Thursday, 17 June 2021

Plenković Requests Turkish President's Support for Bosnia Election Legislation Reform

ZAGREB, 17 June 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, requesting Turkey's support for efforts to ensure respect for equality of all three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for an election legislation reform in the country.

Plenković flew to the Turkish city of Antalya to attend a summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), being held under Turkish chairmanship. Turkey assumed the SEECP chairmanship on 1 July 2020. Plenković met Erdogan on the sidelines of the meeting.

"One of the topics was Bosnia and Herzegovina. I underscored that it is very important for Croatia that all three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina are equal, notably the Croats who are the least numerous," the Croatian premier said after meeting with the Turkish head of state.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Croats and the government in Zagreb claim that the Croats are currently not represented on the country's collective presidency and in other institutions because the current member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, Željko Komšić, who sits as the Croat representative, is only the nominal representative because he was elected thanks to votes from the Bosniak electorate.

"For us, it is also important that consensus is reached on the election legislation reform during the process of negotiations between political parties and institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in this regard, I asked for Turkey's support," said Plenković.

"Of course, in the political sense, Turkey has closer relations with the Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and finally with the political leadership of the SDA party. Therefore it is essential that we, Turkey and Croatia, in dialogue with friendly institutions and political parties that are close to us, seek solutions that will ensure that all the peoples and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina feel satisfied," Plenković said.

Croatia-Turkey relations very good and friendly

Plenković described the Croatian-Turkish bilateral relations as very good and friendly.

There are many Turkish companies doing business in Croatia, and Ankara would like to intensify the business cooperation, according to Plenković.

"Croatia is open and we think that will be very much to our benefit,"  he added.

 Plenković informed Erdogan that Zagreb appreciated Turkey's care for a huge number of refugees and efforts to prevent the reactivation of the western Balkan migrant route.

The Croatian PM believes that the agreement between the EU and Ankara on care for migrants will be honored

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

Thursday, 10 June 2021

PM: Get Vaccinated So We Can Lift Epidemiological Restrictions

ZAGREB, 10 June 2021 - PM Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that vaccination against COVID-19 with the first shot had slowed down due to a decline in citizens' interest and he called on them to get immunized so that a vaccination rate of 50% could be achieved by the end of June and the remaining anti-epidemic measures lifted. 

"I urge once again those who have not done it yet not to hesitate. That is the only way to completely get back to how we used to live because the first dose already provides effective protection against serious forms of the disease," he said at a government session.

He noted that positive epidemiological trends were continuing, with the seven-day incidence having been restored to the level of 10 months ago, which, he said, is owing to a growing number of people who have been vaccinated and those who have acquired immunity, as well as owing to warmer weather and responsible behavior.

He warned, however, that of the adult population, 40.8% had been vaccinated with at least one dose even though enough doses had been secured for the percentage to be much higher.

"We should not stand by and watch countries that were less successful than us in the fight against COVID-19 become more successful in vaccination. By getting vaccinated we are protecting not only our health and lives but also our economy, jobs, salaries, freedom, and the right to a normal life," he stressed.

It is important to vaccinate the planned 50% of adults by the end of June so that epidemiological restrictions could continue to be eased. If that is not done, the tourist season will be at risk, which means additional losses for our economy, he warned.

"We cannot afford that luxury. In addition to the pandemic, Croatia was hit by two earthquakes and that has cost us as much as four pandemics. That situation is specific and that is why the economy must return to the path of continual growth and recovery," Plenković said.

He particularly called on young people to set an example to others, be brave, trust science, and get vaccinated.

Plenković also recalled his meeting with representatives of associations for the protection of domestic violence victims, which was held on Wednesday to acquaint those associations with the planned changes to the Penal Code to be discussed by the government today.

The changes envisage the ex officio prosecution of sexual harassment as well as the prosecution of revenge porn, which is the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of individuals without their consent, made by a partner in an intimate relationship. They also envisage stronger protection of children and vulnerable groups.

The government also plans to amend the Domestic Violence Act.

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

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Milanović: Plenković is Promoter of Right to Lie

ZAGREB, 3 June 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Thursday called Prime Minister Andrej Plenković a promoter of the right to lie who had now classified himself "under authentic interpreters of battles from the Homeland War" and declared himself "almost a war commander".

The president wrote this on Facebook, reacting to Plenković's comment on his proposal that the anniversary of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm be commemorated in other cities besides Knin.

Milanović accused Plenković of "denigrating the proposal to commemorate Operation Storm in other cities in which heroic battles were fought in the Homeland War, and not only in Knin, declaring himself - with the words 'many of us look at Knin differently' - almost a war commander," Milanović wrote.

The president added that the initiative to commemorate Operation Storm "also where hundreds of Croatian defenders were killed, near Petrinja and Glina, for instance, was proposed to him by war generals and commanders who fought liberation battles".

Asked by the RTL commercial broadcaster to comment on President Zoran Milanović's proposal to commemorate anniversaries of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm in Knin every five years and to commemorate the anniversary in Glina this year, Plenković said on Wednesday he didn't know about it, but he found "the repeated use of double criteria particularly indicative".

"He constantly talks about Knin as some kind of train station, a barracks. Many of us look at Knin differently, at its role, at Zvonimir's City, at the Knin Fortress, at the symbolism of the flag at the Knin Fortress. Those are different views," Plenković said, referring to the turbulent history of that Dalmatian region.

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

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Plenković: Those Were Not Accusations Against Media, But My Comment On Campaign

ZAGREB, 3 June 2021 - Prime Minister Plenković commented in an interview with RTL on the media campaign for the local elections, in which, he said, the HDZ won a colossal victory, and regarding his criticism of the media due to their treatment of some HDZ candidates, he stressed he hadn't accused anyone but stated his opinion.

"Those weren't accusations, it was my comment on the campaign behind us, in which the HDZ once again received by far the greatest support of Croatian voters and these results are for us even better in some areas than the results in 2017," PM Andrej Plenković said.

Plenković said that his comment on the campaign had been - as a comment by someone who is both president of the party and prime minister, is involved in politics and tries to follow the activities - that some HDZ candidates in the areas where the campaign had received the most media coverage, "were under a lot of fire in the media, especially HDZ's candidates in Zagreb and Split, and that reflected on the results".

You won't change your policy because of what I'm saying. I'm simply stating my position - which is the truth, with arguments and examples, he told the commercial broadcaster.

He added that he had congratulated all newly elected mayors and county prefects in writing, and he was planning a meeting with new Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević.

"We called him yesterday or the day before yesterday and he didn't answer. Today, an associate told me he had returned the call, (...) so we will talk, but I was in other meetings. I congratulated him and all other newly elected county prefects and all mayors in county seats in writing. They are my partners," he said.

Asked to comment on President Zoran Milanović's proposal to commemorate anniversaries of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm in Knin every five years and to commemorate the anniversary in Glina this year, Plenković said he didn't know about it, but he found "the repeated use of double criteria particularly indicative".

"He constantly talks about Knin as some kind of train station, a barracks. Many of us look at Knin differently, at its role, at Zvonimir's City, at the Knin Fortress, at the symbolism of the flag at the Knin Fortress. Those are different views," Plenković said, referring to the turbulent history of that Dalmatian region.

"You have a president who allowed himself to ignore Statehood Day passed by the Croatian parliament. He refused to attend a gala concert on Saturday. Everyone was there, including former president (Ivo) Josipović. The current president refused to come and didn't send anyone," he said.

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

Friday, 28 May 2021

PM Says Croatia's Army Has Developed into Efficient and Modern Armed Forces

ZAGREB, 28 May 2021 - At the beginning of his cabinet's meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković sent a congratulatory message to the armed forces and the ground army on the occasion of Army Day and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian army.

"In the last three decades, the Croatian army with its origins among the people, gained huge experience during the Homeland War which it won, and it has developed into an efficient and modern armed force prepared to deal with all the tasks assigned to it," Plenković said.

After the the 1991-1995 war, the army underwent a successful process of the peacetime transformation, and only 11 years after the peaceful reintegration of its  Danube egion, Croatia became a member of NATO, the strongest military alliance in the history, the premier underscored.

Croatia's soldiers are highly-esteemed participants in a lot of international missions and operations worldwide, including those run by NATO and those run by the United Nations. All that is conducive to the international security and peace, as preconditions for any development and prosperity, he added.

In the present-day more and more unstable world, Croatia must be able to efficiently safeguard its territory and borders, control its skies and sea and ensure its stability and energy independence, and, if necessary, protect its won freedom, he said.

In this context Plenković noted that his cabinet pursued the course that accomplished the priorities of the defence and security policies.

The government has adopted a new national security strategy and the legislation on homeland security and increased defence outlays and made investments in the miltiary equipment and modernisation, he noted.

At the end of his speech on the modernisation of the army, PM Plenković revealed the decision of his cabinet to purchase 12 used French multipurpose fighter jets Dassault Rafale F3R for €999 million.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated section.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

PM Calls on Croatians to Build Europe of Peace, Social Justice and Prosperity

ZAGREB, 9 May 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday forwarded a message on the occasion of Europe Day, calling on his citizens to continue their commitment to the Europe of peace, social justice, and economic development.

"Europe Day is being marked this year in such circumstances when we are faced with the biggest global challenges since the Second World War" Plenković underscores.

Therefore this is an occasion for us to recall that the visionary idea of a united and democratic Europe, as a safeguard for permanent peace and solidarity and prosperity of European peoples, was born in the aftermath of that war when one of the gloomiest and most tragic periods of the European history was over and also against the background of the threat of the Communist totalitarianism, he said.

The idea could seem as a utopia then, however, today it is a reality shared by the 27 member states, including Croatia as the youngest member, Plenković said underscoring some of the achievements of the present-day EU bloc.

Although EU citizens make up only 6% of the global population, the EU is the top agricultural power and the second strongest economy. It is also the top-ranking donor of international aid, the most sought-after tourist destination, and a global leader in the fight against climate change, he said highlighting the fact that in the last 70 years, the European Union has been developed as a project of peace, reconciliation, democracy, development, cooperation and mutual solidarity.

Being aware that cooperation between member-states is key to a more successful struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic, we are investing joint efforts to ramp up the vaccination of our citizens, as this is the safest and fastest way to returning to the life we had before the pandemic, he added.

Plenković says in his message that Croatia has donated vaccine doses to its neighbors that are non-EU member states as a sign of solidarity because the pandemic can be halted only if the sufficient rate of immunization of the population in Europe and the world is achieved.

This year, Europe Day is also the day when the Conference on the Future of Europe kicks off.

In the coming months, we will have opportunities to be included in discussions on the future course of the development of the European Union. In all member-states, individuals, civil society associations, the academic community, business people, unionists, and all other stakeholders, together with representatives of European institutions, are encouraged to be engaged in those discussions and give their ideas and proposals conducive to the improvement of the functioning of the Union and making it more prepared to deal with global challenges, the Croatian premier said among other things.

Croatia can make a marked contribution to this conference in which a lead role will be played by European Vice President for Democracy and Demography, Croatian Dubravka Šuica, according to Plenković's message.

Šuica is leading the Commission’s work on deliberative democracy and the Conference on the Future of Europe.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 6 May 2021

PM Says No Room for Intolerance in Croatia

ZAGREB, 6 May 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday condemned hate speech used by a group of football fans in Borovo Selo near the eastern town of Vukovar, underscoring that there is no justification for last Sunday's incident and that there is no room for intolerance in Croatian society.

The incident occurred on the day of commemorations of the 30th anniversary of the killing of 12 Croatian policemen who lost their lives at the start of the Homeland War, and also coincided with this year's Easter celebrated by Orthodox believers according to the Julian calendar.

"There is no room for intolerance in Croatian society against the Serb minority or anyone else. We will always be strongly opposed to that and clearly condemn hate speech against anyone of our compatriots because we advocate a society in which everyone feels good and experience Croatia as their home," said Plenković opening Thursday's cabinet meeting.

He added that the 2 May incident was contrary to Croatia's interests and certainly was not a patriotic act, but just the opposite.

It is not hard to imagine that in such incidents there will be some people that will try maliciously to equate the victim and aggressor, finding some sort of abortive justification for their atrocities 30 years ago. That is all the more reason for clear condemnation, he added.

In an effort to appropriately punish those responsible, the police reacted immediately and arrested the participants involved in that provocative and impermissible incident, he added.

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

Saturday, 1 May 2021

PM Plenković Issues Message For International Workers' Day

ZAGREB, 1 May 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković issued a message for International Workers' Day on Saturday, noting that this year it is being celebrated in the challenging circumstances of the fight against the coronavirus epidemic and in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes that struck Croatia last year.

"It is therefore important that we mark International Workers' Day responsibly, by complying with all the epidemiological measures in place, and that in the coming weeks when we expect more vaccines to come, we all make our contribution to the success of the vaccination campaign and thus end this health threat that we are facing," the prime minister said.

Plenković recalled that in this global crisis his government firmly stood by the workers and their families. The government has paid over HRK 100 million as part of the job retention scheme benefiting about 680,000 workers, and continues the tax reform thanks to which the income of Croatian workers and their families has increased, he said.

"Aware of the fact that the future of our economy and our country is in the hands of young generations, we have been making continued efforts to improve the status of families and promote demographic revitalization to stop the emigration, particularly of young people," he wrote.

The prime minister recalled that the government had prepared the national recovery and resilience plan providing for investments and reforms aimed at strengthening the national economy and society to ensure a speedy recovery after the crisis.

He announced that the government would continue cooperation and dialogue with employers and trade unions on issues of importance to the future of Croatia to improve the living standards of its citizens.

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

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Plenkovic: We Are Entering Most Difficult Stage of Fight Against Pandemic

ZAGREB, October 29, 2020 - PM Andrej Plenkovic has said that Croatia is entering the most difficult stage in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic but that even though forecasts are a thankless task, judging by the current trends, the country seems to be slowlymoving away from the exponential growth of new infections.

"It is essential that our citizens understand that we are possibly entering the most difficult stage of the fight against the pandemic," Plenkovic told a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Plenkovic said that the number of new cases in the past few weeks had been increasing rapidly, that it was still growing significantly but that in the past few days the increase was a little slower than in the past few weeks.

"It seems that, judging by the current trends, we are slowly moving away from the exponential curve. The coming days and weeks will show whether that trend will continue. Unlike Germany, Italy and Austria, where that growth is much faster, our numbers are growing, but at a slower rate," he said.

He added that the latest anti-epidemic measures were proportional to developments regarding the epidemic and that the government wanted all citizens to be aware of the need to adhere to those measures.

"If they do, I believe that these indicators... will lead to a gradual decrease in the number of new cases and curb the epidemic in the next few critical weeks," underscored Plenkovic.

 A total of 2,776 new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Croatia in the last 24 hours, the largest number in a single day since the outbreak of the epidemic, and 18 people have died, the national coronavirus response team reported on Thursday.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Gov't to Provide HRK 7.5bn in Grants for Wages in Private Sector this Year

ZAGREB, October 22, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday that government allocations for workers' wages in the private sector would reach HRK 7.5 billion kuna by the end of this year.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has allocated HRK 6.85  billion to help private-sector companies ensure wages for their workers.

The proof that the government measures have been successful is data from the Croatian Pension Insurance Agency (HZMO) showing that there are currently 3,200 more pension insurees than at the outbreak of the corona crisis in late February, the premier said.

"The measures have been meaningful and efficient," he said, adding that they have helped many companies to survive and retain workers.

The PM said that a revision of the 2020 budget would be drafted next week.

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