Saturday, 23 October 2021

EU Should Use Crisis as Opportunity for Change, Says Grlić Radman

ZAGREB, 23 Oct 2021 - In the time ahead the European Union needs to strengthen its unity and joint action in all areas and use the crisis as an opportunity to make changes with the aim of creating a better future, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Zagreb on Friday.  

Grlić Radman was attending the international conference "European Union in the World: The Past, the Present and the Future", organized by the Croatian Paneuropean Union on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

The event was part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is aimed at enabling citizens across Europe to contribute to shaping the common future with their ideas.

Grlić Radman said that over the past 30 years Croatia had achieved political affirmation on the international scene and was today an engaged and reliable partner in many global and regional organizations.

He recalled that this year the country marks 25 years of its membership of the Council of Europe and in 2022 the 30th anniversary of its international recognition.

Croatia was once part of a totalitarian, communist system but it won for itself freedom and parliamentary democracy and eight years ago became a member of the European Union, said the minister.

He expressed confidence that on 1 January 2023 Croatia would be ready to join the euro area. Speaking of admission to the Schengen area, he said that all technical requirements had been met and that in 2022 Croatia could hope for a positive political decision of the member countries and accession.

Recalling Croatia's presidency of the EU in 2020 in the conditions of a pandemic, which underlined the importance of unity, he said that joint action and unity should be additionally strengthened in the times ahead.

"The ability to predict crises, the readiness to respond to them as well as the EU's overall resilience and strategic autonomy are areas that deserve our special attention and long-term commitment," he said.

Speaking of climate change, which is high on the agenda of European and global policies, Grlić Radman said that it offered an opportunity to develop new technologies and that Croatia had the potential to offer something in that regard.

Croatia is particularly interested in the continuation of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans because we want a stable neighborhood, he said, calling again for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law to ensure the legitimate representation of the three constituent peoples and other citizens.

The conference was addressed via video link by European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica, who called on citizens to join in the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the biggest project of participatory democracy ever.

The event was also addressed by the president of the International Paneuropean Union, Alain Terrenoire, Croatian members of the European Parliament Željana Zovko and Karlo Ressler, and Croatian MP Davor Ivo Stier.

For more, follow our politics section.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Dubrovnik: Panel Debate with Citizens on Future of Europe

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - As part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs on Monday held, in cooperation with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, a panel debate on the EU's future global and regional role.

The panel debate was held at Dubrovnik's Lazzarettos buildings, once used as a quarantine station during the Ragusa Republic era.

The aim of the panel debate, entitled "Preparing for tomorrow: The European Union's Global and Regional Role," was to encourage discussion, particularly among young people, on the EU's geopolitical and strategic issues.

The European Commission Vice President for Democracy and Demography and the co-chair of the executive committee for the Conference on the Future of Europe, Dubravka Šuica, underscored that it was essential to talk with citizens because of new technologies and digitization were changing democracy.

"We want citizens to be involved, not just for elections but during this opportunity too, to state their ideas which will be examined on a multi-lingual digital platform which is the heart of the conference. They will participate in European and local panel debates which will be followed by a large plenary conference and its conclusions will be presented to the presidents of the European Union's three main institutions," Šuica explained. 

She added that there was a gap between politicians and citizens and that citizens needed to feel that they can create European policies.

"Citizens need to be active because our future depends on them. Young people aged between 16 and 25 in particular because they are creative and they will live that future. Naturally, older citizens can help too. This is the EU's preparation for a new generation, but with them," she said.

She mentioned that more than 3.5 million EU citizens had registered with the multi-lingual digital platform but underscored that so far citizens had not acquainted themselves sufficiently with that complex project.

Spain's State-Secretary for the EU Juan González-Barba said that he expected the most from young people in the panel debate because it mostly concerns their future.

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Friends of Croatia: Croatian Protocol Guide - Diplomatic Arrivals and Departures

June 23, 2021 - The ninth article in the series, "Friends of Croatia: Croatian Protocol Guide", brings you more details from the Protocol guide for diplomatic missions accredited to the Republic of Croatia issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to ease the arrival of the foreign diplomatic representatives to Croatia.

With diplomatic immunity already being mentioned in this series, we saw that the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) following the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, dedicated a special part to diplomatic immunity in its Protocol guide for diplomatic missions accredited to the Republic of Croatia. This guide is another confirmation of how MVEP, as it previously explained to TCN, finds diplomatic relations very important, particularly representing the interests of Croatian companies and the Croatian economy, which back in March was evident in a successful agreements FM Gordan Grlić Radman achieved for Croatian entrepreneurs on the Egyptian market.

„In a constant effort to provide, in a timely fashion, quality support to diplomatic missions, diplomats, and other members of missions, the Diplomatic Protocol is happy to present a brief guide for diplomatic missions with useful guidelines concerning ceremonies and visits, and privileges and immunities. The guide is meant for information purposes only, and we hope it will help diplomatic missions and their members enjoy successful terms in office in Croatia“, says the opening of the Protocol guide. Guide also points out how „The Diplomatic Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is the principal address for diplomatic missions accredited to Croatia“.

Apart from previously mentioned diplomatic immunity, the guide also explains the details of welcoming new diplomats as well as the procedure of escorting the diplomats on their departure from Croatia.

airplane_foc.jpg

Pixabay

Ground/air arrivals

So, when the Ambassador arrives in Croatia, the Diplomatic Protocol, Ceremonies, and Visits Department informs the competent authorities. What is interesting is that the rules in the protocol differ in practice pending how Ambassador comes to the country.

„If the Ambassador arrives by a road border crossing, then the head of the Ceremonies and Visits Department will schedule the earliest convenient date for a visit to the newly appointed Ambassador at the official residence or the Embassy of the sending state“, explains the guide.

The other option is by airplane.

„When the newly appointed Ambassador enters the state territory of the Republic of Croatia for the first time at a border crossing at the Zagreb International Airport, his/her VIP treatment will have been arranged and, during office hours, he/she will be greeted by the head or a representative of the Ceremonies and Visits Department“, says the guide.

The Embassy also sends a diplomatic note to the Diplomatic Protocol to arrange details and date regarding the presentation of credentials to the President of the Republic of Croatia and of copies of the credentials to the Head of the Diplomatic Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. This is important as it confirms the Ambassador is not just a visitor but a legitimate representer of his/her country and appointed by the authorities of the country that enjoys bilateral relations with Croatia. And proper goodbyes at the end of the Ambassador term are in order as well.

„When an Ambassador is to depart from the Republic of Croatia, his/her Embassy will send a note to the Diplomatic Protocol advising of the date and time of his/her departure. The Ceremonies and Visits Department then notifies the competent authorities of the time and place of his/her departure from the state territory of the Republic of Croatia. VIP treatment at Zagreb International Airport will be arranged“, explains the guide.

security_foc.jpg

pixabay

Friendly and safely

As foreign ministers frequently travel to other countries, embassies have a key role in making those visits.

„An Embassy in the Republic of Croatia notifies the Diplomatic Protocol in a diplomatic note of the visit of a Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Republic of Croatia. All further details concerning the visit are conveyed to the Diplomatic Protocol in a diplomatic note. In the case of an official or working visit, the Ceremonies and Visits Department is responsible for the logistic support. The Ceremonies and Visits Department will in further communication with the Embassy in the Republic of Croatia arrange the details of the organization of the meetings requested. This includes accommodation in the previously agreed format, transport, protocol and security. At the proposal of the Ceremonies and Visits Department, or at the request of the Embassy, free time will be organized as well. If the proposal is accepted, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs will cover the expenses of the proposed part of the program“, explains the guide.

There is even an interesting prescription regarding the safety of politicians visiting the country. As the guide points out, the arrival of a protected person, delegation and security staff needs to be announced at least 48 hours prior to entering the territory of the Republic of Croatia. Pending on the rating of the protected person varies the allotment of firepower allowed to be carried in Croatia by the security staff. Three pieces of firearms along with ammunition for the Head of State, 2 pieces of firearms for a Parliament Speaker or a Prime Minister, and one piece of a firearm for the Minister of Foreign Affairs or a Head of an International Organization and Institution. Of course, this norm can be changed pending „on the basis of the judgment of the security department in charge, or on the basis of reciprocity“.

„When announcing the arrival of a protected person, delegation and security staff, a detailed program of activities needs to be submitted“, informs the guide.

Info such as times of arrival in and departure from the Republic of Croatia, the border crossing to be used for entering and exiting the state territory of the Republic of Croatia, personal information including passport numbers of nationals of non-member states, ID numbers for citizens of EU Member States as well as brand, type and a serial number of firearms and quantity of ammunition that foreign security staff will be bringing into the Republic of Croatia must be provided in the program of activities.

It may sound a bit strict but easily manageable by professionals in a friendly bilateral relationship, allowing to conduct diplomatic relations without fuss. One such important recent visit to Croatia came from the US Department of Homeland Security Officials in Croatia regarding visa-free travel. No doubt, these established rules were vital for that visit as for many others to come in the future as Croatia continues to nourish diplomatic ties with its allies.

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Attends Ministerial Meeting on Berlin Process

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman participated in a video-conference on Tuesday with the foreign ministers of country participants in the Berlin process, the foreign ministry has reported.

"The Berlin Process has so far resulted in many tangible achievements. Primarily, it has reiterated its commitment to the European Union's enlargement process, created a positive boost for concrete regional cooperation, and has helped to strengthen ties both between the six countries in the Western Balkans region as well as between those countries and the EU," said Grlić Radman.

He added that the area of the Western Balkans has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but also that a recovery framework was created at last year's Berlin Process summit in Sofia.

"In times of crisis, we have to show solidarity with those who require help. Croatia is among the first EU member states to implement the vaccine sharing mechanism, via which we will send vaccines to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia," underscored Grlić Radman.

He reiterated Croatia's support to Western Balkan countries on their European journey, reflecting particularly on Bosnia and Herzegovina, underscoring its stability which is Croatia's interest and of the whole of the European Union.

He underlined the urgency to resolve the most important issues in that country such as reforming the election law and the opportunity to implement that this year.

He called on those countries that have not yet recognised Kosovo to do so because of the positive effect that its recognition would have on the security and stability of Southeast Europe.

He also expressed hope that a consensus would be reached without any delay on the negotiation framework for Albania and North Macedonia and subsequently for an inter-governmental conference to be organised with both countries and for an inter-governmental conference to also be organised with Montenegro and Serbia in the context of the new negotiation methodology.

Today's meeting included the participation of representatives from EU institutions, the Council for Regional Cooperation and the regional youth cooperation office and the office for cooperation with NGOs.

Germany hosted today's video-conference of the Berlin Process, the foreign ministry said in its press release.

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

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Friends of Croatia: Diplomatic Immunity

June 3, 2021 - The seventh article in the series, Friends of Croatia: Diplomatic Immunity brings you more details on diplomatic immunity, its boundaries, and examples of exceptions in accordance with the International Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Details on how the sentry Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, are included too.

Being a diplomat isn't bad at all. You get to travel and explore the country you are assigned to, experience the new culture while promoting your own. Additionally, you work on improving bilateral relationships and contributing to the dynamic of the geopolitical scene (hopefully for the better).

Earlier in the series, there was an article dedicated to the key terms of diplomacy. But, there is one more thing that is worth giving special attention to: diplomatic immunity.
You probably might be thinking that means exemption from legal prosecution, and you are kinda right. But that doesn't just mean you can just do whatever you want, and law-abiding behavior is, of course, one of the needed characteristics to fit the job description.

In fact, the International Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations from 1961 has very clear instructions.

„The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State (a State in which the diplomat is based) shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity“, says article 29 of the Vienna convention. Its also worth adding that the same protection applies for his/her private residence, as well as papers and correspondence, and the diplomatic agent is also not obliged to give evidence as a witness.

But, for not everything to be all benefits and no responsibilities, article 31, despite repeating that „ a diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State and that diplomatic agent „shall also enjoy immunity from its civil and administrative jurisdiction“ – he lists exception. Such as in the event of a real action relating to private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving State, (unless he holds it on behalf of the sending State for the purposes of the mission) or in the case of an action relating to succession in which the diplomatic agent is involved as executor, administrator, heir or legatee as a private person and not on behalf of the sending State and finally, in the event of an action relating to any professional or commercial activity exercised by the diplomatic agent in the receiving State outside his official functions.

Additionally, „the immunity of a diplomatic agent from the jurisdiction of the receiving State does not exempt him from the jurisdiction of the sending State“.

                                                                                            Ministry at your (diplomatic) service

With the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs already stating for this series that they take diplomatic relations very seriously, they respect the convention, and their Diplomatic Protocol Office is here to help. As evident in their protocolar guide, they have an entire section dedicated to privilege and immunity.
„Diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited in the Republic of Croatia notify the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, to the Diplomatic protocol arrival of the (diplomatic) mission, attaching the diplomatic note, and the copy of the passport that will be notified“, states the guide in respects to the International Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The guide adds that when stepping on duty, the Diplomatic protocol will have a view in the passport of a notified person, and it will place a stamp with the following content that will confirm the passport was reviewed by the Ministry. Along with the date and signature to match. This leads to issuing a special identity card that then allows entering the Republic of Croatia without a visa.

„The special ID is issued to the members of missions and consulate offices, members of the UN organizations, and other specialized UN institutions, members of international organizations accredited in the Republic of Croatia, as well as members of their families or members of the shared household and members of private service“, elaborated the guide.

With the aforementioned documents, to get the ID, diplomats must also provide their photos and fill in a questionnaire which can be downloaded from the guide.

diplomatic_file_for_embassies_crop.jpg

Diplomatic protocol questionnaire/screenshot, Total Croatia News

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Friday, 14 May 2021

FM Gordan Grlić Radman Says Croatians in Israel Are Safe

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - All Croatian citizens in Israel are safe, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Friday, and expressed solidarity with the families of the civilian victims on all the sides and called for the de-escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On 12 May, Croatia called on all the parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to refrain from any action that would lead to escalation of violence, in which dozens of people have been killed so far, including civilians.

"There is no justification for attacks on civilians," the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement last Wednesday, calling on all leaders to help de-escalate the conflict.

Grlić Radman said today that so far Zagreb was in permanent contact with the Croatian Embassy in Israel and was kept informed on a regular basis.

None of the Croatians in Israel have asked for assistance, he added.

It is most saddening that civilians are among the casualties. We extend our solidarity with the families of civilian casualties, and we appeal to all parties for defusing the tensions, the Croatian minister said.

The Middle East crisis has always been very sensitive, and those developments can simply spill over to some other regions, Grlić Radman said.

The European Union with its partners, including the USA, keep calling for multilateral action, he added.

"It is in the interest of all to have a sound, stable, peaceful global order, based on the respect for international and human rights," he said.

Grlić Radman said he did not believe that the USA was insufficiently engaged in that region and he believes that the Joe Biden Administration will make some headway in that regard.

Commenting on the fiercest fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the last few years, President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that the USA should define its foreign policy more clearly, noting that the new US energy policy was making that part of the world less interesting than it was before.

"I look at the American position. Israel is defending itself, but is also attacking. (...) The Americans will have to better define their foreign policy and make it clearer," Milanović said yesterday.

Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, President Joe Biden has distanced himself from the Middle East, but is now aware that he cannot distance himself completely, he said.

"That part of the world is ceasing to be interesting as it used to be because of the US energy policy, notably because of this administration, which is much more focused on renewable sources and less on oil, on hydrocarbons which America now produces in sufficient quantities on its own. So the question is, what is their strategic objective in the Middle East other than being a policeman?" Milanović said. "These are extremely important issues that put us in a moral dilemma."

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

 

 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Friends of Croatia: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - The Croatian Side of Diplomatic Relations

May 13, 2021 - The fourth article in the series "Friends of Croatia: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs" takes a look at the Croatian diplomatic relations from the perspective of the appointed ministry for diplomatic questions and foreign relations.

It takes two to build a friendship. While this series focuses on conversations with ambassadors, diplomats, and representatives of international organizations in Croatia, what is the official take on diplomatic relations and diplomacy from the Croatian side?

The Ministry of Foreign and European affairs (currently run by minister Gordan Grlić Radman) is the branch of the Croatian government that is the first and foremost point of contact and communication with the international community. If you are a country that wants to have diplomatic relations with Croatia, this is the ministry to reach.

„If diplomatic relations have been established between two countries, the sending country expresses the intention of opening a diplomatic mission (Embassy) to the receiving country, in this case, the Republic of Croatia, with a verbal note and seeks the consent of the competent institutions of the Republic of Croatia“, explained the Ministry the process of establishing Embassies.

„The competent authorities of the Republic of Croatia carry out the procedure of issuing the consent for the opening of a diplomatic mission and, upon its completion, inform the sending country about the outcome by verbal note. If the decision on giving consent for the opening of the Embassy in the Republic of Croatia has been granted, the sending country can start searching for a location to accommodate the Embassy and start the procedure of appointing an Ambassador," the Ministry added.

Ministarstvo_vanjskih_i_europskih_poslova_2.jpgForeign Minister Gordan Grlić Visiting Spain © Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova

With this procedure in place, concluding with 2021, Croatia has 56 resident Embassies, 67 non-resident Embassies, 4 Consulates General, 3 Representative Offices of the bodies of the European Union, 8 Representative Offices of international organizations, and 103 Consulates General/Consulates/Vice-consulates (which what is interesting, as the Ministry pointed out, are handled by honorary consuls who are mostly Croatian citizens).

„Resident Embassies can be based only in the capital city, and they are headed by an ambassador. Non-resident Embassies are located outside the state, with a seat in some other country, usually, an EU member state, while Consulates Generals can be located in other larger cities besides the capital and are headed by general consuls and responsible for their work to the Embassy of the said country“, explained the Ministry.

Croatia may be a young county with 30 years of sovereignty, but the tradition of its diplomacy is traced deep in history. Most notably, in the Dubrovnik Republic, a role model to Croatian diplomats even today.

„Croatian diplomats take pride and inspiration in the tradition of diplomacy of the Dubrovnik Republic. As a small country, surrounded by powerful empires and influential Mediterranean city-states, with no military force, the Dubrovnik Republic was able to preserve its foreign policy sovereignty mainly thanks to the diplomatic skills and the awareness of its geopolitical position. These very qualities are constantly a source of inspiration for those who defend the interests of the Republic of Croatia on the modern world's stage“, explained the Ministry.

As is evident by following the work of the Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, Croatia takes its diplomacy very seriously, and of course, with some countries, this is more evident than in others. One of the most recent examples was with Egypt. At the end of March, as TCN reported, Croatia showed solidarity with Egypt donating 100 books, and additionally, Croatian companies expressed interest in doing business on the Egyptian market

167448346_4516426265040018_5838100975654270980_n_egypt.jpg

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić in Egypt © Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova

„Minister Grlić Radman’s visit to Egypt was very successful, with his Egyptian counterpart Minister Shoukry opening a business forum which was attended by more than 120 Egyptian and Croatian business people“, said the Ministry, adding that representing the interests of Croatian companies and Croatian economy, in general, is an important task for Croatian diplomacy“.

Companies can ask for help by contacting the Ministry, specifically the Directorate General for Economic Affairs and Development Cooperation, or the Croatian embassy in the country of interest directly. No matter which way the request is made (regardless of whether the company has contacted the Ministry or the Croatian embassy in the country of interest directly) the company is kindly asked to fill out a request for support to the exporter, available on the economic diplomacy webpage. Within a couple of days, the company will receive a proposal for the realization of its request or an invitation to a meeting to discuss it jointly in more detail. All requests of exporters are recorded in a database that can be accessed by all employees of the Ministry in Zagreb and abroad in charge of economic affairs and through which the status of the case can be monitored“, explained the ministry the process of stepping on the market in more details.

Embassies in Croatia that are in frequent contact with the Ministry are there for their citizens when visiting the country, but also, the Ministry welcomes Croatians to contact the Embassies for questions regarding traveling to other countries. 

„Croatian nationals can obtain more information on entry requirements, COVID-19 restrictions, possibilities of obtaining residence permits or visas, and other types of information about a specific country. Also, Croatian students who are interested in studying or continuing their education abroad can get more information about the educational system and ways of applying for scholarships through foreign Embassies“, said the Ministry.

While the Ministry has no intention of stealing the jobs of the Embassies (such as providing consular assistance), they are at service if needed.

„Croatia is a popular tourist destination, so the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs recognizes the importance of communication with all foreign nationals who are interested to come and visit us. The Ministry provides information related to e.g. entry requirements, COVID-19 restrictions, the possibility of issuing the residence permits or visas, as well as all other types of information for foreigners who want to visit us as tourists or become residents“, concluded the Ministry.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is located in Zagreb, at Zrinjevac 7-8.

You can learn more about their work and all things travel-related at their official website and you can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr. The phone numbers of various branches within the ministry can be found here.

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Search