Thursday, 18 June 2020

Minister Bozinovic: Do Not Travel Outside Croatia

June 18, 2020 - At today's government session, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic recommended that citizens not travel outside Croatia.

"It is important that our citizens do not travel abroad, especially to these surrounding countries if it is not necessary, and on their return, they should act responsibly. As for the Headquarters, it is monitoring and analyzing the situation," Bozinovic said on Index.hr.

"Responsible behavior is a condition for keeping the favorable epidemiological situation in Croatia under control, which is a precondition for the smooth functioning of the economy," Bozinovic added.

Recall, at a government session in progress, it was announced that 11 new cases had been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Four new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Zagreb since yesterday. All four new cases are related to the Hrvoje Požar Institute.

In addition, two more cases were confirmed in Istria, both of which are from Pula.

Three more have been confirmed in Split-Dalmatia County - two people from Split and one from Solin.

We do not yet know where the remaining two cases are from.

The Headquarters will publish the latest data on the situation in Croatia at 2 pm.

Follow the news in Croatia on our 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.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Croatian ID Cards to Change, Interior Minister Bozinovic Reveals Details

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of May, 2020, and as we reported recently, the appearance of Croatian ID cards is set to alter - on the front it will contain the two-letter insignia of the Republic of Croatia (RH), printed in negative in a blue rectangle surrounded by twelve yellow stars, which will symbolise the EU. Interior Minister Bozinovic revealed more details on the matter.

In the future, Croatian ID cards will have a special chip that will contain biometric identifiers of the ID card holder, ie a display of the ID card holder's face and two fingerprints in interoperable digital formats.

This has been proposed by the Croatian Government in the amendments to the Law on Identity Cards (EU), which it sent to urgent parliamentary procedure from Thursday's session, based on the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on strengthening the security of identity cards of citizens of the Union and their family members' residence documents which prescribe the right to free movement.

The regulation came into force on August the 1st last year, and will be directly applicable in all EU member states from August the 2nd, 2021, according to Minister Bozinovic.

In accordance with the provisions of the Decree, the draft law also changed the age limit for the issuing of permanent identity cards, and raised it from the age of 65 to the age of 70.

For citizens up to the age of 70, ID cards will be issued with a validity period of five years, as is the case now, Minister Bozinovic said.

The proposed amendments also stipulate the obligation to withdraw identity cards issued without a validity period that don't meet the minimum security standards defined by the new EU regulation.

It is prescribed that such identity cards cease to be valid upon their expiration or on the aforementioned date in August, whichever occurs first.

As stated, this law is scheduled to take effect on August the 2nd, 2021.

It hasn't been confirmed, but we will make sure to ask, if this will also apply to the ID cards owned by British citizens who are legal residents of Croatia and who become so before the end of the UK's transition period, which is set to occur on the 31st od December, 2020, should an extension not be sought. 

It is important to note that British citizens who are legal residents before the end of December this year will have their rights protected in full regardless of the outcome of the negotiations (deal or no deal), and will be covered either be the Withdrawal Agreement in the case of a deal, and by a special Croatian law which will come into force in the case of a no deal Brexit.

As such, it is expected that resident Brits will also need to alter their residence permits, be they temporary or permanent residents, which also serve in Croatia as valid ID cards. As soon as we get an official response to that question, we will update this article.

For more, follow our lifestyle page.

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.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Where Can We Go Outside Croatia, and Who Can Enter? Bozinovic Explains New Border Rules

May 10, 2020 - Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic announced during Saturday's National Civil Protection Headquarters press conference that there had been a change in the temporary ban on border crossings in Croatia.

Index.hr reports that Croatian citizens are allowed to enter Croatia and go abroad, while foreign citizens will be able to enter Croatia for business reasons and other economic interests, as well as foreign citizens who are traveling for urgent personal reasons.

"As for Croatian citizens who reside here or in other countries, they will be able to enter Croatia for personal reasons," he said. After entering Croatia, self-isolation will no longer be a mandatory measure.

But while it is now possible to leave Croatia, the question remains - where can Croatians go? Some countries, including those neighboring Croatia, still have closed borders.

The new decision, Minister Davor Bozinovic confirmed, is applied as of Sunday morning.

Index.hr asked Minister Bozinovic where Croatian citizens can go now that the Croatian borders are open and whether they can travel to Ljubljana, for example.

"Where Croatian citizens can go depends on the countries that are ready to receive them. As for Slovenia, I'm not sure, but we will have discussions with the Slovenes on several levels next week. I will sit down with my colleague, the Slovenian interior minister. Preparations are underway, epidemiologists still have to sit down and we will talk about how to help each other," said Bozinovic.

As can be concluded from what the neighboring countries have announced, Slovenia can be entered at larger border crossings that remain open, but a seven-day self-isolation is mandatory, after which a coronavirus test is prescribed, except for those in transit through that country. Hungary cannot be entered, except for those who have land 40 kilometers from the border or work on the other side of the border. Persons who are not citizens of BiH can only exceptionally enter that country, and those who stay are required to undergo 14-day self-isolation. Entry into Serbia from Croatia has not been possible so far, and now a PCR test is required, not older than 72 hours, otherwise, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory. Austria can only be entered with a certificate proving that the person is negative for the coronavirus, which cannot be older than four days, but transit through the country is possible without stopping.

A significant number of EU countries allow citizens from the other Member States to enter, but rules of residence in those countries, such as self-isolation provisions, should be observed, while travelers from outside the EU are generally barred from entering. However, coming to these countries could be challenging for Croats, given the restrictions in neighboring countries and the fact that they can currently only fly from Zagreb to Germany.

The question also arises as to who can now enter Croatia.

"At this moment, the most important thing is that we have enabled those who either have business reasons to come to Croatia. Of course, our goal here is the economy. Croatian citizens can enter, foreign citizens can enter when they have economic or other justified reasons. If someone will pay for a stay in a hotel, there is a possibility that we will let them go. For business reasons, citizens from outside the EU can also enter. We are moving towards liberalization, we have mechanisms, but we have also learned something and we can react as in the case of Brac," said Bozinovic and confirmed for Index that the ban on movement between different places on the island is applied on Brac.

As for the agreement on freedom of movement within the EU, without self-isolation measures or other restrictions, Bozinovic says that he expects that the negotiations of all 27 members will be slower and that bilateral agreements will be reached.

Index also asked if Bozinovic was thinking of implementing a 'travel bubble' like the first one established in the EU by Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

"That would be some kind of intention, but it depends on the overall epidemiological situation. We are preparing for it to get better and we hope it will get better. It is a little more complicated for us compared to the Baltics. We are using every opportunity for normalization," Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told Index.

In the end, he confirmed that a decision would be made on Sunday about eliminating e-passes, except for Brac, where, according to the decision, the restriction of movement will last for 14 days.

Follow our live updates on the coronavirus crisis in Croatia 

 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

"Stay Home" Slogan Goes Home, Minister Bozinovic Announces New Slogan

By now, the slogan ''Stay Home/(Ostani(te) Doma)'' has become synonymous with the Croatian fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The slogan has been plastered everywhere, along streets, on billboards, and it is even in the right-hand corner of Croatian TV screens on certain channels. As the epidemiological situation continues to become more and more favourable within Croatia's borders, Interior Minister Bozinovic has announced a brand new slogan.

As Croatia gradually begins to release its stringent anti-epidemic measures in three phases, the Stay Home slogan is gradually losing its meaning, it has now been replaced with a more fitting slogan that we're sure to see more of in the coming weeks and as the battle with the pandemic continues to unfold.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of May, 2020, at the end of yesterday's regular coronavirus press conference held by the National Civil Protection Headquarters, a change of the well known ''Stay Home'' slogan was announced by Davor Bozinovic.

The slogan "Stay Home" has been proverbially sent home itself now that the situation in Croatia is looking better and better, and the new motto as the anti-coronavirus measures begin being released and people are no longer obliged to stay at home as much as possible is now "Let's stay responsible/Ostanimo odgovorni''

"We must not forget all of the instructions of the epidemiologists and the staff [of the National Civil Protection Headquarters], in order for our situation to be good, we must continue to follow all of those instructions, and we should probably start off with a new motto - Let's stay responsible," said Minister Bozinovic.

For more on coronavirus, as well as rolling updates, full press conference translations, border and travel updates and the new measures in place as the economy begins to open up again, make sure to give our dedicated section a follow.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Božinović: We Are Embarking on Easing Measures Thoughtfully, Cautiously

ZAGREB, April 17, 2020 - The head of the national civil protection authority, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said on Friday the epidemiological measures in force against COVID-19 would be extended but that the authority would "embark on easing" them "thoughtfully and cautiously."

"Most epidemiological measures expire on Sunday at midnight and we will certainly extend most of those measures. But we are definitely moving towards the stage in which some measures will be eased," he said at the daily press briefing.

Božinović said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković had asked all ministers to prepare for today a review of important economic activities, after which epidemiologists would give recommendations on how to organise compliance with the measures.

"Any easing carries a certain risk. This virus has shown that it can spread fast in uncontrolled conditions. The road map is clear. We haven't given specific dates much in advance. But I think our approach, with today's (coronavirus-related) numbers, has shown its justification," said Božinović.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Bozinovic Has Message for Those With "Get Rich Quick" Coronavirus Ideas

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of April, 2020, the Croatian Minister of the Interior, Davor Bozinovic was a guest last night on Nova TV, where he spoke about loosening the stringent anti-coronavirus measures Croatia now firmly has in place. 

He said that he was constantly balancing things between more restrictive measures and loosening those same measures.

''It's all dependant on the epidemiological situation in the country. We have a trend where the number of patients isn't growing exponentially, it's growing linearly, and it is important that we try to maintain this trend. It would be great if the number of patients dropped for a few days, in that case, we'd probably go for some additional relief [of the measures]. But that's something that is estimated on a daily basis,'' Bozinovic said.

He stated that there were still violations of the prescribed measures taking place. ''It was some sort of catering facility in Karlovac that was open and was discovered and reported by the police to the State Inspectorate. It has now been closed down and the owner has been fined,'' he said.

He recalled the fact that it is crucial that everyone adheres to the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus prescribed by the Civil Protection Headquarters.

"Everything we do depends on the people. We can prescribe whatever we want to prescribe, but people have to stick to the measures. Most people have taken things seriously. This is the only way to get out of this situation. There are those who are violating self-isolation measures, that's the biggest issue. These people could potentially be infected and spread the infection to the people around them,'' Bozinovic said.

The minister also warned that so-called ''coronavirus profiteers'', who have kuna symbols in their eyes and are seeing some sort of macarbe opportunity to exercise their ''get rick quick'' plans would be sanctioned.

"We'll be very rigorous in regard to whoever wants to use this situation to get rich unfairly. The institutions are all involved with that - the tax inspectors, as well as the police. That's the way it is now, and it will remain that way in the future,'' he announced.

He remarked on Davor Bernardic's statements, saying that this isn't the time for such skirmishes.

"He first criticised the headquarters for failing to introduce rigorous measures several times. He is expected to be consistent as the leader of the opposition party. This is not the time for fights. Everyone should be giving their efforts to this to the maximum,'' he explained.

In regard to abolishing the current measures, he said that the reduction in new coronavirus cases is a sign that we're now on the right track.

"Until we know how this virus can be stopped either by the production of a drug or by vaccination, it's possible for it to keep being exponential. If a focal point [of infection] isn't immediately dealt with, we can expect a greater increase in the number of those infected. That's why it is important that this situation isn't underestimated, that no one underestimates it for themselves, their family and the environment in which they work,'' Bozinovic explained.

He then discussed the robberies that have been talked about in recent days, stating that he has received a report from the police that these situation are declining. "There's probably crime that isn't being reported in this situation to the extent that it would have been earlier, but I think the situation in Croatia is stable. The police are engaged in all lines of work including this for the coronavirus and I don't expect this to escalate,'' he added.

He sent a message out to pranksters to refrain from making epidemic-related jokes on April the 1st. "People can joke around, but they mustn't spread that some measure has been abolished, that people can go out and walk around outside, that can be dangerous. People can joke, but not on the subject of coronavirus,'' Bozinovic concluded.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Croatian Interior Minister Warns Parents Against Taking Kids Out in Snow

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic has a few words to say about Croatia's snowfall.

If the coronavirus pandemic and ever stricter measures wasn't enough, an earthquake or two helped to convince people even more that some sort of Biblical scenario was playing out. If they needed another kick in the teeth, however, Zagreb and many other places across Croatia woke up to freezing temperatures and snow this morning, too.

With all of the anti-epidemic measures now fully in place, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic made sure to warn parents not to see the usually pleasant sight of snowfall as an excuse to take the kids out and build snowmen or have snowball fights. White stuff or no white stuff, all of the previously introduced measures against the spread of coronavirus are still in full force.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of March, 2020, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic warned parents to cast aside any thoughts of using this cold and snowy day to get the kids out of the house for some air. If they do that, the authorities will send them home, he said.

The Croatian Interior Minister and the Civil Protection Headquarters made sure to let parents know that the police would be watching despite the snow, and that children and everyone else must remain indoors.

''This is not the time to be going out and having fun in the snow. I'd like to ask parents and anyone who thinks of this snow day being a reason to go out and have fun and leisure, to give up on that idea immediately. The competent institutions will prevent them from doing that and will send them home,'' Bozinovic warned during a press conference at the Civil Protection Headquarters.

Bozinovic also used the opportunity to appealed to traders and others not to advertise discounts and actions for products that are not necessary in these types of situations, because this is not the appropriate time to do so.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for all you need to know about coronavirus in Croatia.

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