Thursday, 2 June 2022

One Of Two Strategic Goals Achieved By Meeting Euro Criteria, PM Says

ZAGREB, 2 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday Croatia was one of the EU member states outside the euro area which had met all the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union, whereby one of the government's strategic goals has been achieved.

Speaking after a meeting with the European Commission Executive Vice President for An Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, Plenković said Croatian officials had the opportunity to hear the Commission's assessments on its convergence report on Croatia and the other countries still outside the euro area.

"Such a positive report on Croatia is very good, given that by all criteria, which are equal for all, we are the only country meeting the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union," he told the press.

The Commission presented the report yesterday, confirming that Croatia is one of the observed member states meeting all nominal convergence criteria and that its legislation is fully aligned with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as well as the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The Commission, therefore, concluded that Croatia is prepared to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023, becoming the 20th euro area member state.

"It's particularly important that Croatia meets the price stability criterion. You have seen that over 12 months up to April this year the average inflation was 4.7%, and the reference value was 4.9%, so we were within that criterion," Plenković said.

It is also very important that Croatia has received confirmation from the ECB that it is below the Maastricht budget deficit criterion of 3% of GDP.

"Croatia no longer has macroeconomic imbalances and in this whole set of our efforts, from responsibly managing public finance, coming out of the excessive deficit procedure, raising the credit rating to investment level, the fact that we carried out all the reforms that were on the table after entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the banking union on time, in line with the action plan, shows that by implementing the euro introduction strategy, Croatia has achieved one of the fundamental political goals during the terms of our two governments," Plenković said.

The other goal is entering the Schengen Area, he added.

For more, check out our politics section.


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

WTTC and ETC: Freedom of Movement Restrictions in the EU Should Be Avoided

November 23, 2021 - The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the European Travel Commission (ETC), with the support of a number of key travel stakeholders, called on the EU Member States to align their responses to the deteriorating situation with COVID-19 and avoid imposing any freedom of movement restrictions in Europe.

As reported by HrTurizam, organizations say the sector cannot afford inconsistent and ever-changing national responses to the pandemic such as freedom of movement restrictions, and a common EU approach is the only solution to rescue Europe's faltering travel and tourism sector.

The WTTC and ETC state that the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) now acknowledges that travel restrictions in the EU have not had a significant impact on reducing virus transmission, hospitalizations, or deaths. They also stress that measures aimed at restricting border crossings would not have any health benefits, but could result in a major economic impact on the region.

According to the latest WTTC survey, up to 900,000 jobs are at risk across the EU travel and tourism sector this year if travel restrictions are reintroduced this winter. Furthermore, governments across the EU could lose up to €35 billion from the sector’s contribution to the economy before the end of 2021 if strict travel and freedom of movement restrictions come into force.

We urgently need to restore confidence to travel, not create even more uncertainty, says Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC, adding that it is vital that we have a properly coordinated EU-wide response that both companies and travelers can understand.

"The introduction of vaccination across the EU is among the best in the world with 65% of the population now fully vaccinated. We cannot afford to undo all the hard-earned progress made this year. This will have catastrophic consequences for jobs and livelihoods. While we fully recognize that public health is paramount, we call on all EU Member States to continue to use the EU's digital COVID certification, which has successfully enabled fully vaccinated people to travel safely and freely. ”

Luís Araújo, President of the ETC, pointed out that the colder months are approaching and some European countries are facing a worsening epidemiological situation. "We call on EU governments to work together to ensure freedom of movement across Europe. We must avoid any further uncertainty or fragmentation. With a high vaccination rate, EU COVID certification, and strict safety protocols in place, safe travel is absolutely possible. On the eve of the long-awaited holiday season, EU citizens need clear and coherent rules,” says Araújo.

Last year, a WTTC survey found that more than two million jobs in travel and tourism were lost across the EU, and its latest survey reveals that if broad freedom of movement restrictions are introduced in 2022, another three million jobs would be at stake next year.

After 18 months in which economies around the world have already been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, WTTC research also shows that if punitive restrictions remain in place for most of next year, more than 143 billion euros could be lost from the EU economy.

Finally, the WTTC and ETC stress that only a coordinated approach will save millions and financial resources for the lives of those dependent on the tourism sector.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Croatia Among EU Member States Calling for Stronger Shift to Nuclear Energy

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - Croatia is among ten EU member states that have signed an initiative for a stronger EU shift to nuclear energy as an effective way of combating climate change and for decarbonization of the economy, government said on its website on Monday.

To win the fight for climate, we need nuclear energy. For all of us that is a key and reliable tool for a low carbon future, says the declaration titled Why Europeans Need Nuclear Energy, signed on behalf of Croatia by the Minister of Finance, Zdravko Marić, and the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Tomislav Ćorić.

In addition to Croatia, the initiative was signed by Bulgaria, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Nuclear energy is a clean, safe, independent, and competitive low-carbon source of energy which gives Europeans a chance to continue developing a strong value-added industry, creating thousands of skilled jobs, strengthening leadership in environmental protection, and ensuring strategic autonomy and energy self-sufficiency for Europe, the signatories said.

They cited the prediction made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest report that the goal of limiting global warming to up to 2°C this century would never be achieved unless greenhouse gas emissions were considerably reduced in the next eight years.

They also noted that the rise in energy prices has shown how important it is to reduce energy dependence on third countries as soon as possible. Problems with supply will become increasingly common, so Europe has no choice but to diversify its supply chain and make sure it does not increase its dependence on energy imports from outside Europe, they added.

Nuclear energy is safe and innovative and must be part of the solution

Decarbonization requires immediate and deep transitions in our production and consumer activities so that we make them less carbon-intensive. This implies mass electrification of our use and development of a low-carbon industry such as hydrogen, which also requires electricity production, the declaration says, stressing that nuclear energy must be part of the solution.

Although renewable energy sources play a key role in our energy transition, we also need other emissions-free energy sources to meet our needs at a sufficient and constant level. Nuclear energy is necessary. It already makes up half of the European carbon-free energy production, the declaration says.

The document notes that nuclear energy is a key affordable, stable, and independent source of energy and that this is so primarily because it protects European consumers from price volatility, given that now we are facing high prices of natural gas, and because it evidently contributes to the independence of our energy and electricity supplies.

This is affordable carbon-free energy that can deliver a large amount of competitive electricity without increasing our dependence on electricity supplies from third countries, the declaration says, adding that the European nuclear industry is a global leader and that its development could generate more than a million highly skilled jobs in Europe in the near future.

Increasing cooperation between the member states will lead to the construction of new modern reactors, such as small modular reactors, the document says.

It concludes by saying that nuclear energy should be treated equally as all other low-carbon energy sources and included in the European taxonomy framework before the end of this year and that there is no scientific evidence showing that nuclear energy is less climate-friendly than any other energy source included in taxonomy.

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

Monday, 19 October 2020

Croatia and 14 More EU Members Seek Strategy Against Disinformation About 5G

ZAGREB, October 19, 2020 - A group of 15 European Union member states have signed a joint letter to three European commissioners in which they suggest that the EU should prepare a strategy to counter disinformation about G5 tehcnology, Reuters reported on Monday.

Croatia is one of those 15 signatories.

"The European Union needs to come up with a strategy to counter disinformation about 5G technology or risk false claims derailing its economic recovery and digital goals," the news agency stated.

"Conspiracy theories that the novel coronavirus may be linked to the wireless technology have led to the torching of mobile phone masts in 10 European countries and assaults on maintenance workers in recent months," Reuters noted.

The 15 countries listed their concerns and proposals in the joint letter "to EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager, internal market commissioner Thierry Breton and values chief Vera Jourova that was seen by Reuters."

"We, as Member States are willing to contribute to this EU-wide initiative with our national expertise and best practice to tackle the issue of 5G and EMF disinformation," the letter said.

The 15 signatories to the letter are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Croatia Among Most Efficient EU Countries in VAT Collection

ZAGREB, Sept 10, 2020  - Differences between expected VAT revenues and revenues actually collected in EU member states are still high despite a slight improvement, and Croatia is among the most efficient countries in VAT collection, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The Commission released data for 2018 showing that the member states lost an estimated €140 billion in expected Value-Added Tax (VAT) revenues. 

There were great differences among the member states. The highest national VAT gap was recorded by Romania, with 33.8% of VAT revenues going missing in 2018, followed by Greece (30.1%) and Lithuania (25.9%). The smallest gaps were in Sweden (0.7%), Croatia (3.5%), and Finland (3.6%). In absolute terms, the highest VAT gaps were recorded in Italy (€35.4 billion), the United Kingdom (€23.5 billion), and Germany (€22 billion).

In 2018, Croatia collected €252 million less VAT revenue than expected.

"Although the overall VAT Gap, which is the difference between expected VAT revenues in EU member states and those actually collected, is still extremely high, it has slightly improved in recent years. However, figures for 2020 forecast a reversal of this trend, with a potential loss of €164 billion in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy," the Commission said.

"The considerable 2018 VAT Gap, coupled with forecasts for 2020 -- which will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic -- highlights once again the need for a comprehensive reform of EU VAT rules to put an end to VAT fraud, and for increased cooperation between the Member States to promote VAT collection while protecting legitimate businesses," it added.

"Today's figures show that efforts to shut down opportunities for VAT fraud and evasion have been making gradual progress -- but also that much more work is needed. The coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered the EU's economic outlook and is set to deal a serious blow to VAT revenues too. At this time more than ever, EU countries simply cannot afford such losses. That's why we need to do more to step up the fight against VAT fraud with renewed determination, while also simplifying procedures and improving cross-border cooperation," said Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.