Thursday, 21 October 2021

EU Borders Need to Be Protected, But Violence is Unacceptable, Commissioner Says

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - The external borders of the European Union need to be protected, but without violence and by respecting human rights, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

"Violence at our borders is never acceptable. Especially if it is structural and organized. We must protect our EU external borders while upholding fundamental rights. And it’s possible to do both," Johansson said during a plenary debate on violent pushbacks of migrants at the EU external borders.

The EU must protect its borders and must protect human rights, she stressed.

Earlier this month, several European media outlets published footage of violent pushbacks of migrants at the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Similar footage of pushbacks of migrants from Romania and Greece was also shown at the time.

Shortly after the publication of the footage, Croatian Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said that the masked men shown in the footage were police officers, after which three policemen were suspended from duty.

Johansson said she had spoken with the Romanian, Greek, and Croatian ministers of the interior.

"The Croatian minister announced an investigation. Since then, Croatia’s national chief of police said that three policemen involved in violent pushbacks will face disciplinary proceedings. And I received assurances that any necessary follow-up action will be taken," she said and added: "It is the duty of national authorities to investigate allegations and follow-up any wrongdoing."

Anže Logar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, the current EU president, said that effective control of the external borders is key to preventing security risks, illegal border crossing, and possible migratory pressure.

All tools need to be used to monitor who enters the European Union, Logar said, adding that pushbacks must not be allowed on EU soil.

The Commission's views were criticized by Social Democrat, Green, and Liberal members of the European Parliament.

Children are freezing and dying at Europe's borders and your greatest concern is border protection and Schengen, Dutch Liberal MEP Sophia in 't Veld said.

German Social Democrat Birgit Sippel said that a systematic attack on human rights is taking place at the EU's external borders and that the footage from the Croatian, Romanian and Greek borders is a scandal for the EU.

On Wednesday, Sippel, together with the leader and deputy leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group, Iratxe Garcia Perez and Simona Bonafé, sent a letter to the Commission president expressing concern about "the highly alarming systematic nature of pushbacks of vulnerable people, often involving violence."

The letter says that such practices are especially alarming in the Aegean Sea, at the EU's border with Belarus, and on the Western Balkan route.

"It is also alarming that the latest investigations suggest that parts of the material used to carry out pushbacks are seemingly paid for with EU money. This includes approximately €177 million that have been granted to Croatia for 'migration management between 2014 and today," the letter says.

The three MEPs said that requesting member states to investigate pushbacks is not enough, calling on the Commission to launch infringement procedures against Poland, Greece, and Croatia.

On the other hand, right-wing MEPs criticized the Commission for taking a soft stance, calling for putting up a razor-wire fence at the external borders.

I haven't heard anyone complaining about security checks in the European Parliament. Why wouldn't we better protect Europe with razor wire and armed personnel to ensure security? said Danish MEP Petar Kofod, a member of the Identity and Democracy group.

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler (EPP/HDZ) said that people trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal activities and "an instrument of perfidious pressure on Europe."

He said that the EU urgently needs a common response in which the policy of preventing illegal migration has no alternative. He, however, noted that there is no room for violence against migrants in Europe and that any individual violation of human rights, especially the human rights of the most vulnerable groups, is totally unacceptable.

Ressler said that Croatia, with a modernized police force and without erecting razor wire fences, is performing its legal obligation and duty to protect its own border and the border of the European Union.

Sunčana Glavak (EPP/HDZ) said that the Croatian police are doing an excellent job in protecting the territory of Croatia and the EU.

She pointed out that Croatia has so far arrested over 3,000 people traffickers at the border and prevented 30,000 attempts at crossing its border illegally.

"Dear colleagues, the Republic of Croatia is guarding your border too, the border of the European Union, in a legal way," she concluded.

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

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Milanović: Police Can’t Act Like That, It’s Good That Measures Are Being Taken

ZAGREB, 9 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Saturday he was confident the case of Croatian police who took part in violence against migrants on the Bosnian border was an isolated case, adding that police must not act like that and that it was good that measures were being taken.

"I believe it's an isolated case because otherwise that would be seen and known. Police must not act like that and that's obviously overstepping one's authority," he told the press in Osijek.

"But we must also talk about the police officers who are doing a very tough job every day year-round for modest pay and are protecting the Croatian border. That's a tough job in the interest of the wider community. I wouldn't want the police as a service to be stigmatised because of this," he added.

"Somebody has to protect the border, border equals state. People coming to the border without authorisation and want to cross it are committing a criminal offence. Those are facts," he said, calling for resolving the recently reported case of Croatian police beating illegal migrants.

"If accountability is established, there should be consequences and punishment, but a problem remains. People, perhaps even families, gather on the Croatian border every day, who want to cross the border and go somewhere else, but that's illegal," he added.

Asked if there was individual or command responsibility in the latest case, Milanović said he did not know.

"I don't believe anyone ordered that. It's evidently an isolated case. I hope we have solved that. The border problem remains. We see that some states, our partners in the European Union a little more to the east, would like the European Union's border to have a fence. I wouldn't want that. I find it inhumane."

The president was in Osijek to attend a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Osijek Independent Air Platoon.

For Croatia's latest news, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

PM Expects Report From All Relevant Services On Violent Pushbacks of Migrants

ZAGREB, 7 Oct 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he had talked with Interior Minister Davor Božinović about violent pushbacks of migrants from the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and expected a report from all relevant services to see what had actually happened. 

"Last night I immediately called Minister Božinović to ensure that the Ministry and police take all the necessary measures and investigate the matter so that we see what happened and take appropriate decisions, because Croatia, as a country governed by the rule of law, respects its own laws and international rules. We do not want any actions that might be connected with the state and that are not in accordance with our legal system," Plenković said at a cabinet meeting.

"We have a duty to protect our border and prevent illegal migration. We appreciate the role of the Croatian police in protecting the border in the last few years after our continent has become a destination for migrations, which are often illegal and led and organized by smugglers who benefit from the misfortunes of many people who for various reasons left their homes," he added.

Likewise, We Can! party on Thursday described the treatment of migrants as shown by footage of violence on the border as unacceptable, calling on the police management to leave border protection to somebody else if they were not up to the task.

Footage of masked police beating migrants at the border. (Telegram.hr)

The latest footage of violence against refugees and migrants on our borders reveals serious problems in the way the Ministry of the Interior is dealing with the challenges of migration, the opposition party said in a Facebook post, thus joining in numerous reactions to videos showing the brutal beating of migrants on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"If the current police leadership is not up to the task, it is time other people assumed the responsibility of protecting the border. The current approach to migrations is unacceptable and we once again support all police employees who do not agree with it and who have been warning about it for some time," the party said, recalling that it had warned on a number of occasions that the border can be protected without the use of violence and violation of human rights.

"The latest footage proves that we either have organized groups of thugs who beat refugees or police who remove their insignia and use force and beatings to drive people out of Croatia. Either means a defeat of the idea of a law-based state and human rights protection."

Božinović either denying the problem or announcing probes without an epilogue

The party went on to say that the Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović was "either denying the problem or announcing investigations without an epilogue."

It called on the minister and the prime minister to clearly say what was going on, who was responsible, and why they had not prevented the criminal activity on the border.

Minister Božinović said earlier today that an investigation had been launched to establish if the footage broadcast was authentic, noting that there was no tolerance to violence in the police.

Asked by reporters if he, too, was responsible if it turned out that the footage was authentic, Božinović said, "Why should I be personally responsible?"

He added that nobody had been given an order to use force, except in cases defined by the law, and that most situations on the border did not warrant such conduct.

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

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Danish Social Democrats: Croatia Is Right to Turn Back Migrants

ZAGREB, 12 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian government is doing the right thing by stopping illegal migrants at the Croatian border, the spokesman for the ruling Danish Social Democratic Party, Rasmus Stoklund, told Hina in an interview. 

He would not comment on criticisms by some organisations of the methods allegedly used by the Croatian border police in turning back migrants.

It would be easy for me as a Danish politician to sit here and criticise the situation in another EU member state that first deals with the problem, Stoklund said, noting that his country assists EU member states facing attempts at illegal immigration.

The Social Democrat member of the Danish parliament defended Denmark's strict immigration and integration policy, saying that the Danish approach is increasingly accepted in the European Union.

Denmark has adopted a very clear strategy to avoid taking in refugees from the Middle East and African countries every year. We are witnessing a culture clash in many areas, notably in attitude towards work, universal freedoms and how children should be raised, Stoklund said.

Denmark has a reputation as one of the happiest countries in the world, but in recent years it has attracted attention with its "zero refugees" strategy.

Stoklund said that the long-term aim of the laws passed this year is to reduce the number of applications for asylum in Denmark to zero.

Danish media have said that the government is negotiating this with Egypt, Eritrea, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Two years ago, only 2,716 people applied for asylum in Denmark, eight times less than in 2015.

Although this initiative is gaining support in Denmark, it is giving rise to concern in the international community, with the UNHCR saying that it is against the international principles of cooperation on refugees.

Stoklund expects this policy to discourage refugees from heading to Europe. He said that the money that would be saved on support to immigrants who are not entitled to political asylum would be spent on development projects in their countries of origin. 

Stoklund expressed satisfaction that a majority of EU member states follow the same principle as Denmark - refugees should be assisted in the adjacent countries where they are currently staying before they set out to Europe.

At the last European Council meeting we were very happy to see that none of the European countries wanted to send a signal to refugees from Afghanistan to come to Europe. The countries have realised that the situation like the one in 2015 is untenable, the Danish MP said.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

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 hrturizam.hr 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, 31 March 2021

All Vaccines Allowed in Croatia? Latest Developments for Vaccinated Travelers

March 31, 2021 - A look at the vaccines allowed in Croatia and the latest developments for vaccinated travelers wanting to cross the Croatian border.

After Greece made a decision on vaccinated travelers, all travelers who have been vaccinated with two doses, regardless of whether it has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), will be able to cross the Croatian border tomorrow, Jutarnji List unofficially finds out.

Anyone with a vaccination certificate will be able to cross the border without presenting a negative PCR test, regardless of whether they have received AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or, for example, Sputnik or the Chinese vaccine which are not approved for use in the EU.

However, Jutarnji writes that the decision will be subject to change if the European Union is set differently according to vaccines that are not approved in Europe. Also, the Decision on Borders, which will be presented today by the National Headquarters, will include the possibility of crossing the border with the presentation of a rapid antigen test, but only one that has been validated and approved by the EMA. Persons who have contracted the coronavirus within a maximum of six months, and if they have a negative PCR test, not older than 48 hours, will also cross the border without quarantine. Children under the age of seven can still cross the border without restrictions.

The news comes just a day or two after the head of the Croatian National Public Health Institute, Krunoslav Capak, told Croats that he did not advise them to go to Serbia for vaccinations, among other things, because vaccines not approved by the EMA are being used in Serbia. Still, it seems that in the Croatian case, the advantage that vaccines have for the economy, primarily tourism, has prevailed.

Before Croatia, the decision to release people vaccinated with Sputnik and Chinese vaccines across the borders was announced by our competitor Greece, which, as the media reported so far, agreed to accept the vaccination certificate with these two types of preparations with Serbia. Greece will generally begin to recognize certificates to all their holders, all in pledge to save the tourist season that left Greece empty-handed last year.

As Ivan Pukšar, a tourism consultant and owner of Coned turizam, explained to Jutarnji List, it is good for Croatia to go in the direction of facilitating border crossings and allowing people who have been vaccinated with both Chinese and Russian vaccines to enable as many tourists as possible.

This decision is important to us, among other things, because of the Hungarian market, which has already enabled its citizens to be vaccinated with Russian and Chinese vaccines, so it would be desirable for these tourists to spend the summer on the Adriatic without the need to go to quarantine or perform testing, said Pukšar, adding that he is not surprised by the great engagement of Greece in this regard, given that they work extremely actively on the promotion and image of their country.

"There are several reasons for this, and the first is certainly the fact that Greece is highly dependent on tourism, and it is also an air destination that, along with domestic guests and visitors from ships, cannot compensate for tourist traffic, so it is imperative to attract every possible guest. Third, Greece is dependent on British tourists who this year threaten not to travel before the end of July, which is why Greek tourism is in a much worse position than Croatian," Pukšar believes.

Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis and Serbian Minister Tatjana Matic reached an agreement on Monday, and it will take effect on May 14. Unfortunately, Jutarnji did not receive information from the Greek Ministry of Tourism of whether this decision will be applied to citizens of other countries. However, the unofficial information Jutarnji has about Croatia says that today, the public will be presented with new conditions for entering Croatia, which will make it as easy as possible for foreign visitors to visit our country.

Formally, there are no obstacles to such a decision that would prevent EU member states from making their own decisions on recognizing certificates for Chinese and Russian vaccines, as recently announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen when, presenting the Covid-passport project, she noted that EU members will have to cross the borders with a digital - green certificate, but that this decision can be extended to other vaccines. 

Neighboring Slovenia was the first country in the region to allow vaccinated people to cross the border in general. Still, this decision currently applies only to vaccines registered in the EU. The Slovenian border rules say that entry is possible for everyone who has been vaccinated with the second dose of Astra Zeneca 21 days before traveling, or seven days with Pfizer and 14 days with Moderna.

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

New Border Rules for Croatia from Countries with New Covid Strains

January 13, 2021 - The Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters announced new border rules for Croatia for travelers coming from countries with the new Covid strains, specifically the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Jutarnji List reports that the National Civil Protection Headquarters made a new decision on crossing the Croatian border, which restricts non-mandatory arrivals to Croatia, especially from countries where the new strain of coronavirus is spreading, such as the United Kingdom and South Africa. The Croatian Institute of Public Health will adopt the list of these countries and special epidemiological measures will be applied to passengers from these countries, Chief of the Headquarters, Davor Bozinovic, said at a press conference, explaining that the decision is not related to citizenship but to the area the traveler is coming from.

"Passengers from these countries must show a negative 48-hour PCR test when entering Croatia and will be ordered to 14 days of isolation. At the moment, the United Kingdom and South Africa are on that list," Bozinovic said.

He added that their quarantine could be reduced to seven days if they take a PCR test in authorized institutions and if the test is negative.

Persons from third countries coming due to urgent personal reasons such as funerals or medical treatment will have their stay in Croatia limited to a maximum of 12 hours.

"Special rules have been introduced for persons coming to deliver aid for the quake-hit areas. They will be able to enter Croatia with prior consent from the Headquarters, in other words, without a test," Bozinovic added.

Beros: The measures are yielding results, but we must be careful

Minister of Health Vili Beros said that today, for the first time since November 22 last year, we have less than 2,000 hospitalized (1993), and the number of deaths below 30.

"We must continue to be careful. However, we can conclude that our balanced measures are yielding results and that this is the optimal winning formula in Croatia when it comes to fighting the epidemic," Beros. said.

To read more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Croatia on Slovenia's 'Yellow List', New Border Measures Apply - July 4

July 2, 2020 - The Slovenian government has put Croatia on the "yellow" list of epidemiologically less secure countries due to the increase in the daily number of coronavirus infections, said government spokesman Jelko Kacin in Ljubljana.

UPDATE JULY 4: 

Croatian citizens who want to go to Slovenia from today (July 4) must show a negative test for coronavirus not older than 36 hours, made in the European Union, to a Slovenian border police officer. If they do not have it, they will be handed a decision on 14-day self-isolation at the border.

If they have nowhere to self-isolate in Slovenia, they will not be allowed to enter that country, Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs explained yesterday.

If they pass through Slovenia in transit without stopping, they must pass it within 12 hours. These new measures are valid for our citizens after Slovenia put Croatia on the yellow list, which means that it is not an epidemiologically safe country. Apart from Croatia, the Czech Republic and France have been on the Slovenian yellow list since midnight.

This means that both Czech and French tourists who go to Croatia on holiday in Slovenia will have to pass without stopping, and at the Slovenian border attach proof that they are going to Croatia. Hojs said that all border crossings to Croatia remain open, but all those who are aware that after entering Slovenia will have to self-isolate, will be able to enter the country only through four border crossings with Croatia - Gruškovje, Obrežje, Metlika and the airport in Ljubljana.

This new restrictive measure, Slovenian government spokesman Jelko Kacin admitted at a press conference yesterday, was introduced by Slovenia because of its citizens who lied to border police officers when they entered Slovenia that they were in Croatia, but were actually returning from Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. They did this to avoid the 14-day quarantine they are required to go to on their return from those countries. Kacin admitted that the number of people infected with coronavirus in Slovenia has increased precisely because of such people. In an attempt to prevent this, the Slovenian authorities are introducing restrictive measures that will make Croatia one of the biggest victims.

As of July 4, all foreign citizens entering Slovenia, who were on vacation in Croatia, will have to give Slovenian border police officers proof that they have been in Croatia. Invoices for paid sojourn tax, hotel invoice or registration via the Enter Croatia application will be recognized. In order to avoid quarantine in their own country, all Slovenes returning from vacation at the Croatian Border Police will have to prove that they were in our country.

Those who own real estate in Croatia will be able to avoid going into self-isolation by providing proof of ownership, and all others by paying bills in Croatian restaurants and bars in Croatia or by confirming the paid sojourn tax. For example, those who transported someone to the Zagreb Airport will have to enclose an invoice for paid parking at the airport or an invoice from the bar where they had a drink.

Checks on proof of residence in Croatia will enormously increase congestion on the Croatian-Slovenian border, admits the Slovenian Minister of the Interior. But he succinctly explained that it is not a problem for all those waiting for quarantine to wait an hour longer at the border.

The new Slovenian regime at the border will also create great pressure on Croatian border police officers and create large crowds at the entrance to Croatia from the direction of Slovenia. Especially since the decision is starting to apply for the weekend. Regardless of the new Slovenian measures on the Croatian side, new measures were introduced at four border crossings - Bregana, Macelj, Rupe and Plovanija in order to reduce the time of crossing the border and enable better flow.

Special lanes have been established for foreign tourists who have applied to come to Croatia via the Enter Croatia application. In front of the border crossings, there are special traffic signs and lines have been drawn that direct these tourists to the part of the border crossing intended for them.

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Index.hr reports that as he explained at the press conference, the decision was made by the government on Thursday, and the measures will take effect on Saturday at midnight.

So far, Croatia has been on Slovenia's "green" list of epidemiologically safe countries.

Apart from Croatia, the Czech Republic and France have now been relegated to a lower category of safe, while Belgium and the Netherlands have been included in the higher "green" list of safe countries.

The decision for Slovenes staying in Croatia means that when they return home, they will be able to expect the border police to ask them exactly where they stayed, which they will be able to prove, for example, with a hotel bill, but they will not be quarantined.

Those returning from Croatia will have to substantiate their route at the border with evidence or give confirmation that they have a vessel or real estate in Croatia "because there have been too many attempts to deceive in that sense," Kacin said.

Apart from the increase in the number of infections in Croatia, as Kacin suggested, the measure was also adopted because there have been many cases recently when Slovenian citizens and those with permanent residence in Slovenia coming through Croatia or Hungary stated that they were in those countries, even though they were in Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are on the "red" list of epidemiologically safe countries.

Kacin again called on Slovenes living abroad to avoid crowds and respect epidemiologically prescribed measures, and especially to avoid nightclubs and mass parties because they are a potential source of infection.

When asked what putting Croatia on the "yellow" list means for Croatian citizens, Kacin said that they would be able to come to Slovenia freely if they have real estate or booked tourist accommodation.

A few days ago, Kacin explained what it means to be on the "yellow list". "If the country is placed on the yellow list, then a Slovenian citizen or foreigner with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia, if they come from the EU or the Schengen area, enters Slovenia without quarantine. For other persons, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory," he said, but also stated that there are 15 exceptions to that decision.

Details of the decision to move Croatia from the "green" list of safe countries to the "yellow" will be announced on Friday after the session of the Slovenian government, Health Minister Tomaz Gantar told Slovenian television on Thursday evening.

According to Gantar, a new government decision and the tightening of epidemiological measures are needed as part of the deteriorating situation in the region, but also in Slovenia, where more and more new local infections are being transmitted after the virus was imported, especially from "red list" countries such as Serbia, North Macedonia, BiH and Kosovo.

From those countries, everyone who enters Slovenia must be in a 14-day quarantine. Quarantine decisions will be issued at the border with Croatia.

For those Slovenes who continue to go to Croatia as tourists, "it is not planned for now" that they would need a binding 14-day quarantine, and for now, this only applies to those who were in the countries on the "red" list where the epidemiological situation is critical, or very bad, Gantar explained.

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Coronavirus Cases Rise in BiH: Why is Croatia Opening Borders Now?

June 30, 2020 - The Croatian Minister of Interior Davor Bozinovic announced yesterday that a decision would be made "no later than today" to lift the mandatory two-week self-isolation for those entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Index.hr reports that the announcement came just five days after stricter measures were introduced for Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia at the same time.

But apart from the fact that the measure, which is now being repealed, was introduced only a few days ago, there are two other important aspects of the story which should not be overlooked.

The first is the situation with the number of patients in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time when stricter measures were introduced, and the second is the situation with the number of patients today when the measures are lifted.

It would be expected that the epidemiological situation in BiH has improved in the meantime, so that the measures will be relaxed, as announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. But that is not the case.

On the day the decision on mandatory self-isolation was made for entry from BiH, there were 84 infections in that country. The day before the decision, there were 63 infected. Even days earlier, moreover, since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in that country, the daily number of newly infected did not exceed 100.

So, how are things now that they've decided to lift the mandatory self-isolation for people entering Croatia from BiH?

There were twice as many cases in BiH yesterday than when stricter measures were adopted at the borders.

Yesterday, when Bozinovic announced the easing of measures, BiH had 128 newly infected.

The day before, they had 107 new cases.

They had as many as 179 new cases on Saturday, and the daily number of newly infected was well above 100 in the days before.

When the two-week self-isolation measure was introduced for travelers entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia, it was explained by the poor epidemiological situation in those countries and the fact that most new cases in Croatia came from those countries.

"As for the decisions, they are based on the opinion of the medical experts. These decisions were made based on the recommendations of epidemiologists with regard to the situation in neighboring countries. We have an increase in those infected, and most of them came from BiH and Serbia. We will monitor everything that happens. We will make decisions faster and change them if necessary. The decision is valid for everyone. All persons who come to these countries, regardless of citizenship, must be in self-isolation," Bozinovic said at the time.

But, as we can see, now that the borders with BiH are reopening unconditionally, the situation there is worse than it was, and the daily numbers of newly infected are much higher than they were when the decision was made. The logical question, therefore, is why the decision on stricter measures at the BiH border was made when the epidemiological situation in that country was significantly better than now, when the decision is revoked.

"We are in the phase of dancing with the virus, and we are analyzing it daily. The EU will probably come out with recommendations, as these talks are underway today. We will probably liberalize the border crossings to some extent when it comes to EU citizens and our neighboring countries. This will mean entering the Republic of Croatia in a way that all those who enter adhere to epidemiological measures and would no longer mean the mandatory self-isolation for those who come from BiH. I expect that no later than tomorrow," said Bozinovic yesterday, which also hinted that the borders with Serbia could be opened, where the number of newly infected people is stagnant and around 250 for several days.

It should also be mentioned that BiH authorities negatively reacted to the decision on stricter measures at the border, and the country's foreign minister Bisera Turkovic announced reciprocal measures, which she withdrew after new announcements from Croatia. However, it is unlikely that the announcement of reciprocal measures from BiH forced the Croatian authorities to withdraw the decision, which leads us to another possible and much more probable reason - the elections to be held on Sunday.

After all, the president of HDZ BiH clearly explained it yesterday: "No border can separate the Croatian being and one nation into two homelands. Thank you to Prime Minister Plenkovic for his quick reaction and rational decision."

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Who Doesn't Have to Self-Isolate After Entering Croatia from BiH or Serbia?

June 25, 2020 - Who will be able to enter Croatia from BiH, Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia without having to self-isolate? Head of the Border Service of the Split-Dalmatia Police, Mladen Bužančić, explains. 

Dnevnik.hr reports that encouraged by the growing number of cases in Croatia, but also in neighboring countries, the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters introduced a new measure at border crossings and mandatory self-isolation for people entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Mladen Bužančić, head of the Border Service of the Split-Dalmatia Police Administration, revealed to Dnevnik Nova TV that there are certain exemptions to the rule. 

"The border police are ready. Everyone who enters the Republic of Croatia from those countries on June 25 must be aware that they will be self-isolated. There are exceptions for those who, due to the nature of their work and living circumstances, will not have to isolate themselves, and among them are cross-border workers and those transiting through these four countries and through Croatia," Bužančić explains, urging that travel be kept to a minimum.

Asked what will happen to those who come to Croatia from those four countries in the region for a funeral or to care for an elderly family member, Bužančić answered that they are also exempt and will not have to self-isolate.

"If it is an urgent personal reason or it is about people who are coming to a funeral or need emergency medical care or transport, they will not be subjected to the new rule," says Bužančić.

However, when it comes to tourists from those countries who already have confirmed reservations in Croatia, Bužančić says that they must be aware that this arrangement will probably not be realized.

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