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.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Croatian Interior Minister Announces Limitation of Movement for Older Persons

''There's no reason at all to worry, except about this part where we must first and foremost protect older people so that we don't get in a situation in which we end up overloading our health system,'' said the Croatian Interior Minister.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of March, 2020, the Croatian Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, commented during a press conference of the National Civil Protection Headquarters on which powers the headquarters would have.

The latest press conference which covers the decisions which have now officially been passed and adopted by Parliament can be read by clicking here.

''As Health Minister Beros said, we can announce a decision that will try to limit the movement of older people, that is, to make sure that they don't leave their apartments or houses without urgent need to do so. This is a job we will start with immediately,'' the minister said, presenting new information on violations of self-isolation, the punishments/fines for breaking self-isolation can be read here.

"Secondly, we'll tighten control as we've already done when it comes to people properly adhering to self-isolation rules. To date, the system has received 533 such notices, and 93 people violating this decision have been identified and will be sanctioned,'' Bozinovic said.

"It's important to bear in mind here that the economic activities of the state, not only those here in Croatia, must not stop, but they must be carried out in such a way that they don't contribute to the spread of the virus, and at the same time, they must function, and we'll also do all we can in order to keep those activities going. There's no reason to worry, except in this part where we must first and foremost protect our older people so that we don't end up getting into the situation of overburdening our health system,'' noted the Croatian Interior Minister.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling infromation in English about the coronavirus outbreak in Croatia. We also provide daily updates on travel, statistics, entry and exit procedures and much more.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Croatia Migrant Crisis: Interior Minister Will Not Send Army to Border

March 2, 2020 - Davor Božinović, the Interior Minister of Croatia, emphasised that there is no need to send the army to the border, because Croatia deals with illegal migrants daily. He added that Croatia’s border protection system maintains communication with colleagues from other countries on every level. And they are working together to pursue a diplomatic solution.

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Croatia Eastern Border: No Increase in Illegal Migration

“There has been no reported increase in illegal migration on Croatia's eastern borders. The police are doing their job and the situation is no different than yesterday or the day before. Croatia has been dealing with illegal migration every day for almost three years now. That is why, even with these new circumstances, we can confirm that our border protection system fully operational and doing its job,” Interior Minister Davor Božinović said today. He noted that presently there is no need to send the army to the Croatian border, even though that remains a legal possibility, according to Marina Borovac/Večernji List on March 2, 2020.

“We will see how the situation on the Greek and Bulgarian borders develops, in relation to Turkey’s recent actions (release of migrants from their country). We are in close contact with our colleagues (from other countries) on every level. One direction we are going is certainly the diplomatic route. After all, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament will visit the Greek border tomorrow to see the situation there. At the same time, talks are underway with the Turkish leadership, which is part of the diplomatic role. The aim is to return to the EU-Turkey agreement of 2016,” Božinović added, and is confident that diplomacy would be the goal.

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Croatia Will Discuss Border Assistance to Greece, Bulgaria

Božinović announced an upcoming meeting of European interior ministers to discuss what assistance can be sent to Greece and Bulgaria. He says both countries are committed to deterring illegal migration, which is in the wake of the new European Commission's policy regarding the protection of the EU's external borders. Božinović recalled that there was a migrant wave in 2015 because Greece had allowed migrants to pass through their territory.

“This is the only way to prevent the 2015 and 2016 scenario from happening again. Today, not only Greece, but every country has made their objectives very clear regarding the protection of their borders along the so-called Western Balkan route,” the interior minister concluded.

Croatia will emphasize its plight with protecting Europe's borders, but reiterates that the issue of the migrant crisis can only be resolved through (the agreement upon) a common European policy.

Follow our Politics page and this page to keep up-to-date on the migrant crisis along the Western Balkan route in Croatia.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Božinović Says He Has Not Been Offered Post of Foreign Minister

ZAGREB, June 28, 2019 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović on Friday dismissed speculation that he would succeed Marija Pejčinović Burić in the post of Foreign and European Affairs Minister, noting that he had not been given any such offer.

"I have not received any such offer nor would I opt for (the post)," Božinović told reporters.

Asked if a government reshuffle was possible and necessary, he said that he was not aware of any talks on the matter.

"In the coming period, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) will be working to prepare in the best possible way for the next election cycle," Božinović said.

Also today, the head of the HDZ parliamentary group, Branko Bačić, said that there had been no talks within the party on the candidates to succeed Pejčinović Burić after she was elected the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

"She will take office on September 15 and we have two and a half months to decide on who will take her place. The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry has been preparing seriously for taking over the presidency of the EU on January 1. Not everything is up to the minister, her closest associates are very much involved in the process so there will be no vacuum," said Bačić.

He also said that his party colleague Tomislav Sokol, who was elected a member of the European Parliament, would resign as a member of the Croatian parliament today and that his successor in the parliament would take over on July 12.

Bačić said that the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) would not succeed in having Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević dismissed.

"I still have not seen the SDP's motion for Minister Kuščević's dismissal, I'm interested in the reasons they have cited. In any case, they won't succeed in having the minister dismissed," Bačić said.

The HDZ official went on to say that deadlines for the dismissal procedure were clear as were deadlines for calling regular and extraordinary parliament sessions.

"Only after we receive the SDP motion will we be able to say when the matter will be discussed... it must be discussed at the latest within 30 days from the submission of the motion and the government's making known its position on the matter," said Bačić.

Asked what would happen if the SDP chose such a timing of filing its motion to make the parliament call an extraordinary session after July 15, Bačić said: "If deadlines are such that we cannot conduct a debate before July 15, we will hold talks to see what to do."

The SDP said on Thursday that it was launching an initiative for Kuščević's dismissal and was collecting signatures in that regard, adding that due to procedural and legal time frames, an extraordinary session of parliament might be convened solely to debate the proposal for Kuščević's dismissal.

Speaking of the reasons why the SDP was calling for Kuščević's resignation, SDP MP Peđa Grbin cited his failure to enter his property in the land register, siphoning property from a company and causing it more than a million kuna in damages, purchasing agricultural land and then converting it into construction land during his term in office as the head of Nerežišća municipality on the island of Brač, and construction of government-subsidised flats many of which ended up in the hands of Kuščević's family and close party colleagues.

More news about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Brexit Brits in Croatia - Simplified Jargon for Croatia's British Residents

A look at the possible Brexit scenarios and what they mean for Croatia's confused British residents.

Brexit has been delayed. If May can't get her deal through parliament, or if no other way forward is proposed, the UK could end up with a disorderly No Deal exit, despite parliament having voted overwhelmingly against it. If May passes her deal or parliament finds another route and that is passed then Brexit has been delayed until May the 22nd to allow for the necessary legislation to be passed. The UK cannot delay Brexit any further unless it agrees to partake in the European elections. Farcical, no? 

Anyway, La La Land, sorry... I mean Britain, aside, let's see how things currently stand for Croatia's resident Brits. I've tried to update you a lot, but as you know, the Brexit situation has changed more times than Boris Johnson has changed his political beliefs, so it doesn't always mean much. Still, let's give it a go.

May's deal/withdrawal agreement passes:

If, in the unlikely event May's deal passes during the third meaningful vote on it (third time lucky?), then the withdrawal agreement concluded back in 2018 will come into force on May the 22nd this year, giving way to a transition (implementation) period until what we currently believe to be the end of December, 2020. This however, could be extended and altered. 

What does this mean?

It means that you need to make sure you're correctly registered with the authorities (MUP/Ministry of the Interior) as a resident in Croatia. You need to be in possession of a valid residency permit or the white piece of paper proving you've been approved and you're just waiting for it to be made, before December 2020. If you're due to gain permanent residency (after five years of continuous, lawful residency in Croatia), you can apply for it as an EU citizen would during this time. In short, nothing will alter.

Here's a more detailed guide I wrote a few months ago.

May's deal fails again, parliament can find no way forward, No Deal occurs:

This remains unlikely as this is only the desire of a handful of people who seem hell bent on such an insane idea. Still, it could happen. You need to make sure you're correctly registered with MUP as stated above, and your registration, receipt of registration and/or residence permit will act as proof of your British citizenship and proof of you having been resident in Croatia before the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It's hugely important that you do this if you haven't already. 

Here's how you should prepare for all scenarios, this guide will help you make sure you're on the right side of the law should the UK crash out of the EU with no deal next month. 

Here are MUP's guidelines, with our explainers and points thrown in, in the case of a No Deal Brexit. Croatia has now finally confirmed it will protect British citizens living legally in Croatia and minimise any disruption as much as possible regardless of the Brexit outcome. Click the above link and read carefully. Here's MUP's original post on the subject.

Is there any new information?

Yes and no. Here's what we know so far: Croatia has committed to protect its British residents regardless of the outcome, which is good news. You can click here for an overview of each EU member state's guidelines for residence rights for Brits in the unwanted event of the UK leaving without a deal. It isn't in alphabetical order, so scroll down until you find Croatia, or don't, because I'll just write what you need to know here and explain each point as necessary anyway. Here goes:

''In order to provide for the regulation of residence status of UK nationals and their family members, who on the day of departure of the UK from the European Union have already registered their temporary or permanent stay or have been issued with a residence card pursuant to Title X of the existing Aliens Act, certain amendments to the draft proposal for the Act on EEA nationals and their family members have been proposed.  

Those provisions provide for keeping the existing residence status and lay down the right to work without obtaining additional authorisation (this provision will have no end date). 

The residence documents already issued under the existing Aliens Act will be recognised as temporary national residence permits for nationals of the United Kingdom and their family members after Brexit (option c). These temporary national residence permits will be valid maximum up to one year from the entry into force of the Act (or until their expiration date, if the said date is shorter).

An obligation has also been prescribed to replace residence documents within a year from the entry into force of the Act. New residence permits will be issued in the format laid down by Regulation 1030/2002. 

Pursuant to a special procedure, the draft Act will be sent before the Croatian Parliament for urgent legislative procedure.

b). On 19 March 2019 total of 655 UK nationals have regulated their residence in the Republic of Croatia (358 on temporary residence and 297 have permanent residence).

Having this in mind, we do not currently expect overburden of our administrative capacities.

We aim to implement a simple and straightforward procedure in order not to overburden UK nationals.

Therefore we are considering accepting applications for exchanging the recognised temporary national residence permits after 30 March 2019 (or no deal Brexit date) and issue first permits in accordance with Regulation 1030/2002 afterwards (in order to replace any temporary documents).

c). We have made a proposal for a recommendation addressed to all UK nationals and their family members residing in the Republic of Croatia who intend to continue residing in the Republic of Croatia, to register their residence in the Republic of Croatia in line with the provisions of the existing Aliens Act.

This recommendation was published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior https://mup.gov.hr/vijesti/information-concerning-the-future-relations-between-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union/283273

What does all that mean?

In short, legislation is being put forward to mean that the current residence document/permits you hold now, which were obtained via your EU treaty rights (the right to live and work in any EU member state) will remain valid for one year, or less if you're due to update them (renew or apply for permanent residence) in less than one year. 

This legislation will mean that essentially, British citizens already residing legally in Croatia will be treated like all other EU citizens and their unrestricted entitlement to access the Croatian labour market will remain as it is now - permanently.

There aren't many Brits living here, so there shouldn't be any particular extra burden felt by MUP or by individuals.

Eventually, residence cards obtained through EU law will cease to be valid for British nationals, but there's nothing to worry about, you simply exchange them for whatever the new ones will be. Croatia is considering beginning permit exchanges as of the 30th of March (however this might be worth bypassing considering the fact that the UK will almost certainly still be a member of the EU on that date).

Need an example?

1) Let's say you're due to get permanent residency this year. You'll apply for it as normal just like you were still an EU citizen, and you'll be granted under the same conditions as EU nationals. Ask the official if you'll need to alter it in a year's time. If you do, you won't be asked to make an application again, it will be a simple exhange for a new permit. It will still be permanent residence, just maybe a slightly different looking card.

2) You've still got a few years to go before you hit that magic five year mark. Your current temporary residence permit will remain valid for another year. Go and exchange it for whatever the new document will be as soon as MUP announce they're beginning exchanges to save you any extra burden. Ask at your local police station for information on this, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3) Let's say you've somehow managed to live in Croatia without any sort of residence permit (yes, it happens), you need to go and register your residence now and get a five year temporary residence permit. You can then exchange it for whatever the new document is when MUP begins exchanging cards, and then eventually get permanent residence.

What about healthcare?

If no other way forward is found and no further extension to the Brexit process is agreed, the UK will crash out of the EU. In this case, the EU health insurance card will cease to be valid for British citizens. As things stand, we can reveal that the Croatian Government is preparing a Draft Law Proposal on a Temporary Measure in the area of Obligatory Health Insurance designed to provide transitional healthcare arrangements after the UK leaves the EU to those who are residents in Croatia.

We'll update you as soon as we know more about what that means.

Make sure to follow British Embassy Zagreb on Facebook, and sign up for email alerts from gov.uk's Living in Croatia page, which is updated as soon as any new information comes out. Give our dedicated politics page a follow for much more on Brexit and beyond.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Croatia Supposedly Playing Important Role on European Security Scene

ZAGREB, February 8, 2019 - Croatia's Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović on Thursday attended a meeting of EU justice ministers and ministers of the interior in Bucharest focusing on the fight against terrorism and on-line radicalisation, ways to strengthen police cooperation, migrations and external border management. "Croatia has an important role on the European security scene, notably regarding the control of the longest EU land border. Croatia's accession to the Schengen area is therefore in the EU's interest as well," Božinović tweeted after the meeting.

The minister told the meeting that Croatia welcomed the European Parliament's political support for anti-terrorist activities.

The Bucharest meeting also discussed police cooperation in the digital era, cybercrime and ways of countering it. It was underlined that Croatia had already successfully launched projects that improve competences and experience in countering that type of attacks.

Božinović informed the meeting of his recent visit to Ankara and refugee camps on the Turkish-Syrian border. He underlined that Turkey was a key partner to the EU in managing migrations and that the increased pressure it was dealing with should not be ignored.

Božinović recalled that Croatia was in favour of stronger cooperation with Southeast European countries in managing migrations but that it wanted the specific situations of individual member-countries to be taken into account.

Croatia cannot accept the establishment of a controlled centre in its territory, he said, adding that for Croatia it was not acceptable that migrants saved at sea were immediately transferred to other member-countries without launching border and asylum procedures in the country of disembarkation.

More news on the Interior Ministry can be found in the Politics section.

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