Saturday, 30 July 2022

Gas Deal Between Croatia, Slovenia and Three Other EU members

ZAGREB, 30 July 2022 - In case of a real crisis in the supply of Russian gas and an EU emergency, member-states are expected to show solidarity, including by signing bilateral supply deals, and Croatia is currently preparing such an agreement with Slovenia, the Jutarnji List daily reports in its Saturday issue.

According to information available to the daily, talks will be held on solidarity deals also with Italy, Hungary and Austria, and they imply technical, legal and financial arrangements.

This mechanism was envisaged by a 2017 European regulation on supply security but so far only six solidarity deals have been signed in the EU. The first one was signed in December 2020 between Germany and Denmark, in late 2021 Germany and Austria signed such an agreement, and as many as four were signed this year - between Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania and Latvia, Italy and Slovenia, and Finland and Estonia.

The European Commission has in the meantime amended the regulation with articles which, if necessary, can be directly applied if there are no bilateral agreements.

The purpose of this is for countries to help one another in ensuring gas supply for their protected consumers (such as households and hospitals) also in the case of the biggest crisis.

Slovenia's minister said at an emergency European meeting on energy earlier this week that Ljubljana definitely wanted to conclude with Croatia an agreement to that effect before the end of the summer, and that a similar proposal had also been sent to Austria.

Under the latest EU agreement on reducing gas consumption by 15% in the period until the spring of 2023 (saving is currently voluntary but in case of an EU emergency, it will become compulsory), member-states need to update, by the end of the summer, their existing gas supply emergency plans and show how they intend to meet the reduction target, and report on it to the EC every two months.

As for members seeking solidary gas deliveries, they will be asked to show which measures they have taken to reduce domestic demand, the daily says.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Plaque Commemorating Croatia and Slovenia's Cooperation in 1990s War Unveiled

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - The scars and traces of the 1990s war and Slobodan Milošević's insane policy are felt even today, Croatian PM Andrej Plenković said in Slovenia on Monday, at the unveiling of a memorial to the cooperation of the governments of the two countries at the time of their struggle for independence.

The memorial plaque in Otočec Ob Krki was unveiled by the two countries' current prime ministers, Janez Janša and Plenković, and their prime ministers of 30 years ago, Franjo Gregurić of Croatia and Alojz Peterle of Slovenia.

"We remember all the horrors that happened during the Great Serbian aggression of the Milošević regime, and the crucial role in it of the then Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), both in Slovenia and in Croatia," said Plenković.

As of mid-1991, there were no longer JNA troops in Slovenia's territory, while a part of Croatia's territory was occupied until 1995 and the military and police operations Flash and Storm, Janša said.

"We suffered the consequences of that aggression practically throughout the 1990s, and the scars and traces of that period and Slobodan Milošević's insane policy are unfortunately felt to this day," Plenković added.

Janša said that "it is important to have a good neighbor in difficult situations" and that Croatia and Slovenia were good neighbors to one another at the time.

Gregurić said that understanding and cooperation made it possible for businesses to reopen despite the war, for trade to function as well as transport, "which to us was very important because there were de facto major barriers to transport connectivity due to the war in Croatia, not only with Serbia but the Eastern Bloc as well."

"Our customs and police services agreed very quickly and there were no impediments to the transport of any goods and services between Croatia and Slovenia. To us it was very important to have a free passage and a corridor to the West," the former Croatian PM said, thanking Slovenia for taking in a portion of Croatian refugees, and Plenković and Janša for their successful cooperation.

Slovenia's six-month EU presidency is nearing the end and Slovenia has been a partner to Croatia on its journey to accession to the Schengen and euro areas, said Plenković.

"Slovenia has been not only a friend and partner that supports us, but it has also been an EU chair actively helping us make progress in the months to come," Plenković said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Milanović and Pahor Unveil Monument to Slovenian Poet Prešern in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 18 Oct 2021 - Croatian and Slovenian Presidents, Zoran Milanović and Borut Pahor, unveiled a monument to a Slovenian poet, France Prešeren in Zagreb's Bundek Park, on Monday after they had unveiled a bust to one of the leaders of the Croatian National Revival, Ljudevit Gaj in Ljubljana earlier in the day.

The monument to Peršen is situated in Bundek Park's Alley of Poets, thus joining monuments to the Russian writers Aleksandr Pushkin and Sergei Yesenin, the Hungarian writer Mór Jókai and the father of Bulgarian literature, Ivan Minchev Vazov.

Prešern's poem Zdravljica (A Toast) is the text of the Slovenian national anthem.

Addressing the public, Milanović said that Croatian and Slovenian anthems were created during the same period and they also have in common the fact that that they are peaceful.

"What it (the Slovenian anthem) has in common with the Croatian anthem, besides being written at nearly the same time, is that it is very peaceful”, President Milanović stated at the unveiling of the bust of France Prešeren.

Milanović added that both Gaj and Prešern were "lawyers by profession, but unsuccessful ones."

"It was at the time when the national word and language, without which there is no nation, were formed, built, measured, and designed by lawyers. Today this is unthinkable. Such were the times, today we live in the time of a bureaucratized, but common European Union. A most beautiful day, this morning Gaj in Ljubljana, and this afternoon Prešeren – let us continue this way. Croatian-Slovenian relations are becoming a more and more beautiful story, and there is no reason for it not to remain as such," President Milanović said in concluding his address during the bust-unveiling ceremony at Bundek.

Pahor described Prešeren as "a key figure in Slovenian history," and that his poetry "promotes European values like good neighborly relations, coexistence and fostering differences."

He underscored that today great divisions exist in Slovenia, Europe, and the world and that in that context Zagreb and Ljubljana are capitals that are showing "Europe as their joint home" how to celebrate their own and European identities based on values that bring peace and security.

"I want this day to be a holiday of good neighborly relations, coexistence, friendship, and trust between two nations," said Pahor.

The idea for the monument to France Prešeren was initiated by Slovenia's Embassy and the Slovenian House in Zagreb whereby the Slovenian community in Croatia is celebrating 30 years of Slovenia's independence.

The City of Zagreb prepared the site for the monument and Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said today that he was happy to support the project.

"This monument is an expression of respect for and friendship with the Slovenian people," said Tomašević during the ceremony.

France Prešeren, who was born on 3 December 1800 and died on 8 February 1849, is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest Slovenian poets.

For more on politics, click here.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Dok-Ing Seeks Path to EU Funding Through Croatian-Slovenian Consortium

September the 28th, 2021 - The well known Croatian company DOK-ING has signed a letter of intent to form a Croatian-Slovenian consortium of companies in the field of security and defense with the Croatian companies Orqa and Defensphere and the Slovenian companies MIL Sistemika and Bijol.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, an agreement was also signed between the Croatian and Slovenian defense industry competitiveness clusters with the aim of providing support to the defense industry sector of the two neighbouring countries in the use of available EU funds. The signing was held as part of the eighth International Fair of Defense, Security, Protection and Rescue SOBRA, which took place from the 23rd to the 25th of September, 2021, in the Slovenian town of Gornja Radgona.

The new Croatian-Slovenian consortium, composed of members of the competitiveness cluster of the defense industry of the two countries, opens the possibility of joint application to the future European Defense Fund and the use of European Union funds made available in the field of defense. The association of cluster members is also a consequence of the long-term promotion of connecting companies that, through the transfer of knowledge and joint action, work to strengthen their own capabilities for the development of high-tech products and positioning on the highly demanding international market.

"DOK-ING has been present in the defense industry worldwide for thirty years now, and it's always looking for new and innovative solutions that can improve its existing product portfolio and develop completely new products for the global market. We're extremely pleased that as an international leader in the market of robotic systems for special purposes, we've signed a letter of intent for cooperation on the eve of the upcoming European Defense Fund with the companies Orqa, MIL Sistemika, Bijol and Defensphere.

By connecting these companies, transferring knowledge and new technologies, as well as exchanging business experiences on foreign markets, opportunities open up for the development of advanced innovative systems that can be financed from European Union funds. This is our opportunity to translate our common knowledge and potential into products that will be imposed as systems of the future of the defense industry, and which will be competitive worldwide,'' said Ana Pesic, a member of the board of Croatia's DOK-ING.

“Orqa d.o.o. is an international market leader in the field of research and the development of video glasses and systems for remote-controlled and unmanned platforms. The European Defense Fund is an excellent opportunity to finance projects that combine the knowledge, experience and capacity of companies from our consortium into globally competitive products. The key to the resilience and growth of the Croatian defense industry is in the direct support of the competent state administration bodies to projects that have great added value and high-tech elements. I believe that the coming period, supported by the European Defense Fund, will be a new impetus for the development of the defense industry sector,'' said Tomislav Krolo, Chief Operating Officer (COO), at Orqa d.o.o.

DOK-ING is otherwise a well known and respected Croatian company based in Zagreb which boasts offices in the USA and South Africa. It is an international market leader in the design, production and delivery of high quality and proven robot systems for special purposes to customers from around the world.

For more, follow our business section.

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.

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

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

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Croatia, Slovenia and Italy Have Best Ever Cooperation in the Adriatic

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - Cooperation between Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy in protecting the Adriatic Sea is at its highest level in history, the foreign ministers of Croatia and Slovenia, Gordan Grlić Radman and Anže Logar, said at the Bled Strategic Forum.

Logar and Grlić Radman participated in a panel discussion on cooperation in the Adriatic, which was originally to have been attended online also by Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

"The Adriatic Sea obliges us to cooperate," said Grlić Radman addressing the panel discussion and adding that the three countries were working to connect ports in the northern Adriatic and care for the blue economy and environmental protection.

Logar said that the three countries had shown that they could cooperate on something "common and very valuable" and that that cooperation had been raised to a completely new level.

The Exclusive Economic Zone is a good way to preserve the Adriatic, however, the Trilateral is even more important, Logar said, referring to cooperation between the three states.

"If anyone pollutes the sea, it will be polluted for all three countries," said Logar.

"We need to cooperate and find a way to preserve that ecosystem," he concluded.

The three countries signed two declarations in December last year and April this year related to protecting the Adriatic and the two documents envisage, among other things, defining and protecting bio-zones in the Adriatic and preserving the sea in general.

After the panel discussion, Grlić Radman and Logar left for Brdo pri Kranju where they will attend an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Plenković Praises Relationship With Slovenia During Janša’s Term

ZAGREB, 1 Sept, 2021 - Croatia and Slovenia have improved their relationship during the term of the incumbent Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at the start of the 16th Bled Strategic Forum in the Slovenian lakeside town of Bled on Wednesday. 

"I think that during the term of Prime Minister Janez Janša we have established excellent dialogue, excellent communication and cooperation. Economic relations, tourism, outstanding issues - they are all being dealt with to the satisfaction of both countries," Plenković said.

He added that unresolved issues between the two countries, such as the border dispute, should be addressed in ways that would not harm their mutual relations, and that this was possible during the term of the present government.

Plenković is attending a panel on the future of Europe, the theme of this year's forum, which Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar has described as "the strongest yet".

On the margins of the gathering, the Croatian prime minister is due to meet with Prime Minister Janša, European Council President Charles Michel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Earlier in the day, Plenković talked with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. He is also expected to meet with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, but not bilaterally.

The Croatian prime minister was also due to meet with Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić, but the Montenegrin delegation has cancelled its arrival.

The forum is also being attended by European Parliament President David Sassoli, Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi, Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, North Macedonia, Poland and Albania, High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt and two members of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić.

Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman will join the two-day forum on Thursday, when he will speak at a panel on cooperation in the Adriatic Sea.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Croatian-Slovenian Fund to Spend Millions on Linking Tech and Business

July the 28th, 2021 - A Croatian-Slovenian fund has secured a massive forty million euros and plans to pump it directly into connecting the technology sector with the business one.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), the European Investment Fund and the Slovenian Export and Development Bank (SID) is establishing a Croatian-Slovenian fund/platform to finance the commercialisation of technological and scientific solutions from universities, research institutes and value centres from the two neighbouring countries.

The agreement on the establishment of a regional platform for technology transfer was signed in the Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana on Monday, and the value is estimated to stand at at least 40 million euros. The platform will be financed by the Croatian and Slovenian development banks, each with 10 million, and the EIF with an additional 20 million euros.

The money from this Croatian-Slovenian fund will be invested in the establishment of a regional fund for technology transfer, ie a venture capital fund. The money is intended for projects developed by both Croatian and Slovenian universities, research institutes and centres in the so-called ''proof of concept'' phase.

At least 15 million euros will be spent on entirely Croatian projects, and the EIF estimates that more than 350 patents and 100 spin-off companies that could be funded through the fund will be applied in a period of just five years.

"Croatia isn't lagging behind in the development of patents and new solutions, but it is lagging behind in their application within the economy. The Croatian and Slovenian markets lack a link in financing due to which many valuable patents and technological solutions never experience commercialisation. This is the most risky form of investment, so private capital is rarely invested in such projects. Our role is to compensate for this shortcoming and enable a strong link between science and entrepreneurship,'' said the head of HBOR, Tamara Perko.

"This is one of the most important days for Slovenian and Croatian scientists since Slovenia and Croatia both became independent nations," added Igor Emri, head of the department at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Croatian PM Attends Ceremony Marking 30 Years of Slovenia's Independence

ZAGREB, 26 June 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković attended a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence in Ljubljana on Friday, and in his speech he pointed out the ties between the two nations in history and at the time of their independence from Yugoslavia 30 years ago.

"Croatia and Slovenia are two friendly countries, and Croats and Slovenes are two friendly peoples. What divides us is a trifle compared to what binds us together," Plenković said, congratulating Slovenia on the 30 years of independence.

He said that on the same day in 1991 the parliaments of Slovenia and Croatia had taken crucial decisions that led to the independence of the two countries. He noted that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, other countries had also become independent, but that Croatia and Slovenia did not gain their independence peacefully. 

"Both our countries were the victims of military aggression, we both know what war is like," Plenković said. This fact binds Croatia and Slovenia even today as they both know what was happening then, he added.

Plenković said he hoped that the Slovenian presidency of the European Union in the second half of the year would be successful and that he was sure that Slovenia would make a significant contribution to this process with its knowledge and creativity. He stressed that Slovenia can count on Croatia as a partner and friend in this process.

The ceremony was also attended by the Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the foreign ministers of Italy and Portugal, and EU Council President Charles Michel.

In his address, Slovenian President Borut Pahor called for unity in diversity, for an end to political quarrels and for achieving "a third consensus" on how Slovenia should be developing over the next 30 years. He said that his country should develop through a smart and green strategy by strengthening plurality and dialogue in society. 

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

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Slovenian PM Supports Croatia's Schengen Entry

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša on Wednesday supported the Schengen entry of Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania as it would strengthen security in Europe.

We support Croatia's entry to the Schengen Area, as well as the entry of Bulgaria and Romania. We believe those are steps that strengthen security in Europe, he told a joint press conference with European Parliament President David Sassoli.

He spoke at the press conference via video link from Ljubljana after presenting to European Parliament leaders the priorities of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, which starts on 1 July.

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković said in Brussels on Tuesday he expected Croatia's Schengen membership could be on the agenda during the Slovenian presidency.

"Croatia is on the right track to become a member of the Schengen Area in 2022 and then to enter the eurozone. I think that's possible. When we look at the very good relations we now have with Slovenia, it would be a great scenario if something like that happened during Slovenia's presidency of the Council of the EU," he told the press.

Janša today also supported EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, saying many problems there, including the border issue, would be taken off the agenda with the accession of those countries.

EU enlargement is in our common interest. It should be our strategic response to numerous challenges, he added.

He said that when the EU was dealing with the financial and then the migrant crisis, neglecting enlargement, some other factors started expanding their influence in the Western Balkans.

Those foreign factors don't have the same values as we in the European Union, he added.

Janša said a European perspective was the answer.

We can solve problems by making borders less important. Slovenia is now part of the European Union and Schengen, where there are no physical borders, he added.

He announced an EU-Western Balkan summit for 6 October in Slovenia.

As for the priorities of Slovenia's EU presidency, Janša highlighted respect for the rule of law and EU resilience to crises. He also underlined the importance of the Conference on the Future of the EU, which will end next year during the French presidency.

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

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