Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Increasing Number of Italian Companies Want to Move Production to Croatia

August the 11th, 2021 - An increasing number of Italy-headquartered companies want to start moving the production part of their business to the Republic of Croatia. Could this bring even closer economic ties between Italian companies and those from here in Croatia? It's likely.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, for the third month in a row now, Italy has been very firmly in the position of the leading Croatian export market. Last year, during the country's lockdown in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic which was declared by Italy significantly earlier than other European countries, exports to that country dropped drastically, and the traditional status of the main destination for Croatian products was taken over by Germany.

In the first five months of 2021, Croatian exports have been growing well on both markets, but they're still stronger in Italy, and, as data from the Central Bureau of Statistics shows, the recovery so far brings with it a far better export result than back during the same period in 2019.

In the first five months of this year, a total of 899 million euros worth of goods were placed in neighbouring Italy, which is seven million euros more than in pre-pandemic 2019, and compared to the first five months of 2020, it is a jump of as much as 235 million euros.

In addition to exports, imports from Italy are also growing significantly, although they're still behind the values ​​achieved in the first five months of 2019. It amounts to 1.32 billion euros and is lower by about 300 million euros.

"Our predictions were that we'd have the beginning of a recovery in bilateral relations, but the figures recorded and the dynamics in the first part of the year exceeded all of our expectations," said Andrea Perkov, Secretary General of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce. The real expansion in the already close economic relations of these two neighbouring countries, she claims, is very much expected.

"Last year's crisis gave rise to a change in business orientation among Italian companies, which has been present for a long time to some degree or another, and that is the transfer of business and production to other markets, even distant ones. With the coronavirus pandemic taking precedent, this tendency was interrupted, and in the first part of the year we recorded a huge increase in interest from Italian companies in relocating their production and expanding their business right here in Croatia,'' said Perkov.

Those more distant destinations in which Italian companies operated were mainly China and North African countries, when it comes to countries outside the EU, Serbia, and within the EU, Bulgaria and Romania were in the lead. Now, between 60 and 70 Italian companies have already expressed interest in investing in Croatia, with most inquiries coming for infrastructure and food production.

The locations that are being looked into are mostly in Istria, which doesn't come as a surprise as many prefer bilingualism as well as good infrastructure and traffic connections, but Perkov points out that he is also interested in the Split-Dalmatia and Medjimurje counties.

With the representatives of Italian companies at the level of the Italian system that connects the chambers, (the Italian Trade Institute and the Embassy in Croatia), numerous meetings and communication about possible investments have been being organised, and Perkov sees special merit in establishing stronger bilateral relations in the commitment of Italian Ambassador to Croatia Pierfrancesco Sacco who took office last year.

The Croatian NPOO, the text of which has already been translated into Italian, is expected to give additional impetus to a stronger connection between Italian companies and Croatia. As far as investment is concerned, the cost is not a problem for Italian companies, but, according to the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, concerns about Croatia's infamous slow administration and legal uncertainty prevail.

As the pandemic-induced shock has "reset" everything on a global scale, Italians are now much more inclined to do business in their closer neighbourhood, with one sector recording intensive cooperation and networking, as well as mutual investment. IT, a blossoming sector in Croatia, will dictate more or less the entire pace.

As far as exports are concerned, it isn't yet possible to determine from official statistics whether any of the products particularly bounced off the market during the first part of this year and pushed the overall result, but in recent years the structure of Croatian exports has been dominated by wood, metal and textile and the food industry.

With the implementation of the projects currently being prepared, Andrea Perkov is convinced that further strong growth in exports and total trade between Croatia and Italy can be expected with a decent dose of healthy optimism.

In addition to Italy and Italian companies, an increase in exports is being steadily recorded in most major markets, and the only significant drop in statistics is shown in relations with Luxembourg, where last year, the value of exports exceeded 122 million euros in five months, and this year it stands at a mere 5 million euros.

That being said, exports to Luxembourg tend to fluctuate strongly and vary due to dependence on shipbuilding exports anyway, which are lacking this year.

It can also be said that the case of Italy reflects the overall result of Croatian exports, which achieved a record result of a total of 7.11 billion euros on a five-month level, which greatly exceeds the previous highest level from pre-crisis 2019, by as much as 895 million euros in total.

The result will be even higher at the level of six months, as preliminary CBS data shows that exports in the first half reached 8.72 billion euros, which is almost 1.34 billion euros more than in the first half of the record, pre-pandemic 2019.

For more, follow our business section.

Friday, 9 July 2021

REPLACE Project Presented at JOINT SECAP Workshop in Rijeka

July 9, 2021 - The REPLACE Project was presented at the JOINT SECAP workshop in Rijeka on June 23. There is no better way to end a year and a half-long Interreg project for Croatia, which was one more ecosystem-concerned cooperation between Italy and Croatia.

When it comes to energy efficiency in Croatia, there is no doubt anybody cares about it more than the scientific community working and associating with Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP).

Not only is the EIHP building on its way to becoming the first nearly zero energy building in the whole of the country, but EIHP's expertise also plays a big role in REPLACE Project from Horizon Europe. As TCN previously covered, the project aims to make Primorje Gorski Kotar County energy-renewable territory, and the ongoing meetings about the project (in collaboration with the University of Rijeka) see slow but steady progress in those respects.

As EIHP reports on its website, June 23 saw REPLACE Project presented in the congress hall of Rijeka's Jadran Hotel as part of the final workshop of the JOINT SECAP project.

„On behalf of EIHP, Antonia Tomas Stanković presented REPLACE in the second half of the event. The goal is to support European energetic, climate, environmental, economic, and social goals by 2030 and 2050 by encouraging the gradual replacement of inefficient and outdated cooling and heating systems with new, energy-efficient systems based on renewable energy sources“, informed EIHP.

JOINT SECAP, part of Interreg Italy-Croatia strategic program (much like the CASCADE Project TCN previously wrote about) aims to improve the climate change monitoring and planning of adaptation measures tackling specific effects in the cooperation area.

„The project idea reflects the necessity to operate at a wider district level and better define strategies and actions for climate change adaptation, especially for those weather and climate changes and hydrogeological risks affecting coastal areas. The first phase is developed to build the common methodology for Joint Actions definition and implementation and to share the basic knowledge about issues concerning climate change adaptation strategies and energy efficiency measures. The second phase starts upon the analysis uploaded in the web platform, acting as a useful tool for the development of scenarios for the Joint Actions to be implemented in the Joint SECAP plans, those last constituting the main project deliverable“, explained JOINT SECAP on its website. The workshop in Rijeka was the conclusion of the project as JOINT SECAP ended on June 30 after it began on January 1, 2012, with a budget of € 2,094,857.

The workshop in Rijeka, writes the EIHP website, was organized by Primorje Gorski Kotar County Office for Regional Development Infrastructure and Project Management and by Kvarner Regional Energetic Agency. Representatives of local authorities of Primorsko-Goranska county that were enrolled in creating an Energetic and Climate Sustainable Development Action Plan. These local authorities include towns such as Opatija and Kastav and the districts of Čavle, Matulji, and Viškovo.

„Joint SECAP analyzed energy spending for the included towns and districts, their risks and vulnerability regarding climate change, yearly emissions of CO2 in sectors of building construction industry, public lighting, and traffic. Concrete measures with the goal of adjusting to the effects of climate change and CO2 emissions down to at least 55% by 2030 were suggested“, stated EIHP.

With measures identified, the race with time begins as these measures should be in place as fast as possible to tackle one of the biggest challenges humanity is facing, and Croatia isn't able to be isolated from the threat.

Learn more about Rijeka on our TC page.

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

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Construction of Regional Training Centre for Firefighters Inaugurated

ZAGREB, 30 June 2021 - Construction works on a regional training center for fire-fighters were inaugurated in Brčići in the Vučevica area on Wednesday as part of the Firespill project, which is part of the Italian-Croatian cross-border cooperation program.

The HRK 120 million project is financed with EU funds, including 65 million envisaged for projects in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

Inaugurating the works, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the government gave the land on which the center was being built, thereby contributing to the development of that area.

He said Brčići was a good location as it was close to the Operational Fire Command in Divulje, the main fire command in the country, and that he was "confident it is another good example of utilizing European Union funds."

Plenković said the new training center for firefighters was an important project for Split-Dalmatia County and all of Croatia was it would raise fire-fighting to a new level.

He said his cabinet had strengthened fire-fighting and that Fire Chief Slavko Tucaković managed an annual budget of HRK 450 million.

For more news in Croatia, click here.

Friday, 4 June 2021

CASCADE Project: Italy and Croatia Collaborating on Ecosystems Monitoring

June 4, 2021 - With the scientific community in Croatia busy and involved in international projects, meet the CASCADE Project. Learn how Italian and Croatian scientists are working together in monitoring ecosystems.

Croatian scientists in Croatia are running various projects which either don't get reported on by journalists, or if they are reported on, they sadly don't get too much attention from the public.

One such project is the Projekt CASCADE which started back on January first, 2020, and will continue until the very end of 2022.
As reported on the website of The Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOR), the 5,817,547 euros, 85 % of that capital (4,944,914.95 euros) is secured by The European Regional Development Fund (ERFD).

CASCADE is short for „CoaStal and marine waters integrated monitoring systems for ecosystems protection and management“, and is part of the Interreg Italy-Croatia 2014-2020 strategic program. Assess the quality of coastal marine ecosystems in order to restore the habitats of endangered species and provide support for integrated management is the main goal set by 2022.

For the next three years, the project team from the Laboratory for Plankton and Shell Toxicity and the Laboratory for Chemical Oceanography and Sedimentology will work on monitoring, gathering knowledge about habitat and ecosystem biodiversity in the field of project cooperation (Adriatic Sea). It will participate in the establishment of new, as well as the improvement, of existing coastal systems for monitoring and management of coastal and open water ecosystems. Joint actions will assess and protect coastal and marine biodiversity and establish restoration actions. The pilot area of ​​the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOR) within the EU CASCADE project is the mouth of the Neretva River“, explains the IOR website.

There are eleven pilot areas in Croatia and Italy where the researches will be conducted: lagoon Grado and Marano and Gulf of Trieste, coastal belt of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, marine protected area Torre Guaceto (natural reef), Punta Della Contessa, Melendugno in the Italian region of Puglia, the mouth of the Neretva river, the coastal zone of the Italian region of Veneto, mouth of the river Miljašić Jaruga, coastal belt of the Italian region of Molise, the northeastern part of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, mouth of the river Cetina, Torre del Cerrano and Pineto Marine Park on the Abruzzo coast, and finally, the coastal zone of the Italian Marche region.

„At the mouth of the Neretva River (P4 pilot area), the IOR team members will sample sediment, shells, and seawater, depending on the type of matrix, they will analyze various parameters such as salinity, oxygen concentrations, heavy metals, and nutrients, with the aim of establishing an optimal system of observation of coastal and open waters“, added IOR.

The head of the projects within the IOR side is Dr. Sc. Ivana Ujević and various Italian and Croatian regions/counties, regional development agencies, scientific institutes, and two ministries from Italy and Croatia are included as associated partners.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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

Monday, 17 May 2021

Italian Company Besana Strengthening Position in Croatia

May the 17th, 2021 - The Italian company Besana, which is otherwise one of the strongest European companies in the production and processing of nuts and dried fruit, is working to further strengthen its position here in Croatia.

As Novac/Nikola Patkovic writes, the Italian company Besana is the third strongest European enterprise engaged in the production and processing of nuts and dried fruits. This year marks the 100th anniversary of its work and existence, and it has decided to further strengthen its position in the production of nuts in Croatia, where they have been present for 25 years, but also to help interested small and medium Croatian producers in the development of their own family farms.

The Italian company Besana currently has 50 subcontractors located in Croatia, from whom it buys about 100 tonnes of hazelnuts per year, but much more is being aimed for.

Giuseppe 'Pino' Calcagni is the owner of this large Italian family company which was founded back in 1921 on volcanic soil at the foot of Mount Vesuvius by his ancestors, and its name came from his mother's side. He explained that the Italian company Besana could easily support the work of 200 subcontractors across Croatia and purchase all of the crops from their orchards. In addition, they're ready to offer professional and advisory assistance to all those who are interested, as well as help in the procurement of planting material, machinery and equipment for tillage, as well as the maintenance of plantations.

''Hazelnuts produced in Croatia are of extra quality, because the climate here, as in practically all Mediterranean countries, is extremely suitable for planting and growing hazelnuts and other nuts, which is very well known to me, because we've been working in Croatia for 25 years now, primarily with subcontractors in the area of ​​Virovitica and Orahovica. Currently, there are 50 of them, from whom we buy 100 tonnes of hazelnuts a year, but these numbers can be quadrupled without any problems and we're ready to help everyone who is interested,'' said Calcagni, who, with the help of expert consultant from Osijek, Mladen Ardalic, bought 50 hectares of orchards in Baranja on which the Italian company Besana raised its hazelnut plantations as a kind of demonstration area for all who want to get involved in cooperation with them.

''There are 6 hectares of old plantation and 44 hectares of new plantation from which the real harvest hasn't yet started,'' Ardalic explained, while Ivo Brzica, Besana's project manager in Croatia, explained how their plantations in Baranja were initially established.

''Our main varieties, Tonda Romana and Tonda Nocchione, are planted on them. In addition, the most modern underground irrigation system has been installed there, which is quite unusual for fruit growing in this country, but the vaporisation of the water is less and it's easier to work with machines above ground. We also have our own meteorological station and specialised orchard processing machines. In addition to advice and supervision of the entire process from design to planting and purchase, we also offer potential subcontractors the opportunity to purchase machines, equipment and technology, as well as our In Vitro seedlings of quality industrial varieties, which guarantee high yield and quality,'' explained Brzica, while Calcagni emphasised the great potential of planting hazelnuts and nuts in general.

''In the European Union, we have access to 500 million consumers of our products, but in the next 20 years, India and China will become very large, probably the largest, consumers, which means that there will be high demand for hazelnuts and nuts and therefore any investment made in production is very good because the prices will rise. The market will be secured and these are very good trends and a great opportunity for Croatian producers to join the chain,'' said the owner of the Italian company Besana, who, in cooperation with a Spanish partner called Importaco founded a group called AgriBioTech based in London.

In addition, Calcagni is also at the helm of the INC Foundation, whose members are made up of 1,000 nut producers from all around the world. Otherwise, the Italian company Besana annually buys 7,000 tonnes of hazelnuts, ie 44,000 tonnes of various nuts, and together with Importaco, 220,000 tonnes. They have 18 production plants across Europe and an assortment of 700 different products of which 140 million different packages are packaged annually.

For more, follow our business section.

Friday, 30 April 2021

FM Gordan Grlić Radman: "Cooperation Between Croatia And Italy Reinforced"

ZAGREB, 30 April, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Petrinja on Friday that the cooperation between Zagreb and Rome has been reinforced bilaterally and trilaterally, thanking Italy for its latest aid following last year's earthquake.

At a working meeting at the "Colonel Predrag Matanović" barracks in Petrinja, the ministers talked about Southeast Europe and agreed that EU enlargement to the Western Balkans is a guarantee of strengthening the stability of the neighbourhood and Europe as a whole, the Croatian minister said.

Both ministers visited Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent weeks, and Croatia and Italy together strive for a stable and institutionally functioning Bosnia and Herzegovina and for its Euro-Atlantic integration, Grlić Radman said.

The ministers discussed Croatia's non-paper on Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was agreed with Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus.

The document stresses the importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Euro-Atlantic path and says that it must remain at the centre of EU's attention. It underscores that the country's membership in the EU is a priority and an aspiration, and in order to achieve it, a comprehensive transformation of the entire society is needed.

The topic will also be discussed during the debate on the Western Balkans on 10 May at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Grlić Radman announced.

The cooperation between Croatia and Italy has been strengthened in a trilateral format with Slovenia, the Croatian minister said, recalling last week's meeting of the two ministers with their Slovenian counterpart Anže Logar. Last week, the three ministers signed a joint statement on the protection of the northern Adriatic in the Slovenian mountain resort of Brdo Pri Kranju.

The next meeting should take place in Croatia in June, Grlić Radman said.

The Coordinating Committee of Ministers met in late November 2020 and guidelines for the development of bilateral relations were agreed then. In several months, it will be possible to check how much those forms of cooperation have improved, Italian minister Di Maio said.

Croatia expects Italian tourists in summer

Grlić Radman said that Croatia was committed to the safety and health of visitors and tourism workers, especially through the Safe Stay in Croatia project, so he is convinced of the return of Italian tourists.

"We believe that this year we will accommodate many Italian friends again," Grlić Radman said.

He thanked Italy one more time for its selfless help, which he sees as another indicator of closeness and cooperation.

Italy on Friday donated to Croatia containerised housing units for the accommodation of 50 families who had lost their homes in the earthquake that hit Banija at the end of last year.

Italy was among the first countries to help Croatia by sending 100 military tents immediately after the 29 December earthquake which affected Petrinja, Sisak and their environs the most, and shortly thereafter Italy sent members of the Blue Helmets of Culture to help salvage the artistic heritage affected by the earthquake.

Italy itself faced devastating earthquakes in the recent past, so it decided to help immediately, Di Maio said.

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


Monday, 29 March 2021

Ston Palace to Become Mediterranean Heritage Multimedia Centre

March the 29th, 2021 - One Ston palace, more precisely the Rector's Palace (Knezev Dvor) is set to become a multimedia centre for rich Mediterranean heritage, showcasing what this part of Europe has to offer historically and culturally. Ston is well known for boasting the European version of the Great Wall of China, and its mariculture with the famous Ston oysters also places it firmly on the map.

As Morski writes, this particular Ston palace is one step closer to becoming the home of the establishment of a modern multimedia interpretation centre for Mediterranean heritage as part of the wider TAKE IT SLOW project.

To be more specific, Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the company ARD d.o.o. Metkovic signed a contract for the preparation of a conservation study for the establishment of an interpretation centre in Ston, which will, as stated, be situated within the beautiful Rector's Palace.

The conservation study will include cultural and historical processing of this Ston palace, where a multidisciplinary multimedia space will be established in which cultural heritage, typical products from the area, traditional land cultivation and production customs and so on will be presented through various arts, designs, presentations and events which will delve more deeply into life there and the destination of Ston itself.

The aim of the interpretation centre is to acquaint foreign guests with the rich natural and cultural heritage of this area, and will also be a starting point for further exploration of Peljesac, the nearby southern Dalmatian islands and other parts of Croatia's southernmost county which borders Montenegro.

More than 3.5 million kuna has been provided for the renovation of the stunning Rector's Palace in Ston, and as part of the project, an access road to the medieval Blaca Hermitage complex on the island of Brac in central Dalmatia, a virtual museum and creative centre in Momjan and an open-air museum near Sibenik will all be arranged.

“Smart and Slow Tourism Supporting Adriatic Heritage for Tomorrow” (TAKE IT SLOW) is a strategic bilateral project of the Republic of Croatia and neighbouring Italy designed to manage and promote the Adriatic region as a green, smart, sustainable, accessible cross-border tourist destination.

The project holder is Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and it is being implemented by the Regional Agency DUNEA. The project is worth more than 28 million kuna, of which 85 percent is from the European Regional Development Fund, and 6.5 million kuna is available for Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

For current coronavirus information specific to Croatia, including border and travel rules, as well as testing centres across the country, bookmark this page.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Italians on Cafe and Restaurant Ban in Croatia: 'You Will Die Without Tourism'

February 8, 2021 – "The rules are awful," "You will die without tourism," commented Italians on the cafe and restaurant ban in Croatia.

The Italians, our loyal guests who are getting out of the lockdown, were asked by the journalists of Glas Istre what they think about the ban on the work of cafes and restaurants in Croatia.

The Italian government has determined the rhythm of vaccination by region. The region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, visited by Glas Istre journalists a few days ago when cafes and restaurants reopened, is due in mid-February. The plan is to vaccinate the population older than 80 years first, then the younger age group, but still older than 55.

Italians' opinions regarding vaccination are divided. The older population believes in the effectiveness of the vaccine. About two million Italians have been vaccinated so far.

"If the vaccines are free, then I will get vaccinated, and if not, I will carefully think about it," one middle-aged Italian told them.

"No, I'm not going to get vaccinated. I just don't trust the vaccine," one young Italian told them.

"When it's our turn, we'll get vaccinated," one married couple told them.

With masks required, reporters enjoyed a walk around town. If you do not have a mask, passers-by will immediately warn you that it is mandatory to wear. By doing so, they automatically realize that you are a foreigner unfamiliar with their law, but also with draconian punishments.

Thus, in a walk through the city, they witnessed a lively and loud discussion of two gentlemen, typical of Italians. After concluding their political discussion, they introduced themselves to them, and the conversation began.

"Your Croatian rules are awful now. It's unbelievable that without a test I can't go to Umag, that beautiful city whose bars and restaurants overlook the sea, and those same bars and restaurants are now closed. You will die without tourism, my people. I even called a Croatian consul, I protested, but he is also powerless. We can buy tests here for 25 euros in a pharmacy. Your government is really not normal, because even when I get tested, what should I do in Umag when everything is closed," said retiree Paolo.

The Italian government intends to vaccinate the entire nation by June, citizens claim. Then we guess there will be a final normalization, both for them and us.

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.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Croatia and Italy to Declare Exclusive Economic Zone in January

ZAGREB, Dec 14, 2020 - Croatia's government on Monday adopted the decision on declaring an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which will happen formally in January after a trilateral ministerial meeting with Slovenia and Italy.

The government adopted a draft proposal of the decision on the declaration of an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea, and the parliament would put it to the vote at an extraordinary sitting on Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said that "an understanding has been reached" in discussion with his Slovenian and Italian counterparts that Croatia and Italy would declare an EEZ after a trilateral meeting in January 2021.

Grlic Radman added that they would also discuss strengthening cooperation in the Adriatic area, with the aim of its environmental protection and blue economy management.

Earlier, Croatia's Foreign Minister had announced the declaration of the EEZ to the Council of Ministers of the European Union and neighbouring countries, and spoke about it at the Mediterranean Dialogue videoconference.

He underscored that the EEZ was being declared in line with the Maritime Code, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and EU legislation, and that the zone would remain a maritime area where all countries would enjoy freedom and rights guaranteed by international law, without prejudice to the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Croatia.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic said that the EEZ would further improve an already "deep, lately even excellent cooperation with Italy" on the issues of fishing fleets and resource management.

Prime Minister Plenkovic earlier said that the EEZ would, compared with the existing Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (ZERP) declared in 2003, bring two new rights - the construction of artificial islands and the use of the power of the sea, wind and currents.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs last week said that the declaration of the EEZ was the result of implement the common fisheries policy of Croatia and Italy, as well as of cooperation in the field of environmental protection.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Istria Urges Croatian Government to Respond to Italy's Decision on COVID Testing

ZAGREB, Aug 14, 2020 - Istria County and Istrian cities called on the Croatian government on Friday to immediately send a request to the Italian government to carry out the obligation to test all arrivals from Croatia selectively, in accordance with the real epidemiological situation in different parts of Croatia.

They called for the same request to also be sent to the Slovenian government, which had announced that entire Croatia could be put on the red list of epidemiologically unsafe countries.

"We are sure that you yourself understand that such a unilateral move by Italy, as well as announcements from Slovenia, are seriously jeopardising the tourist season, especially at a time when tourist arrivals are most numerous and a large proportion of guests are from Italy and Slovenia themselves," representatives of Istria county and cities said.

They underscored that Istria was keeping the health situation under control, just as it had been in the previous months, and that it had great results in tourism and the biggest portion of Croatia's overall tourism turnover, as a result of great effort and responsibility of all Istrians.

"Our county is safe health-wise and successful in tourism - we call on you to enable it to stay that way," Istrian officials said, noting that the state budget, which had already suffered a massive blow because of the crisis caused by the coronavirus, also depends on the results of the tourist season.

They, therefore, request that at the moment when Dalmatia's epidemiological situation has significantly worse, it should be made possible for Istria, as a safe destination, to save Croatia's this year's tourism results.

A prompt reaction by the government, the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry and the Tourism Ministry to Italy's decision and Slovenia's announcement has also been requested by the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS).

"Italy's decisions has far-reaching negative consequences for the Croatian economy and requires maximum engagement of all relevant institutions. Croatia must use all available diplomatic channels, extremely well-developed bilateral relations with Italy and diplomatic channels at the EU level to revise Italy's decision," IDS said.

Page 2 of 3