Monday, 28 September 2020

Slovenia's Red List Includes Eight Croatian Counties

September 28, 2020 - Slovenia's red list includes eight Croatian counties on Sunday after the Slovenian Government adopted changes in the ranking of countries on its red, orange, and green list.

24ur.com reports that during a correspondence session, the Slovenian government adopted changes to the countries on the lists unsafe for travel during the corona era.

"The Government took note of the Assessment of the Epidemiological Situation in the European Union and the Schengen Area, the Balkans and selected Third Countries, the Assessment of the Epidemiological Situation in the Countries and the European Commission's Re-open EU Recommendation, as well as the Criteria per 100,000 inhabitants by country prepared by the National Institute of Public Health. It assessed the professional justification of the restrictions from the Ordinance on ordering and implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at border crossings at the external border, at checkpoints at internal borders, and in the Republic of Slovenia and decided that these restrictions should continue to apply," said the Slovenian Government on its website.

Thus, the red list includes 16 EU Member States and the Schengen area, with only administrative units with a poor epidemiological picture and 114 third countries with an uneven distribution of infections.

Regarding Croatia, the red list now includes Brod-Posavina, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Lika-Senj, Pozega-Slavonia, Sibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia, Virovitica-Podravina and Zadar counties. 

The orange list now includes the Croatian counties bordering the country. This means that from these areas, Slovenia can be entered with a negative coronavirus test and without having to quarantine.

Serbia and Poland are on the green list again, together with Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, and Finland, while neighboring Italy has been withdrawn from the green list. 

The changes take effect on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, and the lists are available here.

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Sunday, 6 September 2020

Croatian And Slovenian Divers Joined Forces To Remove Underwater Waste In Savudrija Bay

ZAGREB, Sept 6, 2020 - Croatian and Slovenian divers joined forces on Sunday as part of an environmental drive called "Cleaning Without Borders" to remove underwater waste in Savudrija Bay, the subject of a long-running border dispute between the two neighboring countries.

Over 150 divers from throughout Croatia and about 30 of their colleagues from Slovenia took part in the clean-up, removing dozens of bags of solid waste on both sides of the bay - in Piran, Savudrija, Veli Joze campsite, and Kempinski beach.

About 20 children participating in the 5th International Children's Diving Eco-Patrol also made their contribution.

"Drives like this are praiseworthy and that's the direction we should all be going for the environment," said the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Tomislav Coric.

The main objective of the drive was to clear the sea bed of waste as well as to draw attention to the global problem of sea pollution and raise public awareness of the importance of preserving the flora and fauna of the Adriatic Sea, Andreja Vedrina said on behalf of the organizers, Promocija Ronjenja.

"Projects like this contribute to the good neighborly relations which Croatia and Slovenia have fostered for many years, while the clean-up drive itself contributes to the preservation of the underwater world of the Adriatic Sea," Slovenian Environment Minister Andrej Vizjak said in a video message.

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Slovenian Official Says Croatia's COVID Situation Dramatic

ZAGREB, September 3, 2020 - The Slovenian government's spokesman for COVID-19 said on Thursday that due to the rise in infections in neighbouring states, Slovenia would next week revise its list of safe countries and that the daily rise of new infections in Croatia was dramatic.

Jelko Kacin ruled out the possibility of Croatia being put back on the green list of countries either as a whole state or some of its counties.

He was responding to a question from the press in Ljubljana about the situation in Croatia and the possibility of relaxing the current border crossing regime in light of suggestions of a regional and differentiated approach based on the epidemiological situation in each county.

The epidemiological situation in Croatia is rapidly deteriorating and becoming dramatic, Kacin said.

Croatia will soon have 100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, which is red list level. Split-Dalmatia County could have 200 and the number of infections in Istria County is also rising, he added.

Asked about the possible relaxation of border crossing measures for Croatian citizens wishing to visit the graves of their dear ones in Slovenia, notably in the border area, Kacin said the government was considering the possibility of an "elastic" solution.

That primarily refers to All Souls' Day, when the graves of predecessors are visited, he added.

 

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Free Holidays for Austrians and Slovenes this September and October

September 3, 2020 – A bold and open gesture from the winemaking industry on the Pelješac peninsula to appreciated neighbours – cost-free accommodation will allow free holidays for Austrians and Slovenes in September and October 2020

Of all the incentives to assist Croatian tourism in the troublesome year of 2020, this one may be the boldest. In order to show appreciation for visitors from two of Croatia's nearest neighbours, winemakers from the Pelješac peninsula are arranging to offer free holidays for Austrians and Slovenes in September and October 2020.

In an interview published in Slobodna Dalmacija just yesterday, famous Pelješac winemaker Mato Violić Matuško revealed the plan. Matuško is also president of the Pelješac Wine Routes, a forward-thinking initiative in and of itself. It has massively increased wine tourism on Pelješac with its joined-up approach and has managed to bring together many individuals operating with the winemaking and tourism sectors of the region. Who better to organise free holidays for Austrians and Slovenes at harvest time?

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Just one of the breathtaking views available on Pelješac. The peninsula is most famous for its incredible wines © Romulić & Stojčić

Winemakers who are members of the Pelješac Wine Routes Association are those who will be involved in offering the free holidays for Austrians and Slovenes. The plan is to offer free accommodation to Austrian and Slovene tourists in order to thank them in particular for their returning custom. Visitors from these nations are among the most frequent to come. The incentive also aims to bolster tourism numbers well past the point of late summer.

Although some revenue in accommodation rentals may be lost due to the offer, the idea is startlingly inventive. It is hoped money put into the local economy by visitors taking advantage of the free holidays for Austrians and Slovenes will benefit the wider population in what has been a difficult season for many. Austrians and Slovenes taking advantage of the incentive will also surely be offered some excellent Pelješac wine on their visit.

You can read here a TCN interview from August 2020 which also shows how the wines of Dubrovnik Neretva County have assisted in keeping visitor routes open during a difficult year for tourism in south Croatia  - Croatia Wine: ”Every Visit Is A Voyage Of Discovery”

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Monday, 31 August 2020

Plenkovic: I Believe Slovenia will Differentiate Between Croatian Counties

ZAGREB, Aug 31, 2020 - "I believe that together with the relevant authorities they too will approach the matter by differentiating between Croatian counties on the basis of the number of people infected," Plenkovic said after meeting with Jansa on the margins of the 15th Bled Strategic Forum.

Plenkovic said that Slovenia is closely monitoring the daily situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak in Croatia and is aware that Croatian counties like Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Lika-Senj have a relatively small number of people infected, even after the total number has increased at the state level.

"I believe that they will make that distinction," said Plenkovic.

Slovenia put Croatia on its red list in mid-August, introducing mandatory quarantine for anyone entering Slovenia from Croatia.

Plenkovic also had a bilateral meeting with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban has announced that Hungary will be closing its borders to all foreigners as of Tuesday. Hungarian citizens returning home will have to spend two weeks in isolation and have at least two negative Covid-19 test results.

The main reason for the ramped-up measures in Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria is the start of the school year which begins one week earlier than in Croatia, Plenkovic underlined.

"In a way that was expected. We managed to delay their measures as much as possible until the end of August so that Croatia's tourism season could be as good as possible," he added and concluded that not one country wanted to have restrictions in force for too long.

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Monday, 31 August 2020

Plenkovic Wants Coronavirus Red List To Take Counties Into Account

ZAGREB, Aug 31, 2020 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday that he would talk with Slovenian PM Janez Jansa about putting counties and not countries on the coronavirus red list.

Plenkovic and six other European prime ministers are attending the Bled Strategic Forum, and on the fringes, he will meet with Jansa and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban.

Speaking to the press, Andrej Plenkovic said the meetings would discuss "joint efforts to reduce infection and its cross-border effects."

In mid-August, Slovenia put Croatia on the coronavirus red list, which means mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving from Croatia. In order to avoid quarantine, many Slovenian tourists left Croatia.

"Our position is to attempt, notably in Slovenia, not just because of Croatia but also for the sake of numerous Slovenians who are our frequent and dear quests, to see the county level of infection as a criterion, something like Germany has done. I think there is room for that and that that is the best option."

He said the Bled Strategic Forum, the most important foreign policy event in Slovenia, was a good opportunity for European states to analyze their management of the coronavirus pandemic so far.

We can slowly sum up what has been good since January, he said, "what we have done well together, and how to respond together in the future when it comes to a vaccine, the procurement of medical and protective equipment."

Slovenian reporters asked him if he and Jansa would discuss the territorial dispute between the two neighboring states.

"Our position has been clear the entire time. We had Slovenia's initiative before the European Court in Luxembourg and you saw the decision, that it's not competent. We are still willing to talk about the border with Slovenia and our stance has not changed during my whole term," Plenkovic said, adding that it was necessary to find a "good, sustainable solution acceptable to both countries."

The 15th Bled Strategic Forum is focusing on Europe after Brexit and COVID-19. Also attending are Czech PM Andrej Babis, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Italian PM Giuseppe Conte is participating via video link.

The foreign ministers of Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Romania also arrived in Bled for a panel in which the EU High Representative for foreign and security policy, Josep Borrell, will also take part.

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Thursday, 20 August 2020

Croatia On Slovenia RED List. What Does That Actually Mean?

August 20, 2020 – Slovenians must quarantine if returning from Croatia after the weekend, but what are the implications of Croatia on Slovenia RED list?

Update on August 20, after the official placement of Croatia on Slovenia RED list by the Slovenian government was made public: in order to make things easier for their nationals currently vacationing in Croatia, Slovenia has decided to extend the deadline for the return to Slovenia until Monday. Slovenians who own real-estate and boats in Croatia are given an extra 48 hours, so they can take care of their property before leaving Croatia without self-isolating upon return. 

As reported in TCN yesterday, Slovenia has designated Croatia on Slovenia RED list as a country on its red list for travel. Sounds bad. But, what does it actually mean?

Well, for Slovenes, the choice is pretty simple – return home before the end of the weekend, or you'll face a mandatory two-week quarantine and Coronavirus test when you do. The quarantine and test will apply automatically to any Slovene travelling to Croatia after Friday.

But, what are the implications of Croatia on Slovenia RED list?

Well, the mandatory quarantine and test apply to any Croatian entering Slovenia after the weekend. There are exceptions – if you're just passing through, say, on your way to Austria or Germany, the quarantine doesn't apply. You'll have a maximum of 12 hours to travel into, through, and out of Slovenia. The same goes for delivery drivers who are just dropping off or picking up. You can stop for gas and use the WC. Special permits are also available for those who have to cross the border for daily trade.

Not such a big deal for Croats, then? Well, we'll have to wait and see. But, it doesn't look good. The economic implications could bite much harder.

From June, Slovenians have accounted for 7 million overnight stays in Croatia. As reported continuously in TCN's 2020 travel and tourism coverage, regional tourism - lead by those travelling by car – has accounted for the largest number of arrivals this year. Numbers of Slovenes holidaying in Croatia are actually up by as much as 3 percent compared to the same period last year.

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In 2020, visitors from Croatia's next-door neighbour have been more important - and more numerous - than ever before, until Croatia on Slovenia RED list

According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, Slovenes accounted for 8.7% of arrivals and 11.5% of overnight stays in total over 2019, second only to Germans. During this 2020 season, in which their custom is more important than ever, the financial impact on Croatia may be much more damaging than that incurred from similarly imposed classifications by Austria and Italy, who recently announced mandatory testing for all returnees.

The peak days of the season are already behind us but, truth be told, the season only began in earnest a month ago. There was no pre-season this year. Hopes of an extended season, based on the optimistic numbers of July / early August, now seem to be dashed, due to the rise in number of COVID-19 infections. Certainly from the Slovenian market.

Will Slovenes and others accept a mandatory quarantine in exchange for their annual break on the Croatian coast? Some may. Surely, some won't. Any Slovenes planning trips in late August or September have been given serious cause to reconsider, thanks to the new classification. School and work start again in September – how does a two-week mandatory quarantine fit into that schedule?

Nobody really knows how long the 'red card' Slovenia has given Croatia will last, nor when it will end. The answer presumably lies in Croatia's ability to address its number of newly infected. Before all criticism for the stranglehold this classification places on the 2020 season is attributed to Slovenia, Croatia must first ask itself some tough questions; could Croatia – from staff and owners in the service industry, right the way up to state level - have done more to keep the numbers down? For it is the numbers now that can help save the remainder of Croatia's 2020 tourist season, not the Slovenes.

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Slovenia to Keep Croatia on 'Green List' of Safe Countries

June 30, 2020 - Croatia will remain on Slovenia's 'green list' of safe countries to visit this year without needing to quarantine for 14 days upon return. 

24 Sata24 Sata reports that Jelko Kacin, the Slovenian government's spokesman for COVID-19, wrote on Twitter that the Croatian government has decided to take over their patterns of behavior and will close nightclubs, discos and cancel major events

He added that they, therefore, accepted the decision not to remove Croatia from the list of safe countries.

"We are giving Croatia the opportunity to slow down the growth of the infection with consistent measures," Kacin added.

Croatia was the focus of today's conference of the Slovenian government, where the National Institute of Public Health said that the number of cases in Croatia is declining and that with the measures we are preparing, we will be able to maintain this trend.

Recall, due to the increase in the number of cases in Croatia, Slovenia has considered removing Croatia from the list of 'green' countries. It is not a matter of the government intimidating Slovenian tourists or advising them not to go to those countries, but they must behave responsibly and very carefully and not risk getting infected, Kacin explained yesterday.

In addition, a binding 14-day quarantine is not required when returning from these countries, but those who go to such destinations must be responsible and act very carefully, he explained. So you should contact doctors as soon as you notice symptoms upon return or pay special attention to distancing if they are in Croatia.

In the last 24 hours, 15 new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Slovenia, the Slovenian government announced on Tuesday.

Thus, the number of total confirmed infections has increased to 1,600 since the beginning of the epidemic, and it is estimated that another 101 are active cases of infection. So far, there have been 111 deaths among those infected, and there are currently eight patients in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, the health ministry said.

The decision, which is in line with what Kacin states, is also that of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the City of Novalja, which decided last night that there will be no festivals on Zrce this year.

"In the area of ​​Zrce beach, in agreement with the owners of clubs and festivals, no electronic music festival has been organized so far, nor does the City of Novalja want to issue any consent for holding music events on Zrce beach. Given the recent events in the Republic of Croatia, and related to the appearance of coronavirus in some nightclubs, today the Headquarters decided that this summer tourist season will not issue approvals to clubs and concessionaires on Zrce beach for festivals, after parties and similar parties. The same applies to party boats," they said in a statement.

They add that after reaching the conclusion in contact with the mayor of Kolan, Marin Pernjak, an identical conclusion was agreed that will be reached during the day at the session of the Civil Protection Headquarters of Kolan, which applies to the club Noa and other smaller clubs.

To read more breaking news in Croatia, follow. TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Croatian and Slovenian Ministers Talk Cooperation After Corona Crisis

ZAGREB, May 28, 2020 - Croatian and Slovenian economy ministers, Darko Horvat and Zdravko Pocivalsek, met on Wednesday in Mursko Sredisce for the talks on economic cooperation after the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and on better connectivity with the construction of a new bridge across the Mura River.

After the meeting on the bridge across the Mura River and in the office of the mayor of the Croatian border town of Mursko Sredisce, Minister Horvat said that both economies were cooperating very well and they were the top five strongest trade partners to each other.

They pledged to make sure that the bilateral cooperation should be raised as soon as possible to the level it was prior to the corona crisis.

"We agree that the corona threat has warned us and compelled us to develop much better cooperation in the segment of the common European market but also as two countries that have very good economic relations," said Horvat.

With reference to Croatia's current presidency of the European Union and future chairmanship by Slovenia In the second half of 2021, he added that the two countries have been cautious when it comes to the aim of having climate-neutral industries by 2050 and where to find favourable funding to reach that target.

Minister Pocivalsek recalled that last year was a record year for trade between Croatia and Slovenia, exceeding €6 billion.

"We have to take pride that we overcame the corona crisis as far as the health aspect is concerned better than countries that are more advanced and economically developed than us. That gives me hope that we will turn this year's negative trends into positive figures. And they will be better if we cooperate better," Pocivalsek said.

He added that the first step to open the borders has been taken by allowing the owners of properties and vessels to enter the country and that as of June 1, the border should be opened for tourists.

The two ministers discussed the construction of a new bridge across the Mura River and a bypass around Mursko Sredisce which would relieve this northern Croatian town of freight traffic in the centre of town. Horvat said that determining junction points was important for the preparation of project documents for the new bridge and bypass road.

Mayor Drazen Sprak said that the road was not only important for the town but that it would also connect the Slovenian motorway from Graz through Maribor towards Budapest and Croatia's motorway from the Hungarian border at Gorican towards Zagreb and then on to Rijeka and Split.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Croatia, Slovenia to Initial Agreement Simplifying Border-Crossing Procedure

ZAGREB, May 21, 2020 - By the end of this week Croatia and Slovenia are expected to initial an agreement that would simplify cross-border travel for the two countries' nationals, after their border was recently reopened, but with significant waiting times for those wishing to cross it.

Slovenian government spokesman Jelko Kacin said on Thursday that the two countries' police commanders had agreed that by the end of the week they would initiate an agreement that would facilitate cross-border travel for Croatian and Slovenian nationals, that would cut waiting time.

Considering their similar epidemiological situations, the two countries have already opened their border for cross-border travel.

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in Slovenia in the last 24 hours and one person has died. So far, 1,468 people have been infected and 105 have died, the government said.

The number of hospitalised patients has been on the decline, and currently 21 people are being treated in hospital, including three in intensive care units.

According to the Slovenian Health Ministry, there are only 20 active infections, which enables the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Kacin said that Croatian border police would soon have an application to enable Slovenians who frequently travel to Croatia, after they register with the application for the first time and state their personal information, to be allowed across the border faster than now.

Slovenia plans to sign agreements on cross-border travel with other neighbouring countries as well, Kacin said, adding that the first country on that wish list was Austria.

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