Monday, 25 October 2021

Božinović: Checks of Existing Anti-epidemic Measures Should Be Stepped Up

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - The national coronavirus response team on Monday discussed the COVID-19 situation in Croatia and the possibility of stepping up checks of the anti-epidemic measures in force, such as wearing face masks inside public spaces, the team's head, Davor Božinović, told a press conference.

Božinović recalled that they had anticipated a rise in the number of new cases in the autumn and addressed the problem by combining recommendations on compliance with the basic anti-epidemic measures with calls for vaccination. "Apart from these measures, there are no special activities that can be used in this situation," he added.

Since nearly a quarter of new cases come from schools, Božinović said that they would look into the possibility of face-to-face classes being suspended for two days in the week around All Saints' Day, 1 November. He said they also discussed the promotion of a booster dose for people whose level of antibodies is decreasing.

"As for the existing measures, notably wearing face masks, checks should indeed be stepped up because this obligation is taken too lightly," Božinović said, adding that the possibility of bringing COVID certificates into wider use is not being considered for now.

He stressed that there are enough vaccines against COVID-19 and that vaccination can prevent more serious forms of the disease. "A combination of the anti-epidemic measures and vaccination can get us out of the crisis," Božinović said.

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.

Monday, 20 September 2021

Božinović: COVID-19 Team Not Considering Tightening or Relaxing Restrictions

ZAGREB, 20 Sept 2021 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Monday the national COVID-19 response team was not considering either tightening or relaxing epidemiological restrictions, such as the reopening of nightclubs, and that the protest against those restrictions held on Saturday was unjustified.

"At the moment we are not planning any tightening of the restrictions or their further liberalization," Božinović, who heads the COVID-19 response team, told reporters in Šibenik when asked if the reopening of nightclubs was being considered, as demanded by bar owners on Sunday.

He noted that it was not necessary to explain in great detail why nightclubs would not be allowed to reopen even if complying with anti-epidemic rules, including COVID-19 certificates.

"After 18 months of the pandemic, everyone will tell you that indoor areas are the main problem if they are not aired sufficiently and if people do not keep at least a minimum physical distance from one another," he said, stressing that gatherings at nightclubs were more difficult to control than gatherings at football matches.

No reason for the protest

Commenting on a protest against epidemiological restrictions, held in Zagreb on Saturday, Božinović said the protesters had gathered without any real reason.

"After the protest, at least some of them probably went to a cafe or a restaurant and were probably mad because they protested without any real reason," he said, adding the organizers had rushed to "stage something" after seeing scenes of protests in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

The minister also said that he did not know if police had acted after Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković had reported a person to them, who called him by the nickname 'Njonjo' (Wuss) in a phone conversation.

"It is normal for a protected person who gets a call from an unknown number to tell their security that they received a call from an unknown person who had insulted them. The protocol about that is clear... there is staff who take care of that," said the minister.

"I do not know if the police did anything, but I'm sure that everyone in that chain did what they were supposed to do," he said.

Božinović also commented on the lifting of visa requirements for Croatian nationals traveling to the USA, saying that after a long-lasting process he was an optimist. He expressed hope that Croatians would be allowed to travel to the USA without visas by the end of the year.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Croatia Grants Most Asylums to Syrians, Most Asylum Seekers Are From Afghanistan

ZAGREB, 21 Aug, 2021 - There are 1,529 asylum seekers in Croatia, most of them from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria and the highest number of asylums were obtained by Syrians, Vecernji List daily wrote on Saturday.

According to data provided by the Croatian Interior Ministry, of the 1,208 asylum seekers in the first six months of 2021, more than a half were from Afghanistan (692), followed by those from Iraq (116), Iran (105), Turkey (66), Syria (60) and Pakistan (37).

Croatia granted asylums and subsidiary protection to approximately 1,000 people. The highest number of asylums was granted to Syrians, namely 457 and another 84 people from Syria were granted subsidiary protection. Among top five states to whose citizens asylums were granted are Iraq (109), Afghanistan (39), Iran (38) and Turkey (26), while subsidiary protection was granted the most to the citizens of Syria (84), Afghanistan (17) and Somalia (15).

The interior ministry said it was impossible to give the exact number of people granted international protection and currently living in Croatia as the number varies on a daily basis because people with passports have the right to freedom of movement, and they can leave Croatia any time they want.

There are twice as many men than women among people granted with asylum or subsidiary protection, most of them of the age between 18 and 34, followed by underage boys.

For more news updates, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

MUP Office Answers Tourists in Croatia On Verge of Overstaying 90 Days

March 25, 2020 - Are you a tourist in Croatia wondering if you’ll be sanctioned for overstaying your allowed 90 days? The Ministry of Interior’s (MUP) Office has an answer for all of you unsure of what to do during the coronavirus crisis. 

If you’re on a 90-day tourist visa in Croatia that is soon to run out, chances are, you’re a bit worried, especially considering you have nowhere to go with the coronavirus pandemic currently ruling the world. 

Fortunately, we have some answers, thanks to a TCN’s readers exchange with the Ministry of Interior’s office in Zagreb. 

You can find the conversation below:

TCN reader: 

To Whom It May Concern, 

Considering the spread of COVID-19, I am interested in the current status of third-country nationals who are on a tourist visa in the Republic of Croatia and also those who are currently in the process of applying for a residence and work permit, using tourist days.

The day before yesterday, 03/23/2020, I called the Division for Administrative Affairs and Citizenship on the phone number: 00 385 1 3788 193 whose contact is listed on your site and a kind woman told me that the status of the persons concerned was frozen at the moment, i.e., that their tourist days are not currently added up until a different solution is reached.

However, today an article was posted on www.expatincroatia.com which reads:

"We spoke to the ministries that handled immigration and they confirmed that no one was allowed to stay past their tourist visas, despite COVID-19. Staying past your tourist visa could result in fines ranging from 500 kuna 7,000 kuna, depending on the circumstances. Another risk is that you may get kicked out with nowhere to go, as they are doing in other countries. "

(source: Original article)

I would like to kindly ask you to send me an official reply on the current status of the people concerned, as well as instructions on the procedure and anything they are obliged to submit to MUP, if any, to avoid further misinformation and possible panic.

The MUP Office replied:

Dear,

If a foreigner on a short stay (up to 90 days for a period of 180 days) cannot leave the Republic of Croatia promptly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the short term residence time is exceeded, the foreigner will therefore not be sanctioned by the Foreigners Act.

We advise that the foreigner report to the police station according to the address of his / her accommodation, where the police officer will take down information about the accommodation address and contact information and instruct him / her to contact the police station before leaving the address of accommodation or leaving the Republic of Croatia so that he / she will not have any problems at the border crossing when leaving the Republic of Croatia.

Also, under Article 48, paragraph 4 of the Foreigners Act, third-country nationals who applied for a temporary residence permit or residence and work permit before the expiry of their short-term stay may remain in the Republic of Croatia until the decision on the application has been enforced.

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 13.55.23.png

We hope this clears anything up for those of you currently stuck here during the corona era. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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