Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Croatian and Kosovo Agriculture Ministers Meet in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 9 Feb 2022 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković met with Kosovo's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Faton Peci, in Zagreb on Wednesday to discuss ways of intensifying cooperation in agriculture.

The meeting took place as part of a three-day visit by a Kosovo delegation, and the ministers agreed to update the 2008 memorandum of understanding in the coming period.

Kosovo is actively preparing to obtain the status of an official candidate for European Union membership and would appreciate a further exchange of knowledge and experience with Croatian experts in agriculture and forestry, the Croatian ministry said in a statement, adding that there is a possibility for joint projects through the TAIEX technical assistance programme or through twinning programmes.

Peci invited Vučković for an official visit to Kosovo.

Kosovo is interested in Croatian companies investing in its agricultural and food sector, and in this context, the possibility of organising a meeting between business people during the Croatian minister's visit to Kosovo was mentioned.

Peci also showed an interest in Croatian expertise in the use of biomass and the construction of power plants, as well as in heating and electric power production.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Croatian PM Calls on Kosovo, Serbia to Hold Dialogue, Normalise Relations

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Kosovo and Serbia should find a way to normalize relations and Croatia will support them in that, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Priština on Monday.

"Croatia's stand is that we support stability, that we are for de-escalating all the tensions we have seen in recent weeks, that it's first of all up to Serbia and Kosovo to find the optimal way to resume dialogue and respect either the existing agreements or reach new agreements which will make the relations better," Plenković said at a joint press conference with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

Croatia is interested in developing relations with Kosovo and normalizing the relations with Serbia as much as possible, Plenković said. "We will do our best to support normalization between Kosovo and Serbia."

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Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković with Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti. (Photo: @AndrejPlenkovic/Twitter)

Kurti invited Serbia to mutual recognition of the two countries, saying that they should talk about the disappeared.

"We want to join NATO and the EU. It's necessary to make progress in the Euro-Atlantic integration process," he added.

Plenković said Croatia supported EU enlargement and that the road to membership represented "a clear anchor and course of political, social, economic and sectoral development."

"Serbia's European perspective is equal to that of all Southeast European countries, he added.

Serbia is conducting EU accession negotiations, while Kosovo has not been recognized by five EU member states - Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain - so Serbia, Plenković said, "is several steps ahead of Kosovo."

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Photo: @AndrejPlenkovic/Twitter

He is confident the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue with the EU's mediation will bring them closer to membership and "eventually, I don't know when bringing to mutual recognition. But it's up to the states to agree on that."

A meeting was held between Plenković, Kurti, their delegations, and the two countries' business people, including representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Ericsson Nikola Tesla and KONČAR - Electrical Industry.

Before the pandemic, Croatia-Kosovo trade was €100 million annually. Croatia is Kosovo's seventh biggest foreign trade partner.

Plenković said the relations between the two countries were "friendly, full of understanding and the wish to intensify them."

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Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic with President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani. (Photo: @AndrejPlenkovic/Twitter)

He also met with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, who presented him with the Saint Theresa presidential medal.

The medal was also given to Josip Samardžić, director of the general hospital in Slavonski Brod which treated the passengers from a Kosovo bus that crashed near the Croatian city in July. Ten people were killed in the accident.

Plenković was also received by Kosovo Parliament Speaker Glauk Konjufca.

Later today he will visit the Croat community in Janjevo and the Croatian contingent within the NATO-led peacekeeping Kosovo Force.

This is the first official visit by a Croatian prime minister to Kosovo in ten years.

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

Monday, 26 July 2021

Kosovo PM Flies in to Visit Injured Bus Passengers in Slavonski Brod Hospital

ZAGREB, 26 July 2021 - The prime ministers of Croatia and Kosovo, Andrej Plenković and Albin Kurti respectively, have visited the passengers injured in the bus accident that occurred on the A3 motorway at Slavonski Brod early Sunday morning. 

The Kosovo-registered bus with 67 passengers and two drivers on board, en route from Frankfurt, Germany to Kosovo, ran off the motorway at Slavonski Brod, eastern Croatia, at 6.20 am on Sunday, as a result of which nine passengers and the driver who was resting were killed. Forty-four passengers were injured.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Kurti flew into Slavonski Brod on Sunday evening aboard a Croatian army helicopter deployed in Kosovo as part of the KFOR peacekeeping mission. He was welcomed by Croatian Prime Minister Plenković, who had visited the injured passengers earlier in the day.

"I am glad that the prime minister of Kosovo promptly arrived in Croatia," Plenković said. Kurti said that this was a hard day for the people of Kosovo, extending his condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured.

Kurti thanked Plenković for the assistance provided by the Croatian government as well as the doctors at the Slavonski Brod hospital where the majority of the injured passengers are being treated.

"I visited all the patients and I want to thank the hospital's directors and all staff who are looking after the patients," Kurti said. He was accompanied by Kosovo's foreign minister, interior minister, health minister, and presidential chief of staff.

The two prime ministers also visited the passengers who were not injured, who are accommodated in a boarding house in Slavonski Brod.

Plenković reiterated that Croatia would provide all the necessary assistance.

Kurti said that Monday would be a day of mourning in Kosovo.

The Croatian police and prosecutors have opened an investigation, confirming that the driver has been arrested after admitting that he fell asleep for a moment.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Calls on Remaining EU Countries to Recognise Kosovo

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Croatia encourages the remaining EU countries who have not done so to recognise Kosovo's independence, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday, which is a move that Serbia certainly will not be pleased with as it does not recognise the sovereignty of its former southern province.

Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 and it has been recognised by about one hundred countries, including all EU member states with the exception of Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Spain and Slovakia.

"Croatia encourages the remaining five EU member states to recognise Kosovo because that would contribute to stabilising the region and Kosovo itself," Grlić Radman told reporters.

Today Grlić Radman is participating at the international GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava, convened to discuss also the situation in the western Balkans.

Croatia's foreign minister said that three things were key to the region's stability: respecting countries' territorial integrity, equal constitutional rights of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the establishment of mutual trust after the 1990s wars.

"The territorial integrity of Balkan countries needs to be preserved and respected, hence without changing borders like we heard over the past few months in some much-vaunted non-papers that were heading in that direction," said Grlić Radman.

He believes that trust can be achieved through sincere talks, by resolving the issue of the war missing, processing war crimes and providing justice for the victims.

Speaking about BiH, he said the country is trapped between two political tendencies - centralism, or rather unitarism, and separatism.

"That undermines the foundations of a stable BiH and negatively reflects on the status of the Croat people in BiH," he underscored.

He reiterated Croatia's stance that the multi-ethnic BiH needs to reforms the election law to eliminate any form of discrimination and violation of equal rights.

Grlić Radman said that Croatia is a "sincere advocate" of BiH's Euro-Atlantic pathway and that at all international forums it keeps that country in the limelight because it is in its interest to have a stable, functioning and prosperous country in its neighbourhood.

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić Says Croatia Trying To Humiliate Serbia With Participation in Kosovo Force

ZAGREB, 7 May, 2021- Serbia wants to have good and fair relations with all neighbouring countries but Croatia's actions and statements by its officials are not expressions of respect for Serbia but an attempt to humiliate it, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Friday.

In a comment on the statement by Croatia's foreign minister that Croatia would increase the number of its troops in the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) because that was important for maintaining peace in the region and on disputes triggered by Serbian Minister of the Interior Aleksandar Vulin's statements, Vučić said that Croatia could have refused to serve in KFOR but opted to do the contrary "in order to additionally humiliate Serbia."

Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry stated earlier in the day that Serbia's strong reaction to the planned deployment of a greater number of Croatian troops in Kosovo was "a hysterical speculation" intended to divert attention from the introduction of the Bunjevci dialect as an official language in the northern Serbian town of Subotica, which it considers an attempt to fragment the Croat community in Serbia.

The Serbian president today wondered "why anyone would need to participate in the KFOR mission or brag about it", alluding to Croatia's involvement in the international peace mission.

"They could have refused to take part in KFOR, but they intentionally made that decision to additionally humiliate Serbia. We get the message," Vučić told Serbian reporters during a visit to Obrenovac.

In a message to Serbs in Kosovo, he said that they "should not worry" and that he would soon talk with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, stressing Serbia's commitment to avoid conflicts and maintain peace.

"My message to all those who think that there will be new Storms, new pogroms and expulsions - I guarantee that that will not happen," Vučić said in reference to the 1995 Croatian military and police operation that liberated areas previously held by local Serbs who rebelled against the Croatian authorities.

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

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