto Reiterates Hungary's Interest in LNG Terminal Project

ZAGREB, March 5, 2020 - Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday that Hungary wanted to participate in the LNG terminal project on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, expressing hope that Croatian Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić would soon convene a working group on Croatia's part.

Asked by reporters if there had been any progress with regard to Hungary's participation in the LNG terminal project, Szijjarto said that Hungary considered its energy cooperation with Croatia as "a game changer in the region." He said that there had been a lot of talk about diversification of energy supply routes but that nothing had really happened in that regard in the entire region.

Hungary sees the LNG terminal on Krk island as a huge opportunity for Hungary, for Croatia and for the entire region, Szijjarto said after signing a statement of intent with Croatian Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković to boost economic cooperation and transport ties between the two countries' border areas.

He said that Hungary had put forward a three-point proposal to Croatia.

First, to connect and combine the gas delivery networks of the two countries, which would eliminate the border crossing fees and make gas supply cheaper for both countries.

Second, to start together negotiations with external partners on gas deliveries to the terminal, primarily with Egypt, Qatar, Australia and the United States.

And third, Hungary is ready to buy a stake in the LNG terminal and Croatia should say what would be an acceptable size, because the terminal is Croatian.

"This is a comprehensive proposal from our side, for which we have a working group. I hope that Minister Ćorić will be ready to convene a working group on the Croatian side as well, as soon as possible," Szijjarto said.

Emphasising the importance of this project, he said that it has "a game-changing significance from our perspective because currently, when it comes to diversification of sources, this is the only viable solution for the upcoming years."

The value of the floating LNG terminal is estimated at €234 million. The European Commission has granted €101.4 million for the construction of the LNG terminal given that the project is included on the European Commission's list of projects of common interest.

Hungary made an offer to buy a 25% stake in the LNG terminal in 2018.

The Croatian government decided in early 2018 to allocate €100 million for the project, notably €50 million in 2019 and €50 million in 2020. The remaining €32.6 million would be provided by the founders of the LNG Croatia company - the electricity provider HEP and the natural gas supplier Plinacro.

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

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