Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman: Cancellation of Visa Regime For US is "New Recognition" of Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - The cancellation of visa requirements for Croatian nationals travelling to the United States is "a new recognition" 30 years after the recognition of Croatia, and a law on avoiding double taxation is expected to be signed now, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday.

Thirty years after the recognition of the Republic of Croatia this is "a new recognition", the minister said commenting on the announcement by the US Department of Homeland Security about Croatia joining the Visa Waiver Program.

Exactly a year has passed since the end of the fiscal year in the United States and that was the deadline for Croatia to submit a sufficient number of qualified applications, which means the visa refusal rate had to be below three percent, he recalled.

That qualified Croatia for the cancellation of visa requirements in addition to some other minor conditions, such as security in air traffic, he said.

The next step that both countries are expecting soon is signing an agreement on avoiding double taxation, which will facilitate business communication.

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

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Says Bosniak Minority Precious to Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - The Bosniak minority is "a precious value" to Croatia, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Zagreb on Tuesday at an event marking the 28th Day of Bosniaks in Croatia and wished the community to successfully preserve its identity.

In a multiethnic nation, it is good when everyone feels comfortable and respects each other, the minister said. The Bosniak minority is well-integrated, it is a "precious value" to Croatia, he said.

Following statements by previous speakers that "loyalty" was not an expression that reflected the emotional attitude of Bosniaks because "they love Croatia", he recalled their contribution to the Homeland War.

About 25,000 Bosniaks took part in the Homeland War, and 1,187 laid down their lives for Croatia.

Grlić Radman also talked about Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose territorial integrity Zagreb strongly supports.

"No one has it in their interest for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a stable and functioning state as much as the Republic of Croatia," he said.

He said that Croatia had achieved its goals of integration with NATO and the European Union and that it wanted the same path for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He also commented on the dissatisfaction with the violation of equality and constituency of Bosnian Croats.

"Reforms from 2000 onwards and changes to the election law mainly through interventions by the High Representative have enabled Bosniaks to outvote Croats, who don't have a legitimate representative in the three-member presidency. We should strive for changes in the election law that will enable equality and constituency and eliminate any forms of discrimination," he said.

He expressed hope that leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina would find a solution, and the new High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt would first and foremost talk and listen, and not impose solutions.

Grlić Radman wished the Bosniaks in Croatia to be successful in preserving their cultural Bosniak identity.

The Day of Bosniaks is observed in memory of the first meeting of the Bosniak Assembly, held on 27 and 27 September 1993, at which Muslims changed their name to Bosniaks and the name Bosnian language was advocated.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Croatian FM Gordan Grlić Radman: Key for Afghanistan to Maintain Progress Made in Past 20 Years

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Afghanistan has come a long way in the past 20 years, making progress with the support of the international community, and now it's key that these accomplishments are maintained, notably regarding the rights of women and girls, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in New York on Tuesday.

He was speaking in a ministerial meeting on Afghanistan as part of the 76th UN General Assembly. The meeting focused on maintaining the achievements of the international engagement in the country over the past 20 years, with emphasis on encouraging the prospects of women and girls and ensuring their access to education.

I believe we all agree that Afghanistan needs our constant commitment and assistance as well as support in recovery, Grlić Radman said, calling on the new government in Afghanistan to ensure respect for fundamental human rights, includes the rights of women and girls.

Croatia carried out in Afghanistan more than 70 development and humanitarian projects in education, healthcare and ensuring business opportunities for women. Most of the projects were aimed at strengthening the social status of women. The presence of Croatian women diplomats contributed to better understanding the needs of Afghan women and to bigger efficiency in project implementation, the minister said.

Together with its partners and allies, Croatia will continue to encourage Afghanistan to honour the international commitments undertaken by previous governments, which should lead to renewed international community commitment and support to the Afghan people in using the chance for a better future, he added.

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

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

FM Grlić Radman Discusses Situation in Bosnia With Čović and Zovko

ZAGREB, 8 Sept, 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, on Wednesday discussed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the leader of the HDZ BiH party, Dragan Čović, and the vice-chair of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Željana Zovko, the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting focused on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral legislation "to ensure the quality and legitimate political representation of the Croats", the steps that need to be taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path towards European Union membership and how Croatia can help it in that regard.

Čović spoke of the current political situation and ethnic relations in his country and challenges to the achievement of legitimate rights for the Croats, while Zovko presented the European Parliament's activities concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of southeast Europe.

Grlić Radman reiterated that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the support of Croatia and his ministry in political demands for the legitimate representation of the Croats "so that Bosnia and Herzegovina would be functioning, stable and prosperous and would achieve its Euroatlantic ambitions more easily."

They all agreed that amendments to the election law would contribute to the stability and functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina and increase trust between the three constituent peoples and all other citizens in the country, the statement said.

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

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Croatian FM Meets Belarusian Dissident Tsikhanouskaya in Bled

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, met with Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on Thursday.

Tsikhanouskaya was the main opposition candidate in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which was declared rigged by Western countries. The election was followed by mass protests, and President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, used force to suppress the opposition.

"We, the European Union, strongly condemned the prosecution, detention, and harassment of protesters and appealed for respect for human rights, media freedom and all the freedoms on which the EU based," Grlić Radman said.

"Today we discussed how we can make Belarus and its people who aspire to freedom more visible at the European and global level," he added.

Later on Thursday, Grlić Radman travels to Brdo pri Kranju for a two-day informal meeting of EU ministers. The meeting will focus on Afghanistan, which he described as "a challenge and the conscience of humanity, a test of the viability of the international order."

"If we don't show initiative here, if we don't show the strength of unity and ensure peace and stability, hardly will we be able to tackle new challenges," he said.

Grlić Radman said that the ministers would discuss ways of preventing a new migrant wave by using instruments available to the EU and the evacuation of the remaining Afghans who had worked for Western institutions.

"We learned a lesson in 2015, "he said, referring to the year when more than a million refugees had arrived in Europe. "We were not ready then, and the migrant wave nearly disrupted the stability and survival of the EU," Grlić Radman said, stressing that the situation now was different.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Wednesday, 25 August 2021

FM Gordan Grlić Radman: Croatia Will Fight Illegal Migration

ZAGREB, 25 Aug, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Budapest on Wednesday that Croatia would fight illegal migrations and that a difference needed to be made between Afghan nationals who had been helping EU services and Afghan refugees who were the responsibility of the international community.

"People who had been helping (us) within the European External Action Service (EEAS) and our soldiers in NATO, to whom we have a certain obligation, are one thing, and another thing are refugees who are burdening the entire international community," Galić Radman said after meeting his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto.

The two ministers talked, among other things, about the crisis in Afghanistan and migrations.

"We want to see refugees get relocated to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries where their human rights and safety will be secured," Grlić Radman said.

"Croatia will most definitely fight illegal migrations. We do not want 2015 to happen again," the Croatian Minister said.

The EEAS has called on EU members to take in EU staff from Afghanistan, namely approximately 500 locals, mostly interpreters, Logistics providers and their families. Croatia will accept 20 people. Hungary, for now, will not accept anyone.

Hungarians vacationing in Croatia

"The COVID-19 pandemic did not have a negative impact on our (bilateral) economic relations either, the proof of which is a stable trend in economic trade, and tourism has been very good this year as well, despite numerous restrictions," Grlić Radman said.

He expressed satisfaction with the fact that "Hungary, as always, has recognised Croatia as a safe vacation destination," saying that more Hungarian holiday-makers visited Croatia in the first seven months of 2021 than in the entire 2020.

The talks also focused stepping up economic and cross-border cooperation and Grlić Radman  thanked Hungary on the assistance it provided after the devastating earthquakes in Croatia in late 2020.

Later today, the Croatian minister is scheduled to take part in a conference of Hungarian ambassadors.

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

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Croatia Condemns Decision to Name Pool After Morinj Detention Camp Guard

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Wednesday condemned the decision of the Kotor City Assembly to name a public indoor swimming pool "Zoran Džimi Gopčević", after a guard from the notorious 1991 Morinj detention camp who was also one of Montenegro's best water polo players of all time.

"It is utterly unacceptable to have a public facility named after a guard of the notorious 1991 Morinj prison camp. Such a decision is not in the spirit of good neighbourly relations we are building with Montenegro and will most definitely have consequences for our future relations," the ministry said in a press release.

The ministry expressed hope the new Montenegrin authorities would "realise that such decisions are not the right path for Montenegro's European prospects."

Zoran Gopčevič was one of Montenegro's best water polo players. As a member of Yugoslavia's water polo team he won a silver medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics. However, in the 1990s he was the commander of the Morinj prison guard. 

The Morinj camp was a detention facility near Kotor, Montenegro where Croatian prisoners of war and civilians were kept by Montenegrin authorities in the Yugoslav People's Army during the Croatian War of Independence.

The public indoor pool in Kotor has so far carried the name of Nikša Bućin, antifascist fighter killed in 1994 in a battle against Chetniks.

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

 

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

FM: Croatia to Accept 20 Afghans Who Worked for EU Delegation

ZAGREB, 18 Aug 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday that 20 Afghan citizens who had worked for the EU Delegation in their country would be accepted by Croatia.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has called on the EU member-states to take in EU staff from Afghanistan, that is, about 500 local residents who worked as interpreters and logistic support providers and their family members.

Grlić Radman said that 20 would be allocated to Croatia.

"They provided support to our (NATO-led) forces and it is our duty to protect them," he said.

They were vetted and tested for employment (in EU institutions), they are highly educated. They are not irregular, undocumented migrants but persons known to our institutions, the minister added.

After the Taliban rapidly took control over the whole of Afghanistan immediately upon the withdrawal of NATO troops, many countries are now trying to pull out their diplomats and Afghans who worked for their embassies in that Asian country. 

Until Tuesday, all the 26 Croatians who had been in Afghanistan were evacuated, and the minister today thanked the Ukrainian, U.S., British and German authorities for assistance in their evacuation.

Croatia to follow EU policy on the Taliban

Grlić Radman, who attended an informal online meeting of EU foreign ministers on Tuesday, said that he had emphasized the importance of protecting human rights, primarily the rights of women and girls, as well as the safety of all EU citizens and local staff that used to work for the EU Delegation, so they would not be the targets of Taliban retaliation.

After nearly 20 years, the transformation of Afghan society has failed, he said.

He recalled that Croatia had participated in 70 bilateral projects, including the establishment of a school for midwives in Afghanistan.

That contribution should not go unnoticed, he said.

The minister told the press that Zagreb would follow the agreement of EU member-states on the topic of international recognition of the new regime in Kabul.

Tuesday's informal meeting also focused on a possible new migrant tide after the establishment of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

In order to prevent a new wave of migrants, it is important to have communication with the Taliban, with third countries and Afghanistan's neighbors that are expected to share the burden of a possible migrant wave, the minister said.

"If the Taliban show and prove that they are ready to respect the rule of law and human rights, it will definitely be an opportunity to establish cooperation," said Grlić Radman.

He added that Croatia did not want a recurrence of the situation in 2015 and 2016.

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

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

GLAS Party: Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Should Advocate Active Role of EU in Taking Care of Refugees

ZAGREB, 17 Aug, 2021 - The GLAS party on Tuesday requested that at today's extraordinary meeting of European foreign ministers, Gordan Grlić Radman of Croatia advocate a proactive role of the EU in taking care of refugees and protecting the human rights of Afghan citizens, especially women and girls.

"The images from Afghanistan must not leave us indifferent, nor can we pretend that is not our concern," GLAS said in the press release and requested that Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Grlić Radman openly advocate a proactive role of the EU in taking care of refugees.

"In its foreign policy and action within the EU, Croatia must build recognizability on the promotion and protection of human rights as well as on empathy and advocacy of human life as the highest value. Our experience of war destruction and suffering gives us not only an additional moral obligation to always be the first to advocate these values, but in such traumatic situations it can also be an important contribution to the EU policy and activities it plans to take," the opposition party said in the press release.

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

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Foreign Ministry: Eight Croats Evacuated from Afghanistan

ZAGREB, 16 Aug 2021 - A total of eight Croatian citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan and the return of other Croatians from Kabul is expected later today and over the next few days, the Croatian Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Monday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter earlier today that Ukrainian aircraft stationed in Afghanistan took citizens of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Croatia, Belarus, Afghanistan out of Kabul. He, however, did not specify the number of passengers on board.

The Croatian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the Ukrainian plane evacuated one Croat.

"The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs is using this opportunity to thank the Ukrainian authorities for enabling the return of the Croatian citizen, as well as the European Union and international partners who are helping in the repatriation of the remaining Croatian citizens from Afghanistan," read the press release.

There were approximately 30 Croatian citizens in Afghanistan, mostly employees of foreign organizations.

The Taliban declared the end of the war and took over Afghanistan's capital on Sunday after the government collapsed. Foreign countries, led by the United States, have started evacuating their citizens from Kabul.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

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