Thursday, 10 June 2021

Davor Bozinovic Talks Croatian Covid Certificate, Dodges Pressing Issue

June the 10th, 2021 - There has been a lot of conversation surrounding the controversial so-called ''covid passports'', which Croatia has already introduced. Of course, in true Croatian fashion, the Croatian covid certificate has been plagued (no pun intended) with issues from the very beginning.

The rules appear simple if you want to get your hands on a Croatian covid certificate. You either have to have been vaccinated, have proof of having recovered from the disease, or have a negative PCR test result proving you aren't hosting the novel virus. Easy, right? No. Not at all.

Many people who have previously contracted and then recovered from the disease, including myself, are unable to get their Croatian covid certificate approved. Many people had absolutely no idea they had the disease, either having only very mild symptoms or being asymptomatic, and as such never sought medical attention, testing, or proof of them being infected. The number of people who have actually been infected is more than likely far higher than official records suggest. This poses a massive problem and despite Croatia's attempts to ''avoid discrimination'' - this is precisely what this is.

As a result of numerous complaints, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic has decided to speak out about the Croatian covid certificate, claiming that all is working well, much to the frustration of very many people who are entitled to the document, but can't get it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Bozinovic announced on social media that the Croatian system for issuing the EU digital COVID certificate, also referred to in this article as the Croatian covid certificate, has confirmed its full functionality and interoperability. Many would disagree.

"More than 100,000 people managed to have their certificates approved in just seven days," wrote Bozinovic, who said the certificate was eligible for 1.7 million people, who had either been vaccinated or had contracted the disease and since recovered.

The problem of those who overcame the disease, but didn't confirm that with by taking a PCR test, however, still remains an enormous problem, writes RTL vijesti/news. This is a huge issue which it seems nobody even thought about when coming up with this idea, which honestly seems incredibly shortsighted.

By the way, the European Parliament has adopted regulations on its digital certificate which will be applied at the level of the entire bloc from the 1st of July. The certificate will be issued free of charge by the national authorities and will be available in either digital and paper form and will contain a QR code.

The document will serve as confirmation that the person has been vaccinated, has a new negative test result, or has overcome the disease. In practice, these will be three different confirmations. The EU Common Framework will ensure the interoperability and verifiability of certificates throughout the Union and prevent their forgery and fraud.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Croats Plan Holidays as EU Digital Green Certificate Introduction Looms

May the 21st, 2021 - With the warm summer months rapidly approaching and with the vaccination rollout across Europe picking up its pace, plans are being hatched for a much needed holiday by the vast majority of Europeans. We might hear the most about the mass bookings the Brits and Germans are making, but what are the plans of Croatian travellers this summer? With the EU Digital Green Certificate introduction looming, arrangements are being made.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the tourist season is creeping up at somewhat of an alarming speed, and along with it is the EU Digital Green Certificate introduction and an easier regime for cross-border travel agreed upon by the European Union recently. As Croats, much like most other Europeans, scramble for the chance of a break abroad, trips to the likes of Portugal and Turkey are on the cards.

Along with Turkey and Portugal, Croatian travellers are also looking a bit further afield and showing interest in Morocco, according to a report from

The fact that Croats are busy looking for getaways as restrictions ease once again was confirmed by the president of the association of Croatian travel agencies, Tomislav Fain, who claimed that the number of bookings of foreign trips has increased, but it's still not much to write home about just yet.

“Now, if we were to compare with last year it would probably be 100 percent better than the way things were back then, but of course last year when we were practically in lockdown at this time is of course not comparable. We always have to go back to pre-pandemic 2019 or some other earlier year, when we still lived normally and travelled normally,'' Fain explained.

Normal travel within the European Union (EU) should also be made possible by the aforementioned EU Gigital Green Certificate introduction which is being negotiated at the European Union level.

"It's a certificate that will include those people who have recovered from the disease, been vaccinated and those who have tested negative, they will all be allowed to enjoy freedom of movement," explained Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

For more, follow our travel section.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Vaccination Process Slow, is EU Digital Green Certificate Idea Premature?

March the 25th, 2021 - The EU digital green certificate proposal has piqued the interest of most people, be that for good or bad reasons, but the idea which has conveniently made sure the controversial ''covid passport'' term isn't in its name still has a lot of question marks above its head.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the EU green digital certificate won't solve all of the now highly specific problems that are set to arise around the freedom of travel and protection against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but it will provide a model that will ensure the mobility of EU citizens and eliminate the current discrimination which goes against EU rules. 

The above was the main conclusion drawn from the online conference "Digital Certificates and the COVID-19 virus" which was organised by the Office of the European Parliament in Croatia back at the end of last week.

Croatian MEP Valter Flego pointed out that last year showed us the chaos that can quite easily arise and this year we all need to try our best to avoid it happening again at all costs.

"It's obvious that this Easter is also going to be a failure in terms of any sort of tourist season, and it's certain that the opening up of the country will not take place even during the pre-season. We should already be engulfed in some serious preparations for the upcoming season, everything should be ready for the pre-season, including the hiring of seasonal workers.

Tourist staff would now be at various fairs and finishing off everything for this season and starting preparations for the next one. But there's been none of that. Last week, the European Commission (EC) adopted a proposal for the introduction of the EU digital green certificate, but the fact is that due to bureaucratic and technical reasons, the move will only come to life in two to three months from now,'' Flego warned.

He explained the importance of the EU digital green certificate through one simple example - if a family of four now wants to go from Germany on holiday to Croatia and return home, then they need to set aside 600 euros for testing, which is ridiculous and enough to put anyone off bothering going anywhere at all.

Analyses show, according to Flego, that the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be 10-12 times longer and more expensive than the situation following the 2009 economic crisis was.

"If coronavirus just disappeared right now at this moment, the question is how successful our recovery of the economy, and especially tourism, would be this year. Some people in Croatia say that this year we will be at 60 percent of the turnover of 2019. Personally, I'm not convinced of that and I really don't know what such estimates are based on,'' concluded Flego.

MEP Tomislav Sokol emphasised that this model of the EU digital green certificate, although compromises must still be reached and there will still be harmonisation to come in the Council and the Parliament, is certainly a great achievement in many fields. It will end discrimination against EU citizens with regard to which member states they come from and simplify and reduce the cost of their travel.

"The EC has given member states the right to decide on the details, from how and which tests they will accept, to the fact that each country can decide which vaccine to recognise as being valid - including those which aren't registered in the EU, such as the Russian and Chinese vaccines.

However, it's already a great achievement in itself that the certificates will be bilingual and machine-readable, which means that there will be no procedures and costs for translating and establishing their authenticity,'' said Sokol.

He also pointed out that it is important that there will be no first or second class citizens and that there will be no restrictions on movement for any EU citizens. Sokol also referred to the issue that many EU member states are already looking at, or even seriously considering, using both Russian and Chinese vaccines, which haven't been approved by the EU itself.

"The EC regulation on digital certificates states that each country can decide whether and under what conditions to accept those certificates and vaccines that have not received EU approval. In this particular case, this means that Croatia can accept certificates for, for example, Hungarian residents/citizens who have been vaccinated with the Russian or Chinese vaccine,'' explained Sokol.

What about those who don’t want to be vaccinated?

Professor Iris Goldner Lang from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb pointed out that so far, we've had to get used to researching every day on how to enter and return from countries, because there were, and still are, vastly different measures which are changing almost daily. This new EU model solves all this through a "green certificate".

"This sort of digital confirmation will take some time yet because today we have a situation where relatively few citizens have been vaccinated. In some cases, people refuse to be vaccinated for whatever reason, but more importantly, there are a large number of countries where vaccine distribution is still in its infancy.

From the perception of the EU legal system, the EU digital green certificate would be unacceptable at this point as it would lead to discrimination because very few people are currently vaccinated, for one reason or another. That's why it's still going to take some time for it to come to life,'' said Goldner Lang. She added that even after vaccination is at a high level, there will be people who aren't allowed or who don't want to be vaccinated, and the way in which they can travel will have to be regulated.

The legal expert recalled that there have been certain vaccination rules and obligations in the world for many years to enter some countries - mostly African countries that insist on vaccination against, for example, yellow fever and some other infectious diseases.

For more on travel, borders rules, testing centres and other information on coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark this page.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

EU Green Certificates Already Threatening Lack of Tourism Clarity

March the 20th, 2021 - The much talked about EU Green Certificates which will allow for easier travel within the bloc are already posing potential issues for Croatian tourism and they haven't even been agreed upon or approved yet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak/Marija Crnjak writes, which vaccine will be accepted on the digital EU Green Certificates for travel is the main dilemma that arose the very day after the European Commission (EC) presented its idea for this model of free travel within the borders of the European Union (EU).

In addition to the above, it isn't yet entirely clear how the EU Green Certificates and their control will work with car tourists passing through several countries to reach their final destinations, each of which has the potential to have its own interpretation of typically strung out, complicated EU regulations and the recognition of both vaccines and certificates.

It doesn't apply to third countries

As is well known, the EC proposal, which has yet to be ratified by the Council and Parliament, states that only vaccines registered by the European Medicines Agency will be recognised by the EU Green Certificates at the European Union level, and it is up to individual member states to decide whether or not to quarantine or receive guests who have received vaccines not registered by the EMA.

These are, for example, guests from Russia, China, but also Hungary, which imported the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik, as well as countries in the region outside the EU, such as neighbouring Serbia. The Ministry of Tourism has since clarified that the mentioned EC proposal doesn't even refer to third countries.

"As a tourist country, Croatia welcomes any document that will facilitate tourist movement through uniform and predictable rules. In the forthcoming discussions within the Council, which must agree on the final version of the document, we'll strive that the announced EU Green Certificates, in whatever form they happen to be, doesn't represent a restrictive factor for free movement, we'll also make sure it isn't in any way discriminatoryIn parallel with the preparations for the adoption of this document at the EU level, the Croatian Government regularly coordinates positions regarding the conditions of crossing the border, taking into account the epidemiological situation. The proper facilitation of movement with the member states of the European Union, as well as with third countries, is also being intensively discussed," the Ministry said.

Minister Nikolina Brnjac met recently with British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish, which officially opened a conversation between the two sides on facilitating travel, and said that Croatia would be ready to receive tourists from the UK as soon as epidemiological rules in Britain, which is currently under lockdown, allow for it.

Predictability and assurance for business entities

In addition, the Ministry pointed out that the Croatian Government, in order to ensure predictability for business entities in tourism, will make a timely and detailed decision on the conditions for tourists to enter Croatia, which will be in force at least until the establishment of a common European model. It follows that the controversial so-called Covid passports will not play a crucial role in tourist traffic.

At a recent conference organised by the Office of the European Parliament in Croatia, MEPs generally welcomed the idea of ​​introducing the EU Green Certificates, which they do not consider to be discriminatory, but they point out that there will still be discussions about possible changes to that proposal.

Valter Flego stated that we can talk about some concrete effects of these passes for tourism only during the month of June, but the model will significantly reduce the cost of travel because tourists won't have to pay for tests or for translations of various certificates.

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