Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Says Croatian Companies Interested in Egyptian Market

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - Croatian companies are showing great interest in the Egyptian market which can be the gate to a market of close to one billion people, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said at the start of a two-day visit to the most populous Arab country.

A country with which Croatia has traditionally friendly relations, based on long-lasting understanding and partnership, Egypt is one of the most important economic partners to Croatia not only in Africa but in the Middle East as well, the minister said.

Grlić Radman sees possibilities for cooperation in the oil and wood-processing industries, energy, shipbuilding, defence industry and infrastructure works.

The minister started his visit to Egypt by paying tribute at the Croatian memorial cemetery in El Shatt, the place where almost 30,000 Croats, mostly from Dalmatia, the Dalmatian hinterland and islands, were evacuated to during World War II.

"856 of them died here and that is why we laid wreaths and lit candles for them today," said the minister.

He also visited the Suez Canal, an economically very important zone that attracts important investments.

The delegation accompanying Grlić Radman includes business people and economists.

A Croatian-Egyptian business forum is to be held on Wednesday, with more than 120 business people attending, and the event will be opened by Grlić Radman and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

Cooperation with Egypt is important to Croatia also because of Egypt's relations with the European Union and membership in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Grlić Radman said.

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

 

Friday, 12 March 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Thanks Greece For Post-Earthquake Aid

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday thanked his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Dendias for his country's aid to Croatia after last year's devastating earthquakes.

"I'm taking this opportunity to thank Minister Dendias for the generous and prompt humanitarian aid that Greece sent to earthquake-hit areas in Croatia," Grlić Radman said in Athens, where he arrived for an official visit a day after visiting Cyprus.

"Greece itself was recently hit by strong earthquakes and I'm conveying our support and willingness to help," he added.

Greece was struck by two tremors earlier this month, the strongest measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, which caused material damage but no fatalities.

Support for Croatia's membership bids

Grlić Radman also thanked Dendias for the Greek support for Croatia's accession to MED7, a group which comprises seven Mediterranean EU member states - Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

He also thanked Dendias for supporting Croatia's accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the euro and Schengen areas.

The two ministers underlined the importance of continuing EU enlargement to Southeast Europe and of Brussels having a consistent policy so that candidates do not lose the European perspective.

Grlić Radman cited Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is having a hard time managing the migrant crisis, and underlined solidarity with Greece, which is also on the front line of that "big political, security and economic problem."

The minister said they were pleased with the increase in Croatian-Greek trade, singling out the Greek company Avax, which is building access roads to the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia.

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

 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Grlic Radman: Croats Have Shown Unity Like in Wartime

ZAGREB, 10 January, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman has said that Croatia and Croatian communities abroad have demonstrated such unity after recent earthquakes as they did in the 1991-1995 Homeland War, expressing satisfaction with the solidarity of EU member states.

"This shows that we can be together when it's most difficult. In such situations we are as one, Croatian hearts beat as one. During the earthquakes Croats were together just as they were in 1991," Grlic Radman said in an interview with the Mostar-based Bosnian Croat television channel Televizija Herceg-Bosne aired on Sunday.

He said that many Croats, Croatian organisations and Croatian Catholic missions abroad had responded a day after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Croatia on 29 December, opening special bank accounts and sending humanitarian aid.

"That's why we owe a debt of gratitude to the Croats abroad. We rely on each other when needed, here in particular we mean the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina," Grlic Radman said.

He said that after the earthquake Croatia again became aware of the advantages of European Union membership.

"The level of solidarity is above expectations. Croatia can be pleased with how solidarity was shown because of the feeling that we are not alone," Grlic Radman said, stressing that many non-EU countries had also offered their assistance after the earthquake.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

FM Thanks Int'l Community, Expats for Swift Quake Relief

ZAGREB, 2 January, 2021- Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman on Saturday thanked the international community and Croatian emigrants for swiftly sending relief to those affected by a 6.2 earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County, saying the government would not forget anyone affected.

Visiting the area struck on Tuesday, he told press in Lekenik the government was "pleasantly surprised" by the swift response of the international community and Croatian emigrants.

The government immediately requested the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and more than half the member states responded in 24 hours, ready to help, said Grlic Radman.

Austria sent containers, Greece was the first to send a plane with 19 tonnes of relief, and Bulgaria and Poland have sent relief too, he said, adding that yesterday he spoke with colleagues from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

"They wanted to know what the situation was, if more assistance was necessary. They have shown great solidarity and empathy for our tragedy."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen immediately called the prime minister and all Croatian ministers were in contact with their EU colleagues, Grlic Radman said.

He especially thanked Croatian emigrants from Australia, America and Germany for responding swiftly and starting to collect aid, saying that reminded him of how it was in the 1990s Homeland War.

Commenting on Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic's dissatisfaction with the allocation of state funds after the tremor, Grlic Radman said "one should not politicise with millions."

Dumbovic said he would return the government's HRK 30 million in aid because political affiliation was being considered, rather than people and the damage.

"The government set aside that money to show at the beginning the desire, the will for the first rehabilitation to be carried out," he said, adding that "naturally" the government would see "what else is necessary." 

Grlic Radman said the Interior Ministry had a well-established civil protection mechanism that was activated immediately. He pledged that all the relief necessary, from camp beds and lamps to containers and caravans, would continue to reach those affected by the tremor.

He underlined that the government would not leave anyone on their own, saying that all Croatian citizens must have a roof over their heads and heating.

"We are all here to help these people, to ease their pain. We can't bring back lives but we can help to reduce the pain, that people feel they are supported, that they are not alone, that they have not been abandoned, that they get a roof over their heads. In any case, we are there for them."

Monday, 9 November 2020

Croatian Minister Attends Berlin Process Meeting on Ways to Strengthen Cooperation

ZAGREB, November 9, 2020 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman participated in an online meeting on Mondayof the member-countries of the Berlin Process focusing on the strengthening of regional cooperation and trust-building, the ministry said.

Regional cooperation and trust-building are to be enhanced through contacts and mobility - primarily between young people and civil society organisations, it was said at the meeting.

Participants confirmed their support to projects and programmes concerning young people and advocated closer regional cooperation as well as the economic prosperity and European journey of the Western Balkan countries.

In his address at the event, Grlic Radman welcomed the first co-chairmanship of the Berlin Process by Bulgaria and North Macedonia, stressing that the regional character of the project was now fully evident and represents the continuity of previous efforts aimed at strengthening good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation as well as the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

He pointed to the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, adopted by the European Commission on October 6, noting that it would encourage economic growth and step up the process of economic convergence with the EU.

Connectivity, green and digital transformation and competitiveness are identified in the plan as the main challenges for the Western Balkan countries and overcoming those challenges will make the region attractive to investments and help it exploit its economic potential, Grlic Radman said.

He also underlined the importance of offering young people better prospects through quality education, equal opportunities, and a stable and safe environment and mobility, to secure the stability and sustainability of regional development.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Minister Says Bosnia's Election Law Detrimental to Croats, Should Be Changed

ZAGREB, November 2, 2020 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman has called on political representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina's three main ethnic groups to change the country's election law, claiming that its current provisions are detrimental to local Croats.

Grlic Radman made the statement during a visit to Mostar on Monday, noting that current election legislation made it possible to impose political representatives on local Croats.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina's future depends on an agreement between Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. Their leaders should reach agreement on the country's future, and here we have an election law that is detrimental to the Croat people and it should be changed," Grlic Radman told reporters before delivering a lecture at Mostar University on the 25th anniversary of the Dayton peace agreement.

"Croatia strongly advocates the implementation of all rulings of the Constitutional Court and amendment of the election law so that all three peoples and other citizens are enabled to elect their own representatives at all levels of government. The country's three-member Presidency was intended to reflect the result of voting for representatives of individual peoples, which now is not the case. We want that to change and we want the spirit of the Dayton agreement and its provisions to be respected as agreed 25 years ago," said the minister.

The Croat National Assembly (HNS) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which brings together the biggest Croat political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been organising lectures, panels and other events to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dayton peace agreement, which was signed after three-week negotiations on 21 November 1995 in Dayton, Ohio, and which put an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the 2018 elections Zeljko Komsic was elected the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina mostly owing to the votes of Bosniaks who are three and a half times more numerous than local Croats.

"It is necessary to ensure that each of the peoples feels at home in this beautiful country, able to exercise its own rights and elect its own representatives. If we in Croatia keep hearing that Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are dissatisfied, then something must not be right," said the minister.

He noted that Croatia strongly advocated Bosnia and Herzegovina's Euro-Atlantic journey and that it wanted a stable, functioning and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"It is very important that Bosnia and Herzegovina reflects the general provisions and spirit of the Dayton Accords and Annex IV of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the basic legal document regulating the status of Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs as constitutent peoples and their equality," he said.

Grlic Radman also met with the leadership of Mostar University today, who thanked Croatia for its support to the university.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Foreign Ministry: No Croatian Nationals Among Victims of Greece Earthquake

ZAGREB, October 30, 2020 - There are no Croatian nationals among the victims of the earthquake that struck Greece and Turkey on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign and European affairs said.

A magnitude 7 earthquake hit the Aegean Sea south of the city of Izmir on the west coast of Turkey at 11:50 local time.

The Turkish emergency management authority said that at least six people were killed and 202 were injured.

At the moment, there is no official information that any Croatian national has been killed in the earthquake that struck Greece and Turkey, it was said in the ministry's press release.

The embassies in Athens and Ankara, as well as the consular office in Istanbul, are monitoring the situation and are available to Croatian nationals for all necessary assistance, it was added.

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman extended his condolences to his Greek and Turkish counterparts, Nikos Dendias and Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also expressed his solidarity with Turkey and Greece.

"We deeply regret the tragic loss of life and the damage sustained and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured. Croatia is available to provide assistance," he said on Twitter.

According to Turkish sources, the earthquake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale, and according to American sources it measured 7.

The epicentre was in the Aegean Sea, and the earthquake was felt in Greece and Turkey, where several buildings collapsed.

A tsunami warning was issued on the Greek island of Samos following the earthquake.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Croatia to Establish Diplomatic Relations With Five More Countries

ZAGREB, October 29, 2020 - Croatia is establishing diplomatic relations with South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Tonga and Bhutan, Croatian Foreign Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Thursday, noting that this will contribute to "the realisation of Croatia's foreign policy goals".

Grlic Radman said after a government session that the goal of establishing those relations was "mutual strengthening of bilateral relations in the economic field and in all aspects of mutual interest".

Diplomatic relations with those countries will be established through a permanent mission to the United Nations (UN) in New York.

Grlic Radman said that Croatia thus "completes the process of establishing diplomatic relations with all modern and internationally recognised countries in the world", of which there are 194.

The foreign minister also announced that he would take part in the annual ministerial conference of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Croatia has been invited for the first time to actively take part in that conference, and topics to be discussed include the coronavirus pandemic and the countries' recovery, Grlic Radman said. The minister will report on the measures Croatia has been taking to fight the virus.

He reiterated that Croatia joining the OECD was one of its most important remaining foreign policy goals.

Croatia applied for membership in early 2017, and the minister hopes that this will be realised in the future.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

FM Expects Favourable Response From Countries Considering New Measures

ZAGREB, Aug 20, 2020 - Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Thursday that he today expected a positive response from certain countries that had been considering introducing new measures for Croatia and that Germany could keep the existing regulations for Croatia, with some modifications.

"Yesterday I spoke with a colleague from Germany, and I think we can be sure that in line with the recommendation by their Robert Koch Institute (of public health) that country will keep the existing regulations for Croatia, with some modifications and probably recommendations for some regions in Croatia that they should not be visited because of (coronavirus) hotspots, but Germany remains loyal as a traditional market from which tourists come here," Grlic Radman said.

He underscored that he hoped that countries that were now considering new measures for Croatia, without saying which ones, would make a positive response and that "our great effort will bear fruit and that we will still have tourists in the country by the end of August, and even in September and October."

Underscoring that they have been aware since the start and the reopening of borders that some foreign markets will introduce measures for Croatia, Minister Grlic Radman noted that timely and interministerial action and measures in Croatia were what made tourist results possible.

"In diplomatic contacts, we have been pointing out the fact that cases of the infection were not spread out evenly across the entire country, and we were making sure that in case new measures were introduced for Croatia, the regional aspect of the spread of the infection would be taken into account and measures for the entire country would be avoided," Minister Grlic Radman said, adding they are advocating exchange of information and experience regarding measures that apply to the return of citizens to their homeland from other countries at the EU level.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Foreign Minister Says 4 Staffers Have Coronavirus

ZAGREB, July 29, 2020 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman confirmed on Wednesday that four female employees at the ministry had coronavirus, saying he was tested before meeting his Slovenian counterpart yesterday and that he was negative.

Speaking to the press, he told that two ministry staff were positive on Saturday and that now they were four. "We have disinfected the whole ministry and everyone who was in close contact with those infected is self-isolating... We are in touch with epidemiologists, following their directions."

The minister said he had not been in contact with the four staffers. He said he was tested yesterday morning and that he was negative.

I called the Slovenian foreign minister, with whom I met yesterday, when I went to get tested, and I also told him the results so as to avoid any doubts, he added.

As for the source of the infection in the ministry, Grlic Radman said a female employee might have contracted the virus at a place where there were a number of people.

SDP MP says Foreign Ministry new coronavirus hotspot

Earlier on Wednesday MP Domagoj Hajdukovic of the Social Democratic Party said that the Foreign Ministry was a new coronavirus hotspot, with six persons infected.

"According to my information, we have a new infection hotspot, the ministry. The first case was recorded at the end of last week in the ministry's secretariat. New infections have been confirmed today, six in all," he said in parliament.

Hajdukovic said quite a few people were ordered to self-isolate and asked Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman, who was in the chamber, if he had been in contact with them and if he was tested.

MP speculates that Bosnia may have been source of infection for ministry employees

As for a possible source of infection, he said "many people from the ministry were helping out" with the vote in Croatia's July 5 parliamentary election in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Did the infection come from there? Were there safety breaches? Were those people tested and kept in self-isolation when they came back?"

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