Monday, 7 February 2022

COVID Certificates to Stay, Interior Minister Says

7 February 2022 - COVID certificates will not be abolished for the time being, the head of the COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said on Monday, refuting chief epidemiologist Krunoslav Capak's announcement that they might be partially abolished.

"From the start, we introduced a restricted COVID certificate mandate in Croatia and are following everything that is going on. However, the measure will stay for the time being, including the use of COVID certificates as it is," Božinović told the press.

Capak said earlier today that a partial abolishment of COVID certificates was being considered because they are losing in importance since the appearance of the Omicron variant and the fact that this year Croatia has registered 40,000 reinfections.

Božinović said the crisis management team would continue to follow developments in Croatia, the world and Europe, recalling that in some European countries it is not possible to enter a bar, a restaurant or a hotel without a COVID certificate, and that Germany has announced easing restrictions just before Easter.

"At the moment, we are still not in that situation," he said, adding that incidence in Croatia is still high.

"Let's be realistic, those advocating a major abolishment (of restrictions) have higher vaccination rates," he said, but would not specify the number of new daily cases which would be acceptable to abolish the certificates.

Božinović said 125,000 infections had been detected since the certificates were mandated in public services and that this had slowed down the spread of the virus and ensured the functioning of all public services.

Letter to border police on how to treat migrants

The minister also commented on a letter to border police on how to treat migrants, saying that it consisted of instructions which took into account vulnerable groups and respect for the law and that they were police station-level guidelines.

He added that the instructions stated that "consideration should be given with regard to video recordings and other activities that are not allowed in border areas under the law," adding that there was nothing contentious about that.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Croatia's Interior Ministry Procures Earthquake Simulator

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - The Croatian ministry of the interior has commissioned an earthquake simulator that can simulate the ground motion of earthquakes up to intensity 9 on the Mercalli scale, the Večernji List daily reported on Monday.

The purpose of that container, worth HRK 3.3 million (€440,000) without Value Added Tax, is to enable participants in exercises that take place in such containers to experience various sorts of tremors.

The interior of the container is furnished with movable objects which can be found in an ordinary living room, and sound effects typical for earthquakes will also be simulated during exercises.

The objects in the container are non-breakable so that participants in earthquake simulation exercises cannot be injured.

The procurement of the earthquake simulation room is part of the ministry's project aimed at efforts to reduce the risks of natural disasters, the daily newspaper reported.

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

Friday, 5 November 2021

COVID Certificates Only for Those Vaccinated and/or Recovered Announced

November 5, 2021 - Among the new measures announced due to the rise in positive cases in the country, Davor Božinović announced that COVID certificates will be introduced as of January 4, and if the situation does not improve, they will only be valid for those who have recovered and/or vaccinated.

The National Civil Protection Headquarters announced when a new record of 6,932 new cases was broken in Croatia, that the use of covid certificates will be expanded from November 15, which will be mandatory for users and employees of public and state services, and gatherings will be further restricted from tomorrow, reports Index.hr.

From tomorrow new measures for gatherings

"To prevent the spread of the infection, it is necessary to act in three directions: to achieve as much vaccination as possible, to limit gatherings and to achieve as much security as possible when conducting business that will not be limited," said National Staff Chief Davor Bozinovic at a press conference.

He announced that new epidemiological measures would be introduced as a result, gatherings would be restricted from tomorrow, and the use of covid certificates would be expanded from 15 November.

Thus, a certificate of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test from mid-November will be mandatory for all employees of state and public services, as well as for citizens who will use their services and come to their premises. 

If the numbers continue to grow, from November 15, confirmations for cafes, shopping centers ...

The Headquarters announced on Thursday that covid certificates will be used even more widely from mid-November if the number of newly infected continues to grow, and then they will be introduced in catering facilities, such as cafes, restaurants, gyms, recreational and fitness centers indoors. 

Bozinovic announced that testing will be possible only in registered institutions and that, for a start, the cost of testing will be borne by the employer at the request of employees. 

As of January 4, certificates only for those vaccinated and those who have survived COVID-19

He pointed out that, if the situation does not improve, they will introduce covid-certificates from January 4, which will be available only to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, and those who have been tested will no longer receive them.

"That gap has been left because it is enough time for all those who have not been vaccinated to get vaccinated by the beginning of next year," Bozinovic said. 

Details of new measures

With a new decision coming into force tomorrow, Saturday, November 6, the headquarters further restricted gatherings indoors and outdoors.

From tomorrow, all public gatherings indoors with more than 50 people are prohibited, except for those attended by people who have a covid-certificate, but from now on it will be mandatory to wear masks and maintain distance. 

Events above 100 participants can only be organized at open-air public gatherings if all participants have an EU digital covid-certificate. Exceptionally, events over 100 people will be able to be held outdoors only with the approval of the CNIPH, which will develop an epidemiological framework. 

All gatherings are limited to 24 hours, with the exception of cinema screenings that begin at 11 pm and wedding ceremonies where everyone has a covid confirmation. The weddings must end no later than 2 o'clock after midnight, and they will consider additional time limits, announced Božinović. 

Congresses and conferences will be able to be held provided everyone has a Covid certificate, wears a mask, and keeps a distance.

Sports competitions will be able to be held in the presence of spectators indoors only if everyone has a Covid certificate and is required to use face masks. Sports participants will also have to have certificates, but they will not have to wear masks, Bozinovic said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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

Monday, 11 October 2021

Božinović Says Waiting for Results of Investigation Into Violence Against Migrants

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Monday said that he did not have any new information related to videos of police violence against migrants and that it is necessary to wait for the results of the investigation.

"We'll wait and see what the results of the investigation show. Everything that will happen as part of the relevant procedures will be in line with what the police chief said on Friday," Božinović told reporters.

Protecting the borders in line with the law

Asked about responsibility in the chain of command, Božinović underscored that the orders are to protect the state borders in line with the law.

"There cannot be any order that is not in line with the law. As soon as I receive the report from the police directorate, I will forward it to the prime minister, even though we have already discussed all this," said Božinović.

He said that police officers, particularly those assigned to border control, doing one of the most difficult jobs.

He added that there were cases when the police themselves identified cases of police officers overstepping their powers or unlawful conduct.

He said that disciplinary procedures had been underway from before against eight police officers and that 22 cases had been documented and submitted to the State Attorney's Office (DORH).

"When someone individually breaches or oversteps their authority anywhere, there are services in the police directorate and internal controls to conduct investigations and decide on the penalties," he said.

Commenting on an anonymous letter by a police officer who claimed two years ago that an order existed for violent pushbacks, Božinović reiterated that anything that was reported was always investigated. DORH rejected 13 of the 22 cases for lack of evidence, he said.

The anonymous police officer's letter refers to a specific case, with a specific location and date, which previously was not the case, said Božinović and added that a prompt reaction followed the anonymous letter and that the matter was still being investigated.

Božinović also commented on a recent drug incident in the Croatian Army, underscoring that police offices were exceptionally active regarding the fight against drug smuggling.

"The cocaine market is expanding into the general population, which is concerning. We will meet with the anti-drug commission in the next few days. In 2020, 60 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated whereas in the first eight months of this year more than 667 kilograms were seized," he said.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Interior Minister Davor Božinović Praises Police For Their Irreplaceable Role in Many Segments

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - Addressing the central ceremony of Croatian Police Day, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Wednesday that the police were "engaged in all areas of national security" and that their role in many other segments was irreplaceable.

During the ceremony held in Zagreb, when the police observed their day on 29 September, the feast of their patron saint, St. Michael, Minister Božinović said that until the end of the term of the current government, all the working processes of the law enforcement authorities would be digitalised.

Police Director Nikola Milina said that police work had focused on detecting tax frauds and evasion, money laundering, and crimes affecting the state budget.

In the first eight months of 2021, the law enforcement authorities had detected 85% more corruption crimes, the number of reports concerning suspected white collar crimes increased by 20%, and the number of detected conspiracies to perpetrate crimes went up by 43%.

All that is not by chance, it is a result of well thought-out strategic planning and our commitment to conducting investigations into economic crimes and corruption, Milina said at the central ceremony.

As for organised crime, so far this year Croatian police officers have arrested 661 people smugglers.

When it comes to the protection of the Croatian and the EU border, it has been established that we have met all the technical and legal requirements which has made our border the best protected external border, he added.

Milina said that significant results had been achieved in raising cyber security, and that the police were ready to respond to all the challenges and threats stemming from the use of new technologies.

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

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Zarko Katic Discusses New Croatian ID Cards, Driving License Integration

August the 5th, 2021 - There are some big changes coming to Croatian national ID cards, with new biometric tech and the ability to do much more using just them and not other documents on the horizon. Croatian driving licenses will also eventually be integrated into these new ID cards according to State Secretary Zarko Katic, making life even easier, hopefully.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) Zarko Katic spoke live about the new ID cards and just what they'll be able to offer their holders for N1 Studio.

On the first day of their announcement, over 7,200 applications for new second-generation ID cards were submitted, almost twice as many as are normally submitted to MUP for approval on a daily basis.

''There's a thirty day wait for the new ID cards, when done and paid for in an accelerated procedure, the wait is ten days, and if the application is done in an urgent procedure, then the wait is three days. In Zagreb in that final case, the cards are done and provided on the same day. In that case, personal ID cards are a bit more expensive,'' explained Zarko Katic.

As of 11:30 yesterday morning, 8,500 requests for a new ID card had been received by MUP.

Just how Croatian driving licenses will be integrated into this new card is prescribed by an EU directive, and until the directive is changed, a driver's license cannot be integrated into an identity card, Zarko Katic added.

The application process is entirely protected, and identity theft isn't possible, he pointed out and added: ''ID cards and passports are protected by the highest measures. The possibility of counterfeiting is not only not minimal, I would say it's impossible.''

Who needs to get a new ID card?

Zarko Karic reminded once again that citizens aren't obliged to change their ID card if their current one hasn't expired yet. Nor do they need to get one if their current one isn't damaged or of the holder hasn't changed their personal data.

"Only those who need a new one now should come and get one,'' he said.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Book Presented by Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute in Gospić

May 16, 2021 - Suitable for the 30th anniversary of one beloved Croatian civil protection organisation, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service book was presented by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute based in Gospic.

With many tourists and visitors (and Croats too), not being too careful when going on ''their little adventures'' up mountains such as the Dinara, Velebit, or elsewhere, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) is as busy as Batman in Gotham. What with saving people who get lost, being bitten by poisonous animals that live on the mountains, or dealing with people who have hurt themselves in any way, they truly are praised as superheroes and are often the most beloved people on Croatian TV, either in commercials or when the press, telling their heroic tales.

Apart from mountains, their training was also shown to be useful for easing the numerous issues left following the 2020 earthquakes too.

Marking the 30 year anniversary of HGSS's station in Gospić, the Gospić Culture And Information Centre saw the presentation of the book ''The Day Replaced the Night, The Bura Wind Cleared Our View“ (Dan Je Zamijenio Noć, Bura Nam Očistila Pogled), last Friday. As reported by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute website, the authors of this pop-science monograph are dr. Ivan Brlic, dr. Nikola Simunic and Dr. Anita Busljeta Tonkovic.

''The Gospic HGSS station, even though with a relatively small member count, operates on the biggest and toughest rescue surfaces in all of the Republic of Croatia. This monograph, through geographical, historical and sociological context, aims to explain how important, but also how difficult the mountain rescuer's job is. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service book, covering over 150 pages in an honest and interesting way, shows why HGSS is one of the cornerstone operative forces of civil protection and that, in its professional, altruistic, and humane approach, contributes to the overall civil rescue system with the goal of saving human lives,'' they stated from the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Apart from the authors of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service book themselves, the event saw HGSS Croatia's main man, Josip Granic, the director of the HGSS Gospic station, Josip Bozicevic, Deputy Interior Minister Damir Trust, as well as the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute Headmaster, Dr. Zeljko Holjevac sit down and speak. All of them agreed that this book is an important statement of gratefulness to HGSS members for all of the hard work they do.

The book is a product of the Ivo Pilar Institute's successful collaboration with the institutions in Gospic, and the wish for the further and deeper continuation of that cooperation was expressed too. In case of need, HGSS can be reached by calling 112. But, to prevent becoming yet another damsel (or a bachelor) in distress, it's not a bad idea to check their safety guidelines for enjoying the outdoors in Croatia.

Not to far from Gospic is the North Velebit National Park with its glorious mountains, about which you can learn more on our TC page.

For more about the Ivo Pilar Social research Institute in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Interior Minister Davor Božinović: Clear Link Between Croatia's Schengen Membership And EU Security

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - The Strategy for the Schengen Area for the first time clearly articulates the link between Croatia's membership of the Schengen Area and the EU's security, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

“The debate today on the Strategy for the Schengen Area is especially significant for us because for the first time it has identified a clear link between Croatia's membership of the Schengen Area and security for the EU as a whole," Božinović said ahead of a meeting of the EU's Home Affairs Council.

The interior ministers of EU member states met in Luxembourg on Tuesday for an initial discussion on the Schengen strategy that was presented by the European Commission last week. The agenda also includes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fight against organised crime, the internal security outlook in terms of artificial intelligence, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and exchanging opinions on the current status in the discussion on the new migration and asylum pact.

Last week the Commission presented the strategy towards a "stronger and more resilient" Schengen Area, which includes enlargement to EU member states that are still not part of the area, and called for Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted into the Schengen Area as they had met the technical criteria for the application of the Schengen acquis. 

Božinović said that it was becoming more and more clear that Europe's security was not the sum of security capacities of member states but that it was cooperation, interoperability and solidarity.

"These are the principles that Croatia has insisted upon in European forums for years," said Božinović.

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

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Interior Minister Davor Božinović : Croatia's Schengen membership in interest of EU

ZAGREB, 2 June, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Wednesday that Croatia's entry to the passport-free Schengen Area was in the national interest as well as in the interest of the European Union.

Earlier on Wednesday the European Commission called for the enlargement of the Schengen area to include Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, which have met all technical criteria for membership.

"Schengen's future must be marked by the expansion to those EU Member States that are not yet part of the Schengen area," the EC said while presenting the strategy for making the Schengen area stronger and more resilient.

Božinović recalled that Croatia had met 281 requirements in eight different segments concerning the membership criteria.

The minister is confident that Croatia will be admitted to the Schengen area in the next 12 months.

He said that he was glad to see that in Europe awareness was being raised about the importance of accession of Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.

40,000 EU Digital COVID certificates issued in Croatia since first day of issuance

Since yesterday, when the issuance of EU Digital COVID certificates started in Croatia, as many as 40,000 such travel passes have been issued.

Božinović said that Croatia was among the first EU countries to make this system operational.

The minister, who visited the Bregana border crossing to get acquainted with the functioning of the system of checking those certificates, said that it took only 10 seconds to check those certificates.

One million kuna has been invested in this project, which included IT solutions, the necessary equipment of border crossings to be able to read the codes from the certificates, and other equipment for the Croatian Health Insurance Agency (HZZO), he said.

Croatia tapped EU funds for this purpose, Božinović said at Bregana.

ENTER Croatia application available to people travelling to Croatia

The minister said that people traveling to Croatia can fill in the ENTER Croatia application which will also facilitate passage across the border.

New, relaxed rules for arrivals in Croatia

As of today, some relaxed rules go into force for arrivals in Croatia, including a negative PCR test for coronavirus not older than 72 hours, while travellers who have received at least one vaccine dose at least 22 days before their arrival do not need to self-isolate.

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

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Remaining Mine-Infested Areas to be Cleared of Mines By Mid-2026

ZAGREB, 25 May, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Tuesday that until the spring of 2026 the remaining 250 square kilometres of land believed to be infested with landmines left over from the 1991-1995 Homeland War would be cleared of those explosive devices.

Božinović commented on the plan for a mine-free Croatia at a ceremony in the town of Josipdol, where he presented a HRK 241 million project, Karlovac KARST, for the removal of mines from forests in the areas of Karlovac and Josipdol.

The implementation of the project will create prospects for job creation in the region, he added.

Karlovac County Prefect Martina Furdek Hajdin said that HRK 188 million had been absorbed from the European Union for the Karlovac KARST project.

In the next few years, 17.1 square metres of forest land in Tounj, Josipdol, Plaški, Saborsko and Rakovica will be cleared of landmines, she added.

The county prefect added that Karlovac County had already tapped HRK 29 million from the EU funds to remove landmines from 3.8 square-metre-large farmland.

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

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