Friday, 7 May 2021

DEFENDER-Europe-21: Zadar Doing Its Part in Large NATO Exercise

May 7, 2021 - As part of NATO, Croatia participates in a large military exercise called DEFENDER-Europe-21, and UK and US navy ships arrived in Zadar with valuable equipment to be distributed among training areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Large-scale, multinational, and army-lead, DEFENDER-Europe is a joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO, and partner militaries. This year's edition DEFENDER-Europe-21, as reported by U.S. Army Europe and Africa website, focuses on „Building operational readiness and interoperability with a greater number of NATO allies and partners over a wider area of operations is defensive in nature and focused on responding to the crisis if necessary“, and also shows that „the U.S. commitment to NATO is ironclad.“

The exercise also includes strict COVID prevention and mitigation measures, such as pre-deployment COVID testing and quarantining and the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy show significant involvement and will utilize key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia, and Africa – continues the website.

„Exercises new high-end capabilities such the new U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades, air, and missile defense assets and the recently reactivated V Corps and demonstrates our ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and the Black Sea regions while sustaining our abilities in northern Europe, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Africa“, adds the exercise goals the official U.S. Army website.

Apart from the U.S., Approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries, and as a NATO member, Croatia has not been left out of the drill.


U.S. Naval Ship Yuma arrives in Zadar, Croatia © Sgt. Alexandra Shea

As part of the exercise, U.S. Naval Ship Yuma and U.K. Vessel Hurst Point off-loaded more than 300 pieces of military equipment in Zadar, Croatia’s Gazenica port, after ferrying it from Durres in Albania. The delivery started on Tuesday, May 4, and it was concluded on Friday. The journey of the equipment started back on March 24 at the Port of Jacksonville in Florida. The local U.S. National Guard units were shipping the equipment for three days onto USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300) after which, the ship stopped by Portsmouth in Virginia for the final pieces of equipment before heading towards Durres in Albania. In Durres, the smaller vessels took the equipment and finally loaded it to Yuma, and Hurst Point, which brought it to the gem of Northern Dalmatia, Zadar.

„This process is called Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, a method used to ensure swift delivery of supplies and equipment in a variety of port situations“, explained the press release.

U.S._equipment_leaves_for_training_area-c-Sgt._Joshua_Oh.jpgU.S. equipment leaves for training area © Sgt. Joshua Oh 

While many would probably stop at Zadar and chill for a lovely holiday, the equipment, however, will continue its journey. Part of the equipment will remain in Croatia, but it will be transferred to Slunj, home of the Main Training Area, and the rest goes to training areas scattered in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In BiH, the drills and maneuvers for which the equipment will be used are under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21” which will culminate in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” at the end of May. Not just as a test of possibility in the „God-forbid-we-are-attacked“ scenario, Croatian Rampart 1991-2021“ also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatia Armed Forces.

The Main Training Area in Slunj, Croatia and training areas throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina to be used in drills and maneuvers alongside members of the Croatian Armed Forces, under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21.” The exercise culminates in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” - which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces at the end of May.


British Major Dan Cornwell talking to Croatian press, screenshot / Defense Flash News

British Major Dan Cornwell told the Croatian press that the idea of being in Zadar is that Croatian, U.K., and U.S. forces operate together in loading U.S. equipment and personnel.

„We've done this before, on exercise last year in Germany, and I can say, it's a lot better down here in the south, it's absolutely amazing to be here in Croatia to do this alongside Croatian Armed Forces where we can better understand how we operate differently, how we operate similarly and equally building up our interoperability and our ability to operate better in the future“, said Maj. Cornwell, indicating that perhaps he can find Zadar, like many others, as a great holiday destination and not just the line of duty.

Learn more about Zadar on our TC page.

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

Friday, 16 April 2021

Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team Visits Croatia's Krila Oluje Pilots

ZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - Ten British Royal Airforce planes landed at the military based in Zemunik on Friday enroute to Greece to visit Croatia's Airforce - Krila Oluje (Wings of the Storm) aerobatic team, the Defence Ministry reported in a press release.

The British Red Arrow pilots were welcomed by their Croatian colleagues in the Krila Oluje team along with a team of aircraft technicians.

"After a long 2020 when we were not able to meet at base nor in the air, we are truly honoured to be able to receive our dear friends and offer them support on their way to Greece," Captain Darko Belančić said.

He hopes that the next season will be more successful despite all the challenges and that pilots will be able to conduct training and prepare for various performances.

"We look forward to their visit again on returning to the United Kingdom after the completion of the Springhawk exercise and hope that we can organise and plan a joint flight and exchange of experiences," added Belaničić.

This is the fourth time the Red Arrows have visited Zemunik as one of the bases on the way to Tanagra in Greece where they will conduct a five-week training in preparation for 2021 performances.

The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Scampton. The team was formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.

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


Friday, 9 April 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Extends Condolences on Prince Philip's Death

ZAGREB, 9 April, 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Friday extended his condolences to Queen Elizabeth II, the royal family and British people on the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"On behalf of the Croatian Government, I express my most heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen @RoyalFamily and the British people on the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip will be remembered for his lifetime of service to the United Kingdom," Plenković tweeted.

The Queen's husband died in Windsor aged 99, Buckingham Palace said.

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



Saturday, 27 March 2021

Inspiring Croatian Diaspora Story: Dusica Hoban  – Making Individual Donations to Croatia from UK

March 27, 2021 – In an inspiring Croatian diaspora story, meet Dusica Hoban, a woman who has been helping Croatia with her selfless donations.

In the last 6 years, I was part of the team that organized — Meeting G2 — a business conference for Croatian Diaspora. It was an exciting project that allowed me to meet a lot of Croats from the diaspora and to discuss their ideas, wishes, but also problems and obstacles that they are facing when coming to Croatia and trying to do business here. Through the Crowdfunding campaign that I did for Visnjan Observatory, I also met Dusica Hoban, who dedicated a lot of her time and financial resources to helping people in Croatia. Since I found her motivation and results rare in Croatia and the Croatian diaspora, I proposed doing a short interview. Hopefully, her enthusiasm will inspire others to similar actions or to connect with her and maybe in the future to create some humanitarian trust.

1. For the beginning, share with us a bit about your background story? How long are you living in the UK, and what are you doing right now?

I was born in Pazin, and from 1966 I lived and studied in Sweden. From 1972 I lived studied and worked in the U.K. For many years I worked in the NHS in finance and business management. Following several personal tragedies in 2004/5, I had to leave that work and rethink how to survive financially to enable me to continue to support myself and my two children, to finish the private education system and universities. That is when I took steps to start investing and have continued to do so to this day.

2. How did you come to the idea to help Croatian people, institutions, or the state in general?

My charitable effort really started with a Moldovan boy Andre, around 2006/7. This boy had a hole in his skull when an electrical cable fell on him; at that point, he had not been outside for three years to prevent infections. The local doctors only managed to patch up his skull with some skin, but what he actually needed was a metal plate and many operations performed in the U.K. over a period of two years.

Andre successfully recovered and learned fluent English at a private school in Surrey, which was not far from the hospital where he was being treated and staying with a compassionate English family.

As I was being updated on Andres's progress, it made me realize how important it is what we individually do for others…in some cases literally saving their life.

The reason I have decided to focus primarily on helping in Croatia is following a talk at the Croatian Embassy in London. The talk was by EBRD Bank, about the integration of Eastern European countries into the EU. I was shocked to hear that Croatia was the country they were concerned about the most, even falling behind Bulgaria and Romania. At the end of the talk, I challenged the speaker to explain Croatia, and his short answer was - Croatia lacks quality people…This came as a huge shock to me!

3. What types of projects are you aiming at?

I have been aiming and concentrating mainly on a humanitarian concept, although I have been known to dip into culture and education.

4. You participated in Visnjan Crowdfunding, did you had other successful ideas or projects that you backed up or initiated?

This is the list of projects that I supported in the last few years:

2017 — Pazin School (books, English club)

2017 — Maggie’s, Charring Cross Hospital (Cancer support)

2018 — Senoa House, Zagreb (Repairs)

2018 — Pazin Hospital (Palliative Care)

2019 — Podravsko Sunce (Montessori Materials)

2019 — Pazin Hospital (Ultrasound)

2020 — Adra, Zagreb (Earthquake first aid)

2020 — Nismo Same, Zagreb (Cancer support)

2020 — Zvjezdarnica, Visnjan (Education)

5. What is your favorite so far?

I think my favorite so far has to be the ultrasound equipment for Pazin hospital. When I was shown around by the hospital manager, and I realized that they only had some old broken X-ray mc. They were working very hard to obtain the palliative care status so that the chronically sick patients didn’t have to pay to stay and be cared for in their last few weeks in this world. To obtain that status and for the government to fund this service, they had to have a European standard; however, on my visit, they were still missing adequate beds, shower rooms, etc. I decided to buy them two beds and two televisions immediately. I had a subsequent meeting with the director of Istarski Domovi Zdravlja and promised to pay a substantial sum towards a new ultrasound, providing he could explore how to fund the rest. It all took about 20 months to materialize, which included a fantastic concert and a play to raise the money and not forget that some Croatian people sent money from Canada and Sweden. They decided to invest in superior ultrasound equipment to develop further clinics at the center, and the vulnerable didn’t have to travel to Pula/Rijeka.

6. You had a certain number of interactions with „locals" in Croatia, representatives of the different government or state bodies and institutions. What is your experience with them?

I am sorry to have to say that initially, I didn't find the people I was trying to obtain information from very helpful. In the beginning, I didn’t know where to start, so I wrote emails to the heads of towns, hoping that they would guide me to the right departments, however at times, I sent three messages and did not get a reply. This was very disappointing for me, considering I was looking to help, and they couldn’t even be bothered to reply to my messages. Also, one institution didn’t even acknowledge the receipt of the donation, I had to keep ringing them, and the head has not to this day personally contacted me to acknowledge anything, just got a member of her staff to write to me, at which point in quite a rude, arrogant manor.

Also, I tried to contact an ex-Ambassador, when I was planning to sponsor a top student to study in the U.K. He never replied to my message, following that I sent a message to his wife, just in case he didn’t receive my message, she also did not reply. All I needed was a contact at the university…

Also, I feel that people are not used to someone giving something with no expectation in return. Often they don’t want to get involved because that would mean more work for them, and they choose to do the minimum and choose not to be helpful, even if it means that someone else will lose out. I find that very sad.

7. How are you connected with other members of the Croatian diaspora, and do you have any plans?

With regret, I am not connected to the diaspora. I have tried but have not been very successful. The few I have met in London have not been in any way inspirational, not even vaguely interested in what I am trying to do. I was told that they are only interested in culture…

8. From whom did you get the most support in Croatia so far?

I would love to be able to say that it was a Croatian person who was the most helpful and supportive in my charitable endeavor. Still, it is with pride that I can tell that it is Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish, who has taken the trouble to meet up with me on several occasions and Andreja Maretic. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do. Sometimes it just needs a kind word from people I respect to give me strength and belief to continue, despite the negative people one meets on the route.

9. What are your plans for donations?

Hopefully, if good health serves me well, I intend to continue for the rest of my life.

Ideally, it would have been brilliant if I had met someone with my outlook and passion and form a trust, which would have enabled me to do even more. But as it is now, if I get involved with one or two projects per year, I am happy. Otherwise, it would take up all my time, and I feel having worked exceptionally hard in my youth, I intend to enjoy some of my free time before I get too old.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Croats, Brits with Croatian Residence Can Return from UK to Croatia

January the 1st, 2021 - Following the shock ban on passenger transport from the UK to Croatia and vice versa after the discovery of a new strain of the novel coronavirus in parts of southern England, the ban has been lifted for Croatian citizens and British citizens who hold residence in Croatia. They may now travel home from the UK to Croatia.

The impulsive ban threw a proverbial spanner in the works for many a would-be Christmas traveller, and indeed for those waiting for turnaround flights by either British Airways or Croatia Airlines at either end. For some, the sheer level of wanton disregard for those trapped on either side of the channel was too much to deal with after a horrifically stressful year, with some taking their anger directly to PM Andrej Plenkovic's Twitter, where he announced what was to be an initial 48 hour flight ban.

It is worth remembering that the European Commission issued a non-binding recommendation that EU member states lift these blanket bans to allow for essential travel, as nobody should become stranded anywhere. Individual countries, however, could still do as they pleased, and Croatia did just that.

That initial 48 hour flight ban was extended until midnight on the 31st of January, 2020, as the rules for travel to the EEA for UK citizens who are also UK residents were set to change as Britain's transition period drew to a close anyway.

The official page of the British Government (GOV.UK) updated its rules as the UK's Brexit transition period ended last night, reflecting the changes. It now states that travel from the UK to Croatia, or indeed from UK citizens arriving from any other non-EU/EEA country to Croatia would not be permitted for the duration of Croatia's coronavirus measures, which are currently set to remain in place until the 15th of January unless they're extended again.

Thankfully, this ban on British travellers coming from either the UK or any other non EU/EEA country does not include Croatian citizens or British nationals who hold lawful residence in Croatia. Such people fall within the bracket of ''limited exceptions'' to this rule. As do those travelling for ''urgent personal, family or business reasons'', but all those arriving from the UK to Croatia for whatever reason must still present a negative PCR test result which is not older than 48 hours when crossing the Croatian border, or get tested immediately upon arrival (at their own expense) and self-isolate until a negative result is obtained.

It's worth remembering that testing isn't available at Croatian airports, so you're free to go and get your test from a testing centre (list here) before self-isolating. The results are typically available within 48 hours or less.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Thursday, 30 July 2020

HTZ Marketing Succeeds in UK, Problem Lies in Another European Country...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 29th of July, 2020, an intensified campaign on the UK market will be carried out intensively until August the 10th, and a special article about Croatia in the Daily Mail was excellent promotion for Croatia, but there needs to be a resolution to the issues with another European country for HTZ to succeed further...

As soon as the United Kingdom put Spain on the red list of countries from which the British must enter into a fourteen-day quarantine upon their return to their country, the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB) decided to step up promotional activities on that market.

As confirmed by HTZ, an intensified online campaign on social networks, the Google search engine and through native articles has been active since July the 27th, which also provides all relevant information for a safe arrival and stay in the country.

The intensified campaign will be carried out intensively over the next two weeks, more precisely until August the 10th. Promotion on the Dutch market is continuing at the same pace as before, although the Netherlands put Croatia "on the orange list" last week, HTZ added.

If we were to ask the tourism sector alone, the Dutch issue is perhaps more important for Croatia at this time, because the British were almost given up on this year due to a number of reasons, despite the fact that the UK is perhaps the most important European country when it comes to tourism in Croatia. The announcements from the Dutch market were decent, and it is a generous camping emitting market that is more accessible than the British market is this year due to a lack of flights.

"We started implementing intensive promotional campaigns on the British market in early July, from the moment the British put us on the list of safe countries. In addition to advertising and invitation campaigns and informative messages about travelling to Croatia, it's great that a special on Croatia was published in the Daily Mail (on July the 24th), which presented Croatia's tourist offer, and showcased Croatia as safe,'' they stated from HTZ.

It has since been discovered that the Daily Mail's glossy ''Croatia special'' wasn't a paid contribution, but it was created upon a decision made by the editorial board that Croatia is attractive and safe enough for British guests. Croatia expects stronger traffic from the British market in August, given that airlines have started with operations from London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and other areas of the country.

This is especially important for destinations in the central and southern parts of Dalmatia, where British tourists most often come to stay. So far in July, there have been around 20,000 arrivals and almost 90,000 overnight stays from the UK market, and there are currently around 7,000 British tourists staying in the country.

While the Spaniards are struggling since the British authorities issued a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine for British tourists returning from that country, for Croatia, the biggest problem remains the Dutch decision to introduce the same measure for Dutch passengers arriving back in the Netherlands from Croatia.

The decision which was made a week ago is still in force, despite numerous actions to try to withdraw it, be it through politics or civic initiatives and petitions.

Despite the issues, about 17,000 Dutch tourists are currently staying in Croatia, which shows that the number of guests who left Croatia due to the Dutch Government's recommendation isn't at all significant, as there were about 23,000 at the beginning of last week. There were 56,350 arrivals from that market in July, and since the moment Croatia was put on the orange list by the Netherlands, over 6,000 guests from that country have come to Croatia.

HTZ hopes that Croatia, given the fact that the Dutch list is revised every fourteen days, will soon return to the list of safe and stable destinations. However, if the decision of the Dutch Government is not withdrawn, Croatia will lose significant traffic during the season, was was pointed out by the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic.

"The decision to place Croatia on the orange list by the Dutch Government came just when people were planning their summer holidays, and many people could be deterred from coming to Croatia because of that decision. We are witnessing the decisions of some countries about travel becoming more political and less epidemiological. Therefore, there's no relaxation, and at all levels, from us in this sector to politics, we must manage the situation every day and inform our guests as much as possible that Croatia is safe to travel to and that all stakeholders in tourism are following the recommendations of epidemiologists,'' said Ostojic.

In addition to its weekly newsletter reporting on the situation in Croatia, HUT launched the Corona Region Tracker portal last week, which monitors the epidemiological situation in four regions, the North Coast (Istria and Kvarner), the South Coast, Central Croatia and Eastern Croatia.

HTZ has pointed out that, in addition to classic marketing and advertising campaigns, they're working on special PR projects and activities, primarily with foreign journalists who can personally come and see how safe Croatia is for themselves.

"HZ is proactively communicating and monitoring announcements made on key markets, and is reacting in the event of inaccurate information about Croatia, which has recently been available, especially in the German and Austrian markets. We're delivering corrections and placing accurate information through our representative offices. In addition, we're communicating very intensively with the competent institutions, especially diplomacy, in order to react in a timely manner to certain situations in certain countries,'' they concluded.

For more, follow our travel page.

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Saturday, 25 April 2020

Prince Charles Makes Donation to Fund for Post-Quake Reconstruction of Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 25, 2020 - Britain's Prince Charles has made a donation to the Croatian government fund for the reconstruction of Zagreb after the March 22 earthquake, expressing deep distress and sadness over the casualties and devastation caused by the earthquake, the British Embassy said on Saturday.

Because my wife and I have such fond and special memories of visiting Croatia four years ago, I was immensely shocked to hear that so many valuable historic buildings in Zagreb had suffered so much damage, the Prince of Wales said in a letter to President Zoran Milanović.

In recognition of the good relations between Great Britain and Croatia, Prince Charles made the donation about a month ago.

Since the earthquake struck the Croatian capital amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I can only imagine the challenging situation that the earthquake has caused for your country, the Prince said in the letter.

Croatia and its people are in our thoughts and prayers in these painful and difficult moments, he said.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited Croatia in the spring of 2016. The visit did not have a political dimension but was focused on strengthening the ties between the two countries and their people.

They visited Zagreb and the eastern regions of Slavonia and Baranja, and chose a photograph taken on March 15 during their visit to Croatia for their Christmas card for that year.

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

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Plenković Wishes Boris Johnson Speedy Recovery

ZAGREB, April 7, 2020 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has wished a speedy recovery to his British counterpart Boris Johnson, who was placed in the intensive care unit of a London hospital on Monday evening after contracting the COVID-19 virus.

"I wish a quick recovery to my friend @BorisJohnson. We all hope he recovers soon," Plenković wrote on his Twitter account.

"We stand together and united in our fight against the #COVID19 and our resolve to protect the health of our citizens," he added.

Johnson's health condition deteriorated on Monday afternoon after which he was transferred to the intensive care unit of St Thomas' Hospital. He was hospitalised on Sunday evening after having the symptoms of the coronavirus infection for about ten days.

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

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Plenković and Johnson Want to Strengthen Relations

ZAGREB, February 25, 2020 - Croatia and Great Britain wish to continue strengthening mutual relations and to increase trade as well as strengthen cooperation in the area of security and defence, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London on Monday.

"We agreed to continue strengthening relations in the economic sense, to increase the volume of trade and cooperation in the field of culture, and to strengthen cooperation in the area of defence and security because we continue to be partners and allies within NATO," Plenković told reporters in London.

This was the first meeting between the two prime ministers since Great Britain exited the European Union on January 31.

Plenković invited Johnson to visit Croatia and he "who accepted the invitation with pleasure and now we just need to define a time."

In addition to bilateral relations, the two prime ministers discussed future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom.

Plenković said that during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU, a mandate for negotiations will be determined and that the EU's main negotiator will be Michel Barnier.

"Croatia's position is very clear. We wish the continuation of contractual, regulated relations, from the economy and trade to the foreign policy, security and defence," said Plenković.

"It would be good that, in that way, we secure predictability for enterprises and for citizens' rights. We are prepared for all scenarios, even if an agreement on contractual relations is not reached. As far as trade relations are concerned, they would be conducted based on the World Trade Organisation's rules, and as far as citizens' rights are concerned, we have adopted the relevant laws that regulate the status of a little more than 650 British citizens in Croatia, and we are also taking account of the ten thousand of our citizens who live in the United Kingdom," added Plenković.

Before meeting with Prime Minister Johnson, Plenković attended a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development investment summit for the Western Balkans.

"It is very important for the Croatian public to recognise that we have put our southeast neighbourhood high on the agenda of EU institutions," Plenković said, noting that now several member states are organising meetings with representatives of the six Western Balkan countries that will be held ahead of the Zagreb Summit in May.

"At the Zagreb summit we wish to adopt a new political narrative on the enlargement policy and the European prospects of our neighbouring countries for the next decade. Then for the European Commission to prepare an investment package that will enable economic development in those countries so we can see how they can be included in the Green Deal policy proposed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. We also want those meetings to become regular after the Zagreb Summit, about every second year and not 15 years as was the case until recently," added Plenković.

He also underscored that he believes that a decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania will be adopted before the Zagreb Summit.

"They are representatives of various investors who manage funds, who are familiar with Croatia and have previously reacted positively whenever Croatia issued sovereign bonds. During our term in office we have achieved a big step forward. We have a healthy and continuous growth of GDP. We are heading toward a balanced budget. We have been given investment rating by two rating agencies. Investors are interested in structural reforms, key priorities until the end of our term in government and plans for the future," said Plenković.

Asked about the situation with the coronavirus, he said that Croatia was acting very responsibly on the national plane and as the presiding country of the Council of the EU.

"We are exchanging information and following the developments in Italy. We will enhance preventative measures and checks and attempt to do everything in our power to protect Croatian citizens from the possible spreading of this epidemic, in agreement with Italy and other EU member states. All the institutions in Croatia that need to be, are engaged in this matter," concluded Plenković.

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

Monday, 24 February 2020

Plenković: EU Will Try to Hammer Out Deal on Ties with UK in Next Months

ZAGREB, February 24, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who arrived in London on Sunday evening, said that in the next several months the European Union would try to reach agreement with Great Britain on the future relations, however, he admitted his scepticism about finding a compromise in such a short period of time.

"We in the European Union will try in the next ten months to reach a compromise with Great Britain, which could lay down the foundations for the first contractual relations, thus facilitating the business and trade exchange, and the rights of British citizens in the EU and the rights of EU citizens in Great Britain," Plenković said in the Croatian embassy in London where he met with Croatian citizens living in the U.K.

"Being the current chair of the Council of the European Union, Croatia will give its contribution," he underscored and recalled that the negotiations between the EU and some third country usually take some time.

If the negotiations (on future relations) are completed in the next ten months, this will be a precedent in the sense of efficiency, Plenković said.

The Croatian premier arrived in London to attend a meeting which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) scheduled for Monday to discuss plans for investments for the Western Balkans.

The bank says on its website that "the aim of the summit is to highlight potential investment and business opportunities in the Western Balkans region and to promote regional projects." This is the fourth EBRD summit of its kind. The inaugural Western Balkans Summit took place at the EBRD in February 2014 and, for the first time, brought together all six of the region’s prime ministers.

The meeting will be opened by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, in his current position as holder of the European Union presidency, the EBRD says on its website.

Plenković said in his address in the Croatian embassy in London that he and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić would meet potential investors to notify them of the macroeconomic state of affairs and the current Croatian cabinet's achievements in the financial and economic sector: including the restoration of the confidence of two international credit rating agencies in Croatia, the reduction of the country's public debt, a well-balanced budget, a sound growth, and more favourable interest rates for the enterprise sector and for citizens.

Commenting on the relations between Croatia and Great Britain following Brexit, Plenković said that his country would try to develop economic cooperation, and called on prominent Croats in the business sector, in scientific and artistic domains in the U.K. to give their contribution, too.

He praised them for being "an important part of the mosaic" in building the relations between the two countries.

During his stay in London, Plenković will also meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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

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