Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Croatian and Slovenian Foreign Ministers Discuss Fight Against Coronavirus

ZAGREB, July 28, 2020 - Slovenian and Croatian foreign ministers Anze Logar and Gordan Grlic Radman met in Ljubljana on Tuesday, discussing further cooperation in efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic and cooperation within the European Union.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Logar said he had learned from Slovenian epidemiologists that the number of new coronavirus cases was on the decline in some areas of Croatia and that he was glad about it.

"I think that Slovenia and Croatia should continue to cooperate closely and take coordinated action to curb the epidemic," Logar said.

Responding to questions from the press, Logar said that he and Grlic Radman had also discussed epidemiological risks in Croatia and the possibility of Slovenian tourists bringing the virus into Slovenia after returning from their holidays in Croatia.

Logar raised the issue of open nightclubs and bars in Croatia, saying that there had been several cases of the virus being imported from Croatia. He also cited cases of people entering Slovenia from Croatia after previously visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is on Slovenia's red list of unsafe countries. He said that those people stop over in Croatia for two days to get a certificate so that they would not have to go into quarantine in Slovenia.

Logar said that Slovenia was closely monitoring the epidemiological situation in its neighbourhood, including Croatia where a lot of Slovenian tourists are spending their summer holidays. He denied media reports that the Slovenian government was thinking of closing the border with Croatia in mid-August to prevent the possibility of children becoming infected while on holidays in Croatia and then returning to Slovenia before the start of the new school year.

Logar said that he and Grlic Radman had not discussed tighter border controls because of the COVID-19 outbreak. "It all depends on the epidemiological situation in both countries and the number of possible virus imports from Croatia," the Slovenian foreign minister said.

Logar said that he had presented his Croatian counterpart with Slovenia's views on cooperation within the Three Seas Initiative, which is due to hold a summit in Tallinn in October, and that he was interested in Croatian projects within this initiative and possible cooperation between the two countries in this regard.

Grlic Radman chose Ljubljana as his first foreign destination after the new Croatian government was confirmed and he retained his portfolio in the new cabinet. He said that this showed the importance Croatia attached to the cooperation with Slovenia.

He recalled that he had met with Logar on May 22, after which Slovenia opened small border crossings which had been closed because of the epidemic. He announced further successful cooperation in all areas, especially in the coordination of efforts to contain the epidemic.

Grlic Radman also pointed a recent successful meeting between Croatian and Slovenian prime ministers Andrej Plenkovic and Janez Jansa in the Slovenian border town of Otocec ob Krki, which had also focused on overcoming the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Croatian FM: Turkey Important Partner, Dialogue Necessary

ZAGREB, July 13, 2020 - Turkey is an important partner with which it is necessary to talk so as to turn around the negative trend in its relations with the EU, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Monday.

Grlic Radman participated at the first physical meeting of EU foreign ministers since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The main topic was a comprehensive and strategic discussion of the complex relations between the EU and Turkey whose activities in the eastern Mediterranean are causing concern.

There was also talk of Turkey's intention to reconvert Hagia Sophia back to a mosque after the Turkish high court stripped the Byzantine site of its museum status.

"EU member countries strongly advocate that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan change that decision. We hope that that will happen," Grlic Radman said.

He added that Turkey is a candidate country for NATO membership with which is it necessary to hold dialogue, however, it is also necessary to warn it of its violation of an embargo on arms to Libya and some other situations that deteriorate our relations.

"Dialogue is necessary so that this negative trend can be turned around and become positive and constructive because Turkey is an important partner and geopolitical fact," the minister said.

Grlic Radman said that he asked the foreign affairs council to discuss the Western Balkans at the first available opportunity.

"Croatia does not want for all of that be over with the Zagreb summit and that it be brought down to just the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. We as the direct neighbour to those countries, want other topics to be on the agenda of the Council of the EU. That contributes to a better understanding in member countries of the processes that are developing in the Western Balkans when it comes to the issues of democracy, media freedom, combatting corruption and the rule of law. It is certainly good to have permanent dialogue," said Grlic Radman.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Foreign Minister: We Want an Efficient Government

ZAGREB, July 8, 2020 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting of the inner cabinet, that all options were on the table as regards government downsizing and that the goal was to have an efficient government serving the interests of state policy and citizens.

"All options are open... We want to have a government that will be efficient and serves the interests of the state and citizens," said the minister.

Asked if he would keep his post as Foreign Minister in the new government, Grlic Radman said that he "is serving his homeland" and that the prime minister-designate would be the one to decide.

Asked if he thought he was doing his job well, Grlic Radman said that he did.

Asked which department could go to ethnic minorities, he said that it would be negotiated.

"Minorities have traditionally always supported the government. It is good when minorities in Croatia can participate in the government, which is an achievement of the parliamentary democracy in Croatia. Croatia can serve as an example to many countries in the EU and beyond in that regard," he said.

As for the closing of the border with Serbia, he said that the national civil protection authority would decide about that, noting that Croatia had demonstrated seriousness, organisation and reliability and that protection of citizens' health was a priority.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

FM: EU Mobilising €4 BN for Eastern Partnership States

ZAGREB, June 11, 2020 - The engagement with the six Eastern Partnership states remains an EU priority and almost €4 billion in aid has been mobilised for them, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Thursday after a video conference with his counterparts in the initiative.

"We confirmed that the engagement with these six states remains a European Union priority," he said after two video conferences, one on tourism and the other an informal meeting of EU and Eastern Partnership ministers.

The EU is solidary with those states, as shown by the mobilisation of €962 million as part of the Team Europe package for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and €3 billion in additional macro-financial assistance, said Grlic Radman.

He said he was especially pleased that this meeting took place during the Croatian presidency after the Zagreb Summit with Western Balkan countries in May.

The meeting was held ahead of a June 18 video conference of the 27 leaders of EU member states and the six leaders of the Eastern Partnership states Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

"I supported the efforts the six Eastern Partnership states are investing in reforms," said Grlic Radman. "I encouraged them to continue on that path because their achievements also contribute to our security, stability, and prosperity."

"In particular, I pointed to the need to deepen economic cooperation, invest in youth and connecting and environmental protection projects, strengthen the ability to respond to crises such as the current pandemic," he said.

He underlined that Croatia was commended for its Council of the EU presidency, which ends on June 30, to be taken over by Germany.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Foreign Minister Says Virtual Eastern Partnership Summit To Be Held In June

ZAGREB, May 22, 2020 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Friday that a virtual EU summit with the six Eastern Partnership countries would be held in June.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Minister Grlic Radman met at the National and University Library in Zagreb with ambassadors from EU member countries in Croatia.

They discussed Croatia's EU presidency in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery.

Grlic Radman said that a summit would be held on the Eastern Partnership as part of Croatia's EU presidency in the second half of June, slightly more than a month after the EU-Western Balkans summit organised by Zagreb, which the minister said had "put the topic of EU enlargement back on the agenda."

"The summit on the Eastern Partnership will be held in the same way the (EU-Western Balkans) summit was held, in its full format," said Grlic Radman.

The Eastern Partnership countries are Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova.

The EU has prepared for those countries a €960 million euro relief package to help them fight COVID-19 and alleviate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic.

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