Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Croatian Interior Minister Meets US Defence, Justice, Homeland Security Officials

ZAGREB, 28 June 2022 - Croatian Interior Minister Davor Božinović met in Washington on Monday with high officials of the US departments of defense and justice ahead of a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday.

Božinović began his United States tour by meeting with Assistant Defense Secretary Celeste Wallander at the Pentagon.

They confirmed the two sides' readiness to cooperate further and continue with all the necessary allied measures against the Russian aggression on Ukraine.

They expressed the wish to continue the transatlantic cooperation and the need for strong engagement in the stabilization of Western Balkan countries, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina, including ensuring the continuation of the peace operation there.

"Maintaining US-EU unity and partnership is of key importance, which is also the clear position of the US administration, notably in light of the aggression on Ukraine. We are all aware that this crisis will not be short and that there will be challenges we must solve together in order to maintain the democratic order and the shared way of life," Božinović said.

"I'm sure that in the coming period the US and the EU, with Croatia's active role as a member of Euro-Atlantic institutions, will pay special attention to Southeast Europe, stability, and democratic development," he added.

Božinović then met with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco at the Department of Defense.

They concluded that the bilateral cooperation in security is strong and that Croatia and the United States have the same goal, to strengthen the security environment and the rule of law.

"Strengthening transatlantic ties is of exceptional significance, first and foremost the cooperation in the fight against terrorism, organized crime, in cyber security and electronic evidence exchange," said Božinović.

Croatia has committed to cyber security cooperation by joining the US Counter Ransomware Initiative.

"The common goal is further cooperation in insuring electronic evidence, which will be regulated by adopting the Umbrella Agreement between the US and the EU," Božinović said.

On Tuesday, before meeting with Mayorkas, he will meet with Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus and Assistant Secretary of State Julieta Valls Noyes.

The Croatian minister will wrap up his Washington visit by talking with Coast Guard Vice Commandant Steven D. Poulin.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Croatian Interior Minister Meets with UEFA President

ZAGREB, 13 June 20222 - Croatia's Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović spoke with European Football Federation (UEFA) President Aleksander Čeferin in Geneva on Monday about ways to improve safety at football matches.

Čeferin underscored the importance of cooperation between federations, clubs, and fans in order to exchange all information that contributes to the smooth organization of football matches during the preparation, planning, and implementation of security measures.

The aim is to encourage clubs to develop and maintain proactive and regular communication with fans and their representatives with the aim of forming partnerships and solving problems, the Ministry of the Interior said.

Prevention was identified as a key activity in combating hooliganism at sports competitions, and the European Court of Human Rights also supports member states in the fight against hooliganism and their efforts to combat violence at sports competitions.

The UEFA president welcomed the efforts of European national federations to combat the problems of modern football and offered full support in addressing problems.

Božinović presented the highlights of the security protocol for high-risk football matches, which is being prepared in cooperation between the Ministry, the Croatian Football Federation, clubs and fans. Its intention is to ensure the safety of spectators, competitors and other participants, as well as to protect citizens and property.

Božinović expressed satisfaction that the UEFA had chosen the southern Croatian Adriatic island of Hvar as the venue for the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in July this year.

The meeting with Čeferin was also attended by UEFA chief of football Zvonimir Boban and Croatian deputy police chief Damir Barić.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Croatian, Slovenian Interior Ministers Confirm Excellent Cooperation

ZAGREB, May 16, 2020 - The Croatian and Slovenian ministers of the interior, Davor Bozinovic and Ales Hojs respectively, held a meeting in Ormoz, Slovenia, on Saturday, at which they confirmed the excellent cooperation between the two countries' police forces.

One of the topics of the meeting was the coronavirus pandemic, and Bozinovic said that the two countries' ministries of the interior had dealt quickly with all issues posing a problem for their citizens and business sector on a daily basis.

"We were the first in Europe to enable convoys, the transport of goods by truck...  before the European Commission made such a recommendation. There was practically no suspension of transport," said Bozinovic.

He described the two countries' cooperation as excellent, recalling that they had reopened their borders and that since Friday evening, 2,000 Slovenian nationals had entered Croatia.

Minister Hojs said that his Croatian counterpart had informed him that border procedures were mostly due to estimates by Croatian epidemiologists that the entry of foreign nationals, including those from Slovenia, requires continued control of locations where they are staying, which is why a control regime has been introduced, with Croatian police taking the addresses and phone numbers of persons entering the country.

As for illegal migrations, they did not stop entirely during the coronavirus pandemic, even though they have decreased significantly, said Bozinovic, adding that Croatia had prevented illegal migrations on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

"We expect possible new movements of migrants following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and greater mobility, primarily between Croatia and Slovenia, for the time being," Bozinovic said, with Hojs noting that Bozinovic had confirmed that the return of migrants from the Slovenian to the Croatian side of the border was not problematic.

"All illegal migrants who do not want asylum in Slovenia will be returned to Croatia without any problem," said Hojs.

Another topic of the meeting was Croatia's accession to the Schengen area of passport-free travel, with Bozinovic saying that it was not only in Croatia's interest but also in the interest of Slovenia and the rest of the EU.

"The current situation, too, proves that all security problems, including health problems related to the epidemic, are transnational. Neither viruses nor any other thing, from terrorism to illegal migrations, know borders and the only way to efficiently fight them is cooperation," said Bozinovic.

Slovenia's position on the matter is that all technical requirements have to be met for accession to the Schengen area to be possible, Hojs said, adding that technical requirements had been met for the most part.

"The latest proposal, made by the next EU chair Germany, goes in that direction and Slovenia is interested in the Schengen border moving to the Croatian-Serbian border within a reasonable period of time. I have told  Minister (Bozinovic) that if Slovenia finds that the Schengen control of the future external border is not performed as expected, we will be prepared to reintroduce border controls at any moment," said Hojs.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Bozinovic: More than 800 Foreigners in Croatia for Business or Economic Reasons

May 12, 2020 - The head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic was a guest of RTL Direkt on Monday. 

In the beginning, Bozinovic commented on the statement of the HZJZ director, Krunoslav Capak, that those who are in self-isolation can also vote if they put on a mask and have no symptoms.

Isn’t that contrary to everything we’ve heard and done so far?

"Mr. Capak elaborated on one issue. It is not the position that this is a rule that will be applied. When such a decision is made, then the State Election Commission will contact the HZJZ and create a framework for the elections to take place," said Bozinovic.

E-passes are no longer valid. So can people go where they want without needing a reason?

"The recommendation is not to go if you don't have to, but there are no restrictions, except on the island of Brac. Citizens can travel freely," the minister said.

From Monday, there is also more freedom for those coming to Croatia. When asked how many foreigners are already registered in Croatia and the justified reasons they can come, Bozinovic said:

"Today, according to some recent data, more than 800 foreigners came to Croatia. Here we are talking about EU citizens. The reasons are either business meetings or the economic interest of the Republic of Croatia. There are also personal reasons. These are situations that are allowed. And epidemiological measures must be respected," he said.

Are Croats allowed abroad? In which case are they allowed to travel?

"We have allowed our citizens to enter and leave the Republic of Croatia. The second part is whether the countries they intend to go to will want to receive them and under what conditions. Most EU countries receive EU citizens. We are in talks with our Slovenian neighbors and I think we are in a situation where we could reach an agreement to help our citizens," Bozinovic said.

And tourism continues. So people in Croatia can now go to hotels, camps, rent rooms, boats, go sailing...

"Yes, Croats can, but also foreigners, EU citizens, if they have reservations in hotels and with the application of all measures. This is a situation of normalization; this is not the old normal, this is the new normal. We will have to get used to a new way of life. They must have no symptoms; it is important that they have an invitation if it is a meeting or a reservation if they are coming on vacation," Bozinovic said.

Goran Latković said that flights to London and Amsterdam would soon return. Does that mean we will be able to travel around Europe normally?

"If airlines are opened, that means the consent of the other side, then that's it. Everyone in Europe is trying to find the least painful way out of this situation," he said.

Up to 40 people can gather. Are weddings and parties allowed?

"Parties? No. People can gather, preferably outdoors and while maintaining a physical distance. We are all trying in this situation, not just in Croatia, no matter that the New York Times says we are among the best in Europe, we are trying to find a way to normalize life. If it is a meter and a half, people can gather in a public place," he pointed out and added:

"What is important is for people to be aware that the fight against the coronavirus is not over. It is going back to where it started, there is no cure."

Asked whether cafes are allowed to have newspapers, the minister replied:

"I know that it is not forbidden. I remember that discussion of epidemiologists who concluded that the virus does not spread through newspapers," Bozinovic said.

Should the elections be held in the summer, in July?

"I didn't say that and I can't tell you because I don't know that."

Finally, when asked if Vili Beros, Dr. Capak and other people from the headquarters will be on the list, he said:

"I am not compiling lists, I know Capak said that he was not interested in that," Davor Bozinovic said at the end of the interview for RTL Direkt.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic on Extending Measures

April 16, 2020 - Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic spoke to RTL Danas about loosening the stringent measures introduced by the National Civil Protection Headquarters because of the coronavirus pandemic, which expires in three days according to the first plan.

"On Sunday, those first measures expire, and we will probably extend them, because the most important thing is to follow the advice of epidemiologists, and they say that we should have a drop for five to seven days before we begin lifting measures. Of course, we talk about it daily, and we also understand the situation when we talk about the economy, about securing living conditions. We are moving along a narrow margin, above all protecting our health and lives, but we need to think about when and what measures could be discounted," Bozinovic said.

"That Sunday does not mean that on Tuesday or another day, the measures cannot be lifted. It appears that our measures were good, Croatia has an excellent result when looking at the average number of patients. Of course, we are sorry for every person who died, but our health care system is not as burdened as in other countries and we hope it will allow us to think about relaxing measures soon. It should be clear, loosening the measures probably also means increasing the risk when talking about the number of patients," he added.

The first measures lasted 30 days, but new ones are unlikely to be introduced for that period.

"We are thinking of making it shorter, but it can change in five days, not in 15, not in 30. It all depends on the epidemiological situation because it is our priority to save lives," Bozinovic said.

He did not want to say whether there would be some indulgence on Sunday because we still have a few more days until then: "Let's see how we will deal with the fight in the coming days and that will certainly be one of the elements on which we will decide. We cannot talk about dates. At this point, the date would certainly be breaking news, but no one can rationally say that something will be on this day. No one knows."

The government will decide on everything, says Bozinovic.

"The Headquarters is here, it is the government headquarters, and it is the government that controls the whole process. The Headquarters exists as a government body in order for some decisions to be made urgently, an operational body is needed," Bozinovic commented. 

Follow TCN's live updates on the coronavirus crisis.