Thursday, 16 June 2022

Grlić Radman: Things Moving Towards Opening Talks With N. Macedonia, Albania

ZAGREB, 16 June 2022 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, said in the North Macedonia lakeside town of Ohrid on Thursday that "things are moving towards" opening European Union membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Grlić Radman was participating in the Prespa Forum together with Western Balkans leaders and senior EU officials. He said that talks are under way and "things are moving towards finally launching accession negotiations" with North Macedonia and Albania.

He said he believes there is still enough time to reach an agreement before the EU-Western Balkans summit next week.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi are also in Ohrid, but representatives of Bulgaria have not been announced. Bulgaria has blocked the opening of talks with North Macedonia over identity issues, thus also blocking the path of Albania because the EU treats the two countries in a package.

Grlić Radman said that EU enlargement is the strategic interest of Croatia and the EU and that the Union must use all its legal mechanisms to ensure the implementation of the necessary reforms in the membership candidate countries so that they can join the bloc as soon as possible.

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Thursday, 9 September 2021

Croatian PM Sends Condolences Over N. Macedonia COVID Hospital Fire

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday sent a letter of condolence to North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and to the families of the victims who lost their lives in a fire that broke out in a COVID hospital in the western city of Tetovo on Wednesday evening.

We are very saddened by the news about the violent fire in the COVID-19 hospital in Tetovo in which many people lost their lives, Plenković wrote on his Twitter account.

"We are in our thoughts with North Macedonia and the families of victims," Plenković added.

At least 14 people died and many more were injured in that hospital fire in North Macedonia, health officials said.

The fire erupted after an explosion at about 2100 hrs Wednesday. Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze for an hour before they managed to bring it under control.

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

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman For Opening EU Entry Talks With N. Macedonia, Albania as Soon as Possible

ZAGREB, 22 June, 2021 - North Macedonia and Albania have met all the criteria to open EU accession negotiations as soon as possible and Kosovo deserves visa liberalisation, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday in Luxembourg.

"Albania and North Macedonia have met all the criteria and we believe that accession negotiations should be opened with them as soon as possible," said Grlić Radman upo arriving in Luxembourg for a General Affairs Council meeting.

The General Affairs Council is composed of foreign or European affairs ministers of the member states. They convened today to discuss preparations for an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday on migration, enlargement and the stabilisation and association process.  Furthermore, the Portuguese presidency will inform the EU ministers about the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

One of the more important topics to be debated within Article 7 is the rule of law in Hungary and Poland.

Accession intergovernmental conferences with Serbia and Montenegro will be held on the margins of today's meeting, but without opening or closing any policy chapters. So-called political intergovernmental conferences are a new approach in the accession process.

Agreement still has not been reached to open negotiations with North Macedonia due to objections by Bulgaria and no progress is expected before elections in Bulgaria scheduled for next month.

There are no blockades regarding Albania, however some countries do not wish to separate the issue of opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

Grlić Radman that Croatia supports the motion for liberalising the visa regime for Kosovo as soon as possible.

Croatia would like talks on candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be launched as soon as possible too, said Grlić Radman and once again underscored the need for the election law in that country to be changed so that it ensures the equality of all three constitutent peoples.

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

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Croatia Ranks Third In Region For Quality Of Customer Service - Survey

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 - Croatia once again ranks third in the region for the quality of customer service, behind Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, the "GUEST-Regional Services" survey showed on Wednesday.

This is the twelfth survey testing the quality of customer service in the region, conducted between 15 June and 15 July by the Heraklea mystery shoppers agency in cooperation with similar agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.

"Mystery shoppers" visited a total of 800 retail outlets in those countries - car dealerships, banks, petrol stations, small stores, supermarkets, telecommunication retail outlets, tourism-hospitality venues, and other services.

The criteria to measure customer service included greetings, identifying shoppers' needs, knowledge of the product being offered, offering additional products, and thanking shoppers for stopping by, based on the acronym GUEST that stands for Greet, Understand, Explain, Suggest and Thanks.

Croatia scored 75.1% and ranked third, the same result as last year.

Croatia again scored best on knowing the product on offer. Croatian retailers were also good when it comes to greeting shoppers and thanking them for stopping by. Their weaknesses included not identifying the need for shoppers and offering additional products.

Bosnia and Herzegovina tops the list this year

The best result this year was achieved by Bosnia and Herzegovina (86.7%), followed by North Macedonia (82.5%), Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Montenegro.

The best customer service in the region was experienced in car dealerships (97.2%), while supermarkets scored 58%, recording the greatest fall in quality compared to last year.

The biggest improvement in the quality of customer service was achieved by banks, increasing by 10.3 percentage points to 78.53%.

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Who Doesn't Have to Self-Isolate After Entering Croatia from BiH or Serbia?

June 25, 2020 - Who will be able to enter Croatia from BiH, Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia without having to self-isolate? Head of the Border Service of the Split-Dalmatia Police, Mladen Bužančić, explains. reports that encouraged by the growing number of cases in Croatia, but also in neighboring countries, the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters introduced a new measure at border crossings and mandatory self-isolation for people entering Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Mladen Bužančić, head of the Border Service of the Split-Dalmatia Police Administration, revealed to Dnevnik Nova TV that there are certain exemptions to the rule. 

"The border police are ready. Everyone who enters the Republic of Croatia from those countries on June 25 must be aware that they will be self-isolated. There are exceptions for those who, due to the nature of their work and living circumstances, will not have to isolate themselves, and among them are cross-border workers and those transiting through these four countries and through Croatia," Bužančić explains, urging that travel be kept to a minimum.

Asked what will happen to those who come to Croatia from those four countries in the region for a funeral or to care for an elderly family member, Bužančić answered that they are also exempt and will not have to self-isolate.

"If it is an urgent personal reason or it is about people who are coming to a funeral or need emergency medical care or transport, they will not be subjected to the new rule," says Bužančić.

However, when it comes to tourists from those countries who already have confirmed reservations in Croatia, Bužančić says that they must be aware that this arrangement will probably not be realized.

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