Sunday, 2 December 2018

Zagreb to Host Central European Initiative Summit

ZAGREB, December 2, 2018 – The Central European Initiative summit (CEI) will take place in Zagreb on Monday and Tuesday, and the event will mark the completion of Croatia's year-long presidency over this regional initiative.

The CEI was founded in Budapest in 1989 as a regional intergovernmental forum committed to supporting European integration and sustainable development through cooperation between and among its Member States and with the European Union, international and regional organisations as well as with other public or private institutions and non-governmental organisations.

The main theme of Zagreb's summit meeting is building security, boosting the economy and enabling the progress.

Croatia is presiding over the CEI from 1 January to 31 December 2018. The next chairmanship will be taken over by Italy.

"One of the main goals of Croatia’s presidency is strengthening the Initiative’s basic mission – supporting the European prospect of member states that want to join the EU. Other Croatian presidency priorities include the transfer of know-how and experience in European integration, economic and cultural cooperation, the challenges of migration, intensifying cooperation between the CEI and other regional and international organizations, and maintaining parliamentary cooperation," the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry stated on its web site.

To date, the participation in the Zagreb event of prime ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia has been confirmed. Also some of the guests at the meeting will be the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

On Tuesday, a business forum on innovations conducive to competitiveness will be organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce within the two-day summit meeting.

The CEI is one of the oldest regional cooperation forums in Central and Eastern Europe. It has 18 member states: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Ukraine. The Initiative’s Secretariat is headquartered in Trieste.

Croatia joined the initiative in 1992.

For more on Croatia’s foreign policy, click here.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Report on UN Migration Pact to Be Presented to Parliament

ZAGREB, November 9, 2018 - The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry will prepare a report on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which has recently caused many disputes among politicians, and the report will be discussed by the government next week after which it will be forwarded to parliament, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday.

The Global Compact aims to boost cooperation to address the world's growing number of migrants. "The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, which has been coordinating the process of drawing up the report, will submit the report to the government next week, in order to shed light on the topic and explain what exactly this is about," Plenković said at the start of the government session on Friday.

"After that, we will forward the document to parliament. I believe this topic deserves to be discussed by at least two parliamentary committees so that MPs could also know what this is about," Plenković said, adding that it was critical for everything surrounding the U.N. migration pact to be transparent.

The document, which is to be endorsed in Marrakesh, Morocco next month, has recently stirred up a conflict between President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who first announced she would support it but then backed out, and the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry which sees nothing contentious in the document.

Plenković reiterated on Friday that the Global Compact was not an international treaty nor it was legally binding. "This is a catalogue of measures which is being worked on over the past two years, ever since the way was paved for it at the UN General Assembly," Plenković said.

"The document has been in its present form since July and it is expected to be politically endorsed in Morocco in mid-December," Plenković said. He, however, did not say who would represent Croatia in Marrakesh after the president backed out of the trip.

For more on Croatia’s migration policies, click here.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Minister Surprised with President’s Decision to Skip Migration Conference

ZAGREB, November 2, 2018 - The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will advance cooperation between states in regular migration and not increase the migrant flow, as suggested by Croatia's far right, Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Friday, adding that she was surprised by announcements that President Grabar-Kitarović would not attend a conference in Marrakesh where that document should be adopted.

The Global Compact is a catalogue of measures and not an agreement, it is not legally binding for UN member states and every state has the sovereign right to choose from it the set of measures suiting its situation, the minister said at a press conference called in the wake of media reports that Croatia's far right sees the document as contentious as the Istanbul Convention which Croatia ratified this year.

"The Global Compact represents a catalogue of measures defined in line with the goals of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which are aimed at advancing cooperation between states in dealing with regular migration," Pejčinović Burić said, adding that no state could resolve the migration issue alone.

She said the Global Compact was the result of the international community's attempts to formulate a document which would encompass the best practices and measures for managing regular migration, helping to reduce migration pressures. Since it is not legally binding, "there is absolutely no obligation to accept migrants," the minister said, adding that any insinuations that the document would lead to uncontrolled migration were absolutely unfounded.

The minister recalled that the drafting of the Global Compact began with the adoption of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was endorsed by 193 UN member states, including Croatia, which was represented by President Grabar-Kitarović at the forum in question.

The president underlined the importance of that document at this year's UN General Assembly meeting, the minister said, citing the president's speech. The president said on that occasion that the successful completion of negotiations on the Global Compact for the Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was an "important step in the right direction to effectively deal with this challenge."

"We believe that this catalogue of targeted measures and best practices can guide us in searching for the best solutions in a more coordinated manner and with a better outcome. I look forward to our meeting in Marrakech in December and commend all the efforts of the UN Special Representative Louise Arbour," the president said then.

"According to official information, the president confirmed to the UN secretary-general that she would attend already in August, so we are surprised by the announcement that she will not attend the Marrakesh conference," said Pejčinović Burić.

Inter-departmental consultations are under way in Croatia on a draft conclusion on this document and the final conference in Marrakesh, at the level of heads of state and government, is aimed at politically confirming the common will to improve cooperation in line with the understanding reached in the Global Compact, she added.

If you are interested in how the migration crisis is affecting Croatia, read here.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Croatia Attends Women Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Montreal

ZAGREB, September 23, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinovic Burić attended a two-day Women Foreign Ministers' Meeting (WFMM) in Montreal which was dedicated to gender equality and empowerment of women as a key factor in efforts to build peace, eradicate poverty and ensure economic growth, the Croatian Foreign Ministry stated in a press release on Sunday.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Foreign Ministry Denies Allegations about Scandal in Washington Embassy

ZAGREB, September 21, 2018 - The political secretary of the MOST opposition party, Nikola Grmoja, is manipulating and lying when he says that Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić has done nothing about alleged unlawful activities in the Croatian Embassy in Washington and the Croatian Embassy in Canberra, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, citing a decision by the USKOK anti-corruption office.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Foreign Minister Meets with US Secretary of State Pompeo

ZAGREB, September 13, 2018 - Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović-Burić met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Wednesday, saying that the two countries had good and friendly relations which should be bolstered by more frequent contacts.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Foreign Ministers Visiting USA

ZAGREB, September 12, 2018 - Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić began an official visit to Washington on Tuesday, the first official visit of a Croatian foreign minister to the United States for several years.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Foreign Minister to Meet US Secretary of State Pompeo

ZAGREB, September 10, 2018 - Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić will officially visit Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday, and meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Croatia: Western Balkan Countries to Resolve Outstanding Issues Prior to EU Entry

ZAGREB, September 1, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Friday that Western Balkan countries had to resolve outstanding bilateral issues dating back to the 1990s war if they wanted to join the EU.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Croatia Reacts to Serbian President’s Comparison with Nazism

ZAGREB, August 7, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday responded to recent statements from Serbia, saying comparison with the Nazi regime was a "twisted argument" because it was former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević's regime, with the help of the Yugoslav army and some Croatian and Bosnian Serbs, that was responsible for the return of ethnic cleansing in Europe after WWII.

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