Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Resident Brits in Croatia: Wrongly Stamped Passport Won't Affect Rights

September the 1st, 2021 - We have been receiving many reports of resident Brits in Croatia having their UK passports stamped at the border when entering and/or exiting Croatia. While this shouldn't be happening, these stamps are just a meaningless little souvenir and will not have any effects on your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

Brexit has been done and dusted, and while there are still growing pains, the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has overshadowed most of the infighting and arguing between the bloc and the Northern European island nation. With the economic part of the new relationship between the bloc, of which the UK was a powerful member for 40 years, and the UK still finding its feet, the situation with citizens' rights which plagued those affected for years has all but been cleared up.

There are, just like with everything else, certain issues still. One issue is resident Brits in Croatia having their British passports stamped upon entry and exit. It is important to state that this isn't happening all the time, but it is still happening where it shouldn't be. Here's how you can try to avoid it, and if it does happen, don't sweat it.

If you are a resident Brit in Croatia covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you'll already (hopefully anyway) have your new ID/residence card which documents that right under Paragraph 4, Article 18 of the Agreement. This protects you and your acquired rights as you had exercised them under the freedom of movement laws which once applied to you as an EU citizen.

When crossing the Croatian border (either entering or exiting), you should always show your Croatian ID/residence card along with your British passport to the border guard in order to avoid any questioning as to your reason for entry/your reason for having been in the country and to showcase your rights.

We've been receiving reports, as stated previously, from Brits who are covered by the WA, some of which had permanent residence before Brexit even happened, who are now having their passports stamped by Croatian border guards. Naturally, this makes them worry for their rights and wonder why they, as legal tax paying residents, are being lumped in with visiting British tourists.

We have investigated why this is happening and have been assured that although it shouldn't be, it isn't anything to be concerned about and it doesn't affect your rights in any way whatsoever. The stamps can be looked upon as a little souvenir which carry no weight. As long as you can evidence that you are a legal resident of Croatia, any stamps you might have collected on your trips in and out of Croatia are meaningless.

Hopefully, as the consequences of Brexit settle and the UK and the EU's new relationship becomes the norm, such situations will stop happening. In any case, there is no need to worry about Croatian passport stamps in the UK passports of resident Brits in Croatia.

If you're a serial stamp collector despite having shown the border guard your ID/residence card and this article fails in easing your concerns, you can contact the British Embassy in Zagreb and voice your worries by clicking here.

For more, make sure to follow our politics section.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Can Croatia Follow the British Model? Epidemiologist Bernard Kaic Weighs In

July the 25th, 2021 - Under what conditions exactly could Croatia afford to fully open up again? With all eyes on the enviable vaccination rate of the British population and the final, total opening up of that Northern European island nation's society on the 19th of July, questions are being asked. Croatian epidemiologist Bernard Kaic sought to answer some questions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, epidemiologist Bernard Kaic says that the number of older and potentially clinically vulnerable people who haven't yet been vaccinated is still much too high in Croatia. In his opinion, the response to vaccination in the last few weeks has been much more solid because between 5,000 and 10,000 people are being vaccinated with their first dose on a daily basis, and between 10,000 and 15,000 are receiving their second dose.

Over recent says, the whole world has been busy closely following the events in Great Britain, where, despite the growing number of coronavirus patients, almost all epidemiological measures have been abolished since Monday, Novi list writes. Concert halls, clubs and stadiums are open with almost no restrictions, but some scientists warn that this is a risky experiment to undertake with some uncertain consequences.

The British authorities estimated that, with the relatively high vaccination rate in that country, the time had come to open up and stop living in a world in which we do nothing but think about the novel coronavirus.

Epidemiologist Bernard Kaic, head of the CNIPH's Epidemiology Service, says that the British experience in the coming weeks, if their opening up proves justified, will be able to serve as an example to other countries, but only to those with high vaccination coverage. Croatia isn't in that club yet. The United Kingdom has vaccinated almost 70 percent of the population with the first dose, and 55 percent with the second. Among those who are older and more vulnerable, the vaccination rate in the UK is as high as 85 percent.

''I don't know what will happen in Great Britain, time will tell. This depends on how protected by vaccination those who are the main candidates for hospitalisation, primarily older people, actually are. As far as I understand, they've achieved great vaccination coverage among those people there and are counting on not filling hospital beds up because the elderly are protected and the young are suffering from milder forms of the disease they can cope with at home. Whether that will be the case or not will be revealed in a few weeks,'' stated Bernard Kaic.

The main condition for the introduction of the British model in another country is a high vaccination coverage of the population, until Croatia manages to join that club, it doesn't seem like a British-style grand opening is on the cards.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, testing and quarantine rules, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Croatian Surf n Fries Opening in New European Locations: Croatia and UK

July the 8th, 2021 - The Croatian Surf n Fries company, which has since expanded to numerous locations across the Republic of Croatia, Europe and the rest of the world, is set to open its doors in more locations across the country and in the United Kingdom.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although a good part of the total of 54 locations in the world where the Croatian Surf n Fries fast food chain franchises operate couldn't even be opened due to the measures put in place owing to the pandemic, Andrija Colak's project has far from gone stagnant.

In the meantime, a mobile facility has been opened on the island of Rab, a fixed store is being opened in Osijek, and a contract has been signed for opening a location in Brighton, UK, and it will be the Croatian Surf n Fries' first fixed location in the UK, Colak revealed on Tuesday.

"Throughout the pandemic, the number of franchises didn't fall, but there was no significant growth, and the biggest challenge is that due to the closures and lockdowns we couldn't realise the contract we had at bars at stadiums in France and the UK, which was signed almost a year ago," said Colak.

As is already known, back in September 2020, a contract was signed with the company Rapid Retail, and Croatian Surf n Fries food was set to be eaten at famous European stadiums, from Old Trafford in Manchester to the Stade de France, the French national stadium in Paris.

As the pandemic has so far banned gatherings in stadiums, the deal sadly hasn't come to fruition. Meanwhile, the Croatian Surf n Fries team is still developing its innovation of a machine that throws fresh french fries out into a cardboard box. So far, the only vending machine of the sort has been installed in Plodine in Rijeka.

"In addition to all of the above, we're working on the transformation of the menu, we're strengthening our chicken segment, which is increasingly popular in the fast food business, with the stagnation of beef. In addition, we're expanding the menu from "snack" to "full menu", introducing breakfast, while our focus is still on quality ingredients and local suppliers. We're also working on the introduction of retail products in the offer such as crisps, which will do well on the back of the already well-known brand of our fries,'' pointed out Andrija Colak.

For more, follow our business section.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Brits Living in Croatia Have Until June 30 to Register for New Status

June the 5th, 2021 - 2021 has so far flown by in the blink of an eye and summer is knocking at Croatia's door. Brits living in Croatia must make sure to register for their new status via the declaratory system MUP has set up before the 30th of June this year in order to have a carefree summer.

The UK's Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU. The UK opted for something called Pre-settled and Settled status.

Different EU countries opted for different approaches to enshrining the rights of their resident British nationals following the UK's withdrawal from the bloc, and Croatia chose a declaratory system by which legally resident Brits simply register for a new residence card/document which evidences their acquired rights.

Instead of writing in full what needs to be done again for those who missed the last article, I'll simply link it here.

Brits living in Croatia need to follow the instructions provided in the above link for their specific situation. If you're a temporary resident and haven't yet gained permanent residence in Croatia, the procedure will be slightly different for you as in some cases you might (or you might not) be asked to provide more documents in order to determine your basis for continuing to live in Croatia.

In any case, be ready to have more documents on hand in case you're asked for them.

If you're a permanent resident already and became one before the UK's transition period ended on December the 31st, 2020, you are no longer subject to any requirements and the system of declaration will be very simple.

More information about what might be asked of you and what you'll need to provide, as well as the corresponding forms you need to fill in when submitting your documents depending on your current status (temporary or permanent resident) are provided in the link above. The email addresses of each administrative police station are also provided, as your registration must go to the police station responsible for your area of registered residence.

A quick jargon buster:

This is a declaration system to evidence your acquired rights, this isn't a new application for a new status.

You need to have been legally registered as living in Croatia in order to fall into the scope of protection offered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The registration procedure is free, you only need to pay for new photos (if you don't already have some on hand) and just under 80 kuna as an admin fee for the new card to be made.

If Brits living in Croatia fail to submit their documents for registration for their new residence cards, they will not lose their rights, but may face an administrative fine and potential complications which aren't worth the hassle. Make sure to register for your new cards and before the end of this month. Don't risk your rights.

For more, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Friends of Croatia: British Embassy - Brexit an Opportunity to Deepen Already Good Relationship

May 20, 2021 - The fifth article in the series "Friends of Croatia: British Embassy", saw TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac sit down with the UK Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish and discuss all things regarding diplomatic relations between the UK and Croatia. Diplomatic relations are, overall, really good and developing well, with Brexit being a challenge, but also an opportunity for deeper bilateral cooperation between the two European nations.

The diplomatic relations between the UK and the Republic of Croatia were formally established on June the 24th, 1992.

Almost 29 years later, I found myself in front of the Ambassador's residence and being warmly greeted by Snježana Vukić, the British Ambassador's advisor for communications. If you're inclined to think in stereotypes, you would expect a cup of tea, but instead, the cup of coffee with the creamy flat white texture turned out to be a much better beverage during the interview—both for me and for the Ambassador.

''We can sit wherever you like'', said Ambassador Andrew Stuart Dalgleish as he welcomed me inside the premises. A warm, kind, competent communicator that evened out the serious conversation about diplomatic topics with occasional humorous remarks to ensure both had an enjoyable and informative talk. The pins of both British and Croatian flags on his left coat lapel turned out to be a visual clue to the notion the friendship the UK and Croatia has long since held is still going well.

 

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TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac with Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish © British Embassy Zagreb

Croatia and UK sharing western values

Andrew Dalgleish has served the UK as the Ambassador in Croatia since July 2016. He graduated with First Class Honours Degree in European Law at the University of Warwick, which included a year at Bordeaux University IV studying French Law. From 1998-1999 he worked in the Department of Social Security. His extensive knowledge of European law saw him work in UKREP (the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union) from 1999 to 2004, firstly as the Second Secretary for Social Affairs, and from May 2001 as a First Secretary for the Environment.

That same passion for the environment led him to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), where he was the Project Manager for the Climate Change effort during the UK Presidency of the EU, and he also represented the EU in UNFCCC plenary meetings. In his service to DEFRA from 2006 to 2008, he participated in the creation of the Office of Climate Change (2006), and moved to be the Deputy Head of Group, in Environmental Land Management too. From 2008 to 2011, Dalgleish continued working as the Head of the European Union Strategy Department, where he held preparations ahead of the Prime Minister’s European Council briefings and assisting other ministries in shaping deliverable policies; coordinating influencing strategies and lobbying efforts within the EU.

''I should tell you, I'd never been to Croatia before I arrived here professionally, and I'm one of those rare British people who hasn't been here on holiday“, Dalgleish began as I asked him about his impressions of the country, and of course, of Croats.

''What struck me the most was the warmth of the people, the welcome, general sense of friendliness. Croats are really proud of their country, and quite rightly so, and they also really want you to love the country too,'' said the Ambassador, adding that the Croats he met took him to lots of places and restaurants where he discovered various new dishes.

He continued that one of the delights of Croatia in his opinion is its variety, and he finds it impossible to pick one location that fascinated him the most.

''I remember going to Vučedol near Vukovar, and it was mindblowing. The walking that I can do in Žumberak, not far from Zagreb is fantastic. You go to Brijuni and you have Roman ruins, or you go to Poreč and you've got the basilica there, or Vis, which is a paradise,'' he stated in his list.

His description of Croats as warm and friendly seems to demonstrate to what we could call Croatian values. But, what are British values? When asked this question, Dalgleish argued that these are habits we may consider to be national characteristics, but they aren't values, per-se.

''Brits are very proud of the idea that we believe in fair play, that will we do the right thing even if we lose the game. Maybe that's why we're terrible at sports,'' the Ambassador said with a touch of humour as he was describing the national characteristics of British citizens.

While stating that Croats should be asked what the UK is most famous for in Croatia, as an Smbassador who frequently talks to Croats, he did manage to come up with some conclusions on the issue.

''Football, clubs such as Chelsea or Manchester City, but also the British sense of humour. Croats laugh at similar things as we do. So much British TV is here, and the cultural exchange is really, really important as well,'' said the Ambassado,r referring to cult shows such as Only Fools and Horses (Croatian: Mucke).

''The Royal Family is very recognisable here, too. I think lots of interest and affection is shown for the Royal Family, and of course our brilliant 'weather' “, the Ambassador added.

When it comes to joint values, the Ambassador noticed that Croatia and the United Kingdom share many opinions that are neither Croatian nor British values, but rather a Western, European, or even Transatlantic view of the world.

''This encompasses a wide range of things that we very often take for granted but which are the foundations of our societies", explained the Ambassador, citing examples the freedom of the media or the rule of law.

''The democracies we live in, embrace and find to be a really important foundation are what we need to protect and defend for the sake of our societies.''

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 Zagreb Pride, Ambassador Dalgleish with other diplomatic colleagues during Zagreb Pride © British Embassy Zagreb 

Things could be better at the commercial level, but there have been improvements...

The values ambassador Dalgeish described are the basis of diplomatic relations between Britain and Croatia, but how good is this relationship, actually? Where is it at its best, and where is it at its worst, where can things be better?

''The starting point is that diplomatic relations are really, really good, and I feel lucky that the cooperation our two countries enjoy is overwhelmingly positive,'' said the Ambassador. He added that as in any close relationship, two countries might disagree about something, but to the British Ambassador, being able to disagree and be fine with that is also a sign of a strong relationship.

''One great expression of our cooperation is NATO where we're really good, very close partners,'' continued the Ambassador, even referring to the recent DEFENDER-Europe-21 exercise in Zadar.

In addition to that, the recent visit of Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team to Croatia's Krila Oluje Pilots is also a good sign of cooperation and mutual friendship. 

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The Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team and the Ambassador © British Embassy Zagreb

''Croatia occupies an almost unique position in terms of expertise that it can give on Southeastern Europe, as well as comprehensive understanding of what is a very complicated situation in this region,'' he said.

''All of this is very good, strong and positive, and it makes a global impact, and it's not just about how our two countries get along,'' he said.

The Ambassador also added that both Croatia and the UK are members of the Global Media Freedom Pledge and stand for freedom in the media. He also works very closely with both the Croatian Government and Croatian president Zoran Milanović to promote awareness of the threat of climate change.

''You'd expect me to say I communicate the most with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it would be true, it's where diplomatic relations are grown in a formal way. But I also communicate with all branches of the Government, with Parliament and with Pantovčak. Just today, I've been to the ''Dr Fran Mihaljević'' Clinic for Infectious Disease in Zagreb where I talked with its director, Professor Alemka Markotić, about what we can do about COVID-19“, added the Ambassador.

However, as expected, there are areas in which British-Croatian cooperation could be much better.

''Where I'd like things to be better, speaking very frankly, is in commercial relations. The UK has been less present on Croatian market and less accessible due to simple geography, especially when compared to the likes of Austria or Germany. When I arrived here, this is where I said I'd want to try to make a difference. I have made a difference, I hope. A small difference, but its a difference in the right direction, and the commercial relationship is better for that today,'' said the Ambassador.

These small steps saw trade in goods between the United Kingdom and Croatia increase by about 10% in the past few years, a good indicator of how things have been advancing, regardless of the concerns in the past that Brexit might affect it negatively.

''We've also seen investments from the Croatian side into the UK increase in the past few years – for example, Mate Rimac has just opened his research & development centre in the UK – we did help facilitate that through our Department for International Trade (DIT)“, added Ambassador.

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UK Minister Greg Hands and Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish with Mate Rimac in Rimac Automobili © British Embassy Zagreb

In addition, the Ambassador used every opportunity to facilitate business and trade contacts between the UK and Croatia. When UK State Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade, Greg Hands, visited Croatia last month, the Ambassador hosted a dinner for him with several leading Croatian business figures for both sides to explore how they might further improve business connections between the two countries.

On top of that, the recent confirmation from the Justice Ministry that British citizens may purchase property in Croatia only further benefited the development of trading between the two European countries.

Leaving the table for face to face conversation

The cooperation Ambassador Dalgeish described sounds great, but when it comes to diplomatic relations with the UK, the elephant in the room screams out in need of a special mention. Brexit remains a hot topic for the British public, and as Croatia is a member of the EU, what changes can Croatia expect in diplomatic relations with the UK as the European island nation which chose to step away from the bloc?

Dalgleish sees Brexit both as a challenge and as an opportunity to deepen diplomatic relations between the UK and Croatia.

''With 28 members states as it was before, you had so many people around the table that when ministers came together for a council meeting, there were just too many people to have a meaningful conversation one on one. So you'd say ''see you in Brussels'', and you would, and you'd wave, and you'd smile, and you might even say hello. But you don't have a meaningful conversation all the time,'' said Ambassador Dalgeish from his own recollection as he spent a lot of time in Brussels.

''We aren't at that table anymore. That means we're going to have to make more of an effort but also that we will have the opportunity to build a more meaningful relationship with Croatia and I think that's quite exciting for me in the job that I do,'' said ambassador Dalgleish calmly but optimistically.

''Whereas before, our bilateral business might have been conducted during these convenient moments in Brussels at these meetings, that doesn't happen anymore. Now, we will hold them in London, and we will hold them in Zagreb. I think that's quite the opportunity to build something more meaningful than what we had in Brussels,'' stated the Ambassador.

As the UK has a massive impact on the world and can boast of very strong diplomatic relations with other big players on the geopolitical stage, I wondered how important the relationship with Croatia actually is, from the UK's point of view, and in regards to the country's interest in global affairs. 

''We look at Croatia as a global partner, and not just from the point of what we get from this bilaterally, but in what we're doing together to make a difference; Croatia sits as a partner,'' the Ambassador pointed out.

Already having mentioned the importance of Croatia's knowledge on Southeastern Europe and the instances of good cooperation through NATO, and issues such as climate change or COVID-19, the British Ambassador's claims are evidently backed up.

''I was sent here by the Foreign Secretary with a very serious mission to deepen the strength of the cooperation that we enjoy. It's a very important mission for me, and I think that's a reflection of how seriously we take the relationship with Croatia,'' confirmed the Ambassador.

The British Royal Family has always been very welcome in Croatia

The Ambassador already mentioned cultural exchange, and the British Embassy as an institution plays a significant role in the cultural promotion of the country. But, given the UK consists of four nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is it possible to represent all these cultures equally? Being Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II's Ambassador and representing the United Kingdom of Great Britain And Northern Ireland, Dalgeish shows his dedication to the job by equally representing all of the UK's four nations.

''We will proudly fly the St. George's Cross when it's St George's Day for England, but also the Saltire (Scottish flag), when it's St. Andrew's Day. I wouldn't say there is one element of the four nations that is dominant,'' said the Ambassador.

Culture is heavily linked with history, and the UK has been known in the past as a vast empire with colonies that are sovereign independent countries today. As Croatia was never colonised by the UK, are there any differences between the UK's relations with Croatia compared to other countries?

''The UK has a very long list of diplomatic relations, both with the countries who are part of Commonwealth, who were previously colonies, and with countries who were not colonised. So, there's no difference in forming a relationship with Croatia in comparison to such countries. There's nothing I can do about what happened in 1600's or 1700's, but I want to see what we can do in 2021,'' said the Ambassador, stating that the Ambassador's job is to look ahead, not backwards, to work on building the future, while acknowledging all the sensitivities of the past.

As the Ambassador already mentioned, his regular cooperation with the official bodies of the Republic of Croatia is the formal level of communication, while cultural exchange also has a key element in non-formal communication, particularly in education.

''I love going to schools. Talking to the kids about what they think about the UK, and what can they teach me about Croatia, and going to English lessons and causing chaos,'' said the Ambassador on his experiences with the school system in Croatia.

With the mention of the school system in Croatia, I couldn't help but recall my experience in education. Croatians seem to be quite talented when it comes English, but it is mostly pushed towards the American version of English.

''Oh yes I know, it's tragic,'' Ambassador Dalgleish joked in response when I shared my recollections.

He continued by saying that he is happy to see Croats speaking English so excellently, and he doesn't mind what version they learned, nor does he have any intention to have British English compete with American English.

''I don't hear too many American accents when talking to Croats, maybe it has something to do with British TV shows, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. But either way Croats should be very proud of how well they speak English,'' he concluded.

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Ambassador Dalgleish on the Royal Wedding Party in Split © British Embassy Zagreb

As also already mentioned, the Royal Family is a big part of the of the fabric of Britain as it is a parliamentary monarchy.

The Royal family, particularly Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla seem to be very fond of Croatia indeed. Their last visit back in 2016 (following the Prince's earlier visit in 1996) saw the meeting with former Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković, former President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, for whom Prince Charles highlighted his particular interest in the Croatian economy, as well as an interest in investing in Croatian youth. They also attended the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous English writer and poet William Shakespeare at the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb.

''Their Christmas card even had a photo of them with the members of a folk band from Osijek“, said Ambassador Dalgleish referring to the photo the British Royals took with the dancers of the HKUD 1862 ensemble.

And as Glas Slavonije reported, Osijek is very special to Prince Charles as his Great Grandfather Franz von Teck was born there.

Most recently, however, the Royal Family suffered a tragic loss as the much-loved Prince Philip passed away. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed his deep condolences to Queen Elizabeth II publicly on Twitter, but as the Ambassador pointed out, he also sent condolences through official channels. Social media and overall technological progress now allows world leaders to communicate more directly, but it doesn't diminish the role of the British Embassy.

''Everyone who wanted to express their condolences, expressed them, from Pantovčak, to Parliament and the Government. Social media is an additional tool for us regarding public statements, but of course, embassies remain here for those sensitive issues that need to be discussed Government to Government, not over social media. We're also here for our citizens, and we can't be present in the whole country, so travelling, but also social media, are also very important here,'' explained the Ambassador.

The always attractive Dubrovnik was found to be the best example when it comes to culture in the country, as Game of Thrones and Star Wars were filmed there.

In the UK, the film industry, in addition to private incentives, gets financial support from the state, as the British Film Institute (BFI) is sponsored by a Government department. Following the examples of Star Wars and GoT, could there be more promotion from the BFI of Dubrovnik or Croatia in general as a good filming location?

''I don't really need to say anything about Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik speaks for itself, and more Brits visit Dubrovnik annually than anyone else,'' said the Ambassador with delight.

But if Dubrovnik did happen to need a good word or two; the Ambassador stated that he is not the tourist bord, and promoting Dubrovnik is not part of his duties.

''If someone from the UK contacts me and says that wants to film anywhere in Croatia, but is facing problems, then I'm here. But in general, the less I need to intervene, the better“, said the Ambassador adding that he found out about UK film producers filming in Croatia after it had already happened. One of the more recent examples of that was the filming of the ''The Ipcress File'' series in Zagreb, and the fact that the ambassador didn't need to intervene again only proves the steady and good relations between the nations.

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Ambassador Dalgleish, other Ambassadors and Croatian officials attending a Mass for all victims of WW2 at the Zagreb cathedral © British Embassy Zagreb

British and Croatian Ambassadors: Swapping countries but closely talking and cooperating

Foreign embassies, of course, are in Croatia for foreign citizens, and the British Embassy is no exception to that rule.

In addition to the British Embassy and a consul in Zagreb, the UK has two additional consuls: in Split and Dubrovnik, to make sure it is present for UK citizens, not just visitors, but also for Brits who work and live in Croatia.

''We have an honorary consul in Dubrovnik, which isn't officially part of the embassy, but is there to assist our citizens visiting Dubrovnik,'' pointed out Ambassador Dalgleish praising honorary consul Mark Thomas for doing a great job.

When it comes to Croats, visas to visit the UK are luckily not needed, but Croatian citizens can contact the embassy to get more information about Great Britain should they need to.

''When it comes to trying to invest in the British market or getting their products or expertise into the UK, Croats need to contact the Croatian Embassy in London. I'm frequently in contact with the Croatian Ambassador there, Igor Pokaz, who is doing a brilliant job for our two countries to fund and nurture different ways of cooperation,'' explained the Ambassador when discussing his relationship with the Croatian Ambassador in London, Igor Pokaz.

Overall, British-Croatian diplomatic relations are good in general, and the Ambassador's assurance that Brexit can be an opportunity to deepen the already good relationship is a promise to the bright future of friendship. But, as it takes two to have a combo as good as fish & chips, Croatia also has to show that it is willing to continue to develop a good friendship with the UK.

If you're a British citizen or a Croatian citizen in need of information, here is how you can reach a British diplomatic mission in Croatia:

In Zagreb:

British Embassy

Adress: Ivana Lučića 4

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone number: +385 1 60 09 100

British Council (for cultural realations):

Adress: Savska 32

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone number: +385 1 48 99 504

More info on British Council official website.

In Split:

British Consulate

Adress: Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 10/III

Phone number: +385 1 60 09 100

In Dubrovnik:

British Honourary Consulate

Address: PP 454

Phone number: + 385 1 60 09 100

For all the latest news about the British Embassy straight from the source, visit their official website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Youtube, FlickrInstagram and Twitter (the British Ambassador is on Twitter and Instagram too).

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about UK - Croatia relations, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Justice Ministry Confirms: Brits Can Purchase Croatian Property

May the 11th, 2021 - With Brexit finally over after what seemed like an endless period of news headlines about the 2016 referendum which caused a deep rift for the British public with the question of all questions - mopping up and tying up loose ends has begun. The Justice Ministry has just confirmed that Brits may purchase Croatian property.

As UK in Croatia, the British Embassy in Croatia's platform announced on Twitter, British nationals are free to purchase Croatian property despite no longer being citizens of the EU. 

As the Ministry of Justice writes, if you're a citizen or a legal entity from any of the EU member states, you acquire the right of ownership of property in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions valid for the acquisition of ownership for Croatian citizens and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia. In this case, you do not need the consent of the Minister of Justice and Administration in order to acquire Croatian property rights.

If you're a citizen of the Swiss Confederation, you acquire the right of ownership of real estate in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions that apply to the acquisition of property rights for citizens of the Republic of Croatia and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia, except in the case of property in what are listed as exempt locations, and again, the consent of the Minister of Justice is not required to purchase Croatian property. When submitting a proposal for registration of ownership to the competent land registry court, you should enclose with other documentation a confirmation of your application for temporary residence.

Foreign nationals from outside the EU and the Swiss Confederation

Giving consent for the acquisition of property rights of foreign persons in the Republic of Croatia is decided in administrative proceedings at the request of a foreign person intending to puchase Croatian property or otherwise acquire ownership of a property, if you're a citizen of a country with which there is reciprocity with Croatia in this regard.

The procedure is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Property and the Law on General Administrative Procedure. The request (which must be written) must be submitted directly to the competent office or sent by mail to the following address:

Ministry of Justice and Administration of the Republic of Croatia
Directorate for Civil, Commercial and Administrative Law
Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000 Zagreb

The written request must be accompanied by:

- The legal basis for the acquisition of ownership (a purchase contract, a gift contract, a maintenance contract, etc.) in the original or a certified copy,

- Proof of ownership of the seller of the property in question, ie an excerpt from the land register,

- A certificate of the administrative body responsible for urban planning and physical planning, according to the place where the property is located, on the legal status of the property (example: whether or not the property is located within the construction area provided by the urban plan), 

- Proof of citizenship of the acquirer (a certified copy of their passport, etc.) or proof of the status of a legal entity (such as an excerpt from the court register), if the acquirer is a foreign legal entity,

- In the case of the applicant being represented by a proxy, it is then necessary to submit proof of the handing over og power of attorney in an original or a certified copy,

- If the applicant hasn't appointed a proxy to represent them, and is located abroad, then they're obliged to appoint a proxy to receive letters of residence in the Republic of Croatia,
proof of a paid administrative fee in the amount of 35.00 kuna in accordance with Tar. no. 88 item 1 of the Regulation on the Tariff of Administrative Fees.

An administrative fee also needs to be paid for the decision on the application for approval to acquire property ownership rights in the Republic of Croatia in the amount of 70.00 kuna, and for any possible supplement to the application (in case certain documents are missing, etc) in the amount of 15.00 kuna.

A quick remark:

The party shall be invited to submit, within a reasonable period of time implied, other documents, if they are deemed necessary in the proceedings.

Administrative fees in the amount of up to 100.00 kuna can end up needing to be paid, and regardless of the amount, fees can be paid through the e-fee system and to the prescribed account, or through a universal payment order to the account of the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN HR1210010051863000160
Enter the number 64 (model) in the first box of the universal order
Enter (in the second field) the universal order number 5002

In the case of the payment being made by a Croatian citizen, their OIB must be entered next to the number 5002, and in the case when the foreseen amount is paid by a foreigner, then the number 721 and their OIB must be entered after the number 5002.

Proof of payment of the administrative fee must be attached by the person submitting the request, or by their proxy, together with all other necessary documentation.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 7 May 2021

DEFENDER-Europe-21: Zadar Doing Its Part in Large NATO Exercise

May 7, 2021 - As part of NATO, Croatia participates in a large military exercise called DEFENDER-Europe-21, and UK and US navy ships arrived in Zadar with valuable equipment to be distributed among training areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Large-scale, multinational, and army-lead, DEFENDER-Europe is a joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO, and partner militaries. This year's edition DEFENDER-Europe-21, as reported by U.S. Army Europe and Africa website, focuses on „Building operational readiness and interoperability with a greater number of NATO allies and partners over a wider area of operations is defensive in nature and focused on responding to the crisis if necessary“, and also shows that „the U.S. commitment to NATO is ironclad.“

The exercise also includes strict COVID prevention and mitigation measures, such as pre-deployment COVID testing and quarantining and the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy show significant involvement and will utilize key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia, and Africa – continues the website.

„Exercises new high-end capabilities such the new U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades, air, and missile defense assets and the recently reactivated V Corps and demonstrates our ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and the Black Sea regions while sustaining our abilities in northern Europe, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Africa“, adds the exercise goals the official U.S. Army website.

Apart from the U.S., Approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries, and as a NATO member, Croatia has not been left out of the drill.

U.S._Naval_Ship_Yuma_arrives_in_Zadar_Croatia_Sgt._Alexandra_Shea.jpg

U.S. Naval Ship Yuma arrives in Zadar, Croatia © Sgt. Alexandra Shea

As part of the exercise, U.S. Naval Ship Yuma and U.K. Vessel Hurst Point off-loaded more than 300 pieces of military equipment in Zadar, Croatia’s Gazenica port, after ferrying it from Durres in Albania. The delivery started on Tuesday, May 4, and it was concluded on Friday. The journey of the equipment started back on March 24 at the Port of Jacksonville in Florida. The local U.S. National Guard units were shipping the equipment for three days onto USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300) after which, the ship stopped by Portsmouth in Virginia for the final pieces of equipment before heading towards Durres in Albania. In Durres, the smaller vessels took the equipment and finally loaded it to Yuma, and Hurst Point, which brought it to the gem of Northern Dalmatia, Zadar.

„This process is called Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, a method used to ensure swift delivery of supplies and equipment in a variety of port situations“, explained the press release.

U.S._equipment_leaves_for_training_area-c-Sgt._Joshua_Oh.jpgU.S. equipment leaves for training area © Sgt. Joshua Oh 

While many would probably stop at Zadar and chill for a lovely holiday, the equipment, however, will continue its journey. Part of the equipment will remain in Croatia, but it will be transferred to Slunj, home of the Main Training Area, and the rest goes to training areas scattered in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In BiH, the drills and maneuvers for which the equipment will be used are under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21” which will culminate in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” at the end of May. Not just as a test of possibility in the „God-forbid-we-are-attacked“ scenario, Croatian Rampart 1991-2021“ also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatia Armed Forces.

The Main Training Area in Slunj, Croatia and training areas throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina to be used in drills and maneuvers alongside members of the Croatian Armed Forces, under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21.” The exercise culminates in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” - which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces at the end of May.

major.jpg

British Major Dan Cornwell talking to Croatian press, screenshot / Defense Flash News

British Major Dan Cornwell told the Croatian press that the idea of being in Zadar is that Croatian, U.K., and U.S. forces operate together in loading U.S. equipment and personnel.

„We've done this before, on exercise last year in Germany, and I can say, it's a lot better down here in the south, it's absolutely amazing to be here in Croatia to do this alongside Croatian Armed Forces where we can better understand how we operate differently, how we operate similarly and equally building up our interoperability and our ability to operate better in the future“, said Maj. Cornwell, indicating that perhaps he can find Zadar, like many others, as a great holiday destination and not just the line of duty.

Learn more about Zadar on our TC page.

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

Friday, 16 April 2021

Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team Visits Croatia's Krila Oluje Pilots

ZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - Ten British Royal Airforce planes landed at the military based in Zemunik on Friday enroute to Greece to visit Croatia's Airforce - Krila Oluje (Wings of the Storm) aerobatic team, the Defence Ministry reported in a press release.

The British Red Arrow pilots were welcomed by their Croatian colleagues in the Krila Oluje team along with a team of aircraft technicians.

"After a long 2020 when we were not able to meet at base nor in the air, we are truly honoured to be able to receive our dear friends and offer them support on their way to Greece," Captain Darko Belančić said.

He hopes that the next season will be more successful despite all the challenges and that pilots will be able to conduct training and prepare for various performances.

"We look forward to their visit again on returning to the United Kingdom after the completion of the Springhawk exercise and hope that we can organise and plan a joint flight and exchange of experiences," added Belaničić.

This is the fourth time the Red Arrows have visited Zemunik as one of the bases on the way to Tanagra in Greece where they will conduct a five-week training in preparation for 2021 performances.

The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Scampton. The team was formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.

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

 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Mirror: British Tourists Soon to be Able to Travel to Croatia

April the 10th, 2021 - British tourists will soon be able to travel to Croatia for tourism and leisure purposes, according to a recent report from the widely read British publication The Mirror.

The United Kingdom is one European country which is still only very, very cautiously easing its lockdown restrictions which have been firmly in place for months now. Despite their seemingly harsher measures, the UK is one country in Europe which has done exceptionally well with its vaccination rollout, having vaccinated many millions of its inhabitants with at least the first dose.

As Morski writes, the British daily The Mirror, which is followed by about 32 million readers per month, published an article stating that, after easing travel restrictions in the UK, Croatia will be open to British visitors, and this was stated by the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) in the United Kingdom, Daria Reic.

''The British are very eager to travel and it's only a matter of time before they can do it again. The United Kingdom has one of the most successful vaccination rates in Europe, which is certainly a promising factor for restarting international travel, and timely information on the conditions of entry into Croatia, as well as continuous communication on everything Croatia does to make sure it remains safe for tourists will certainly influence the decisions of many people when choosing holiday destinations this summer,'' said Daria Reic.

The Mirror's article states that British tourists could soon travel to Croatia without any hindrance, if they meet one of the prescribed conditions, ie attach proof of their vaccination, bring a negative PCR or antigen test or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 which isn't older than 180 days.

In addition, The Mirror's article states that all tourists must enter the confirmation of their previously booked accommodation and fill in the online form before travelling when entering Croatia. As it was emphasised in the text, these are new rules according to which tourists from non-EU countries can also visit Croatia, which are valid from the 1st of April.

These rules will apply after the travel restrictions in the United Kingdom are finally relaxed. Namely, a measure according to which international travel is banned is currently in force in the United Kingdom unless you are resident abroad (and can prove it) or have other pressing reasons you can also prove. This restriction is expected to ease after the 17th of May.

The author of the article additionally states that, in addition to short tourist stays, British citizens without residence in the EU or Croatia can spend the whole year in Croatia using a "visa" for digital nomads, more about which can be read here.

It's worth adding that the information about the new measures to travel to Croatia is also being transmitted by the British publication The Independent and the travel platforms TTG Media and Travel Weekly. Jet2 has indeed announced flights, and Brits are set to travel to Croatia, a little later on.

For more, visit our travel section. For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including border and travel rules, as well as testing centres located across the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Extends Condolences on Prince Philip's Death

ZAGREB, 9 April, 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Friday extended his condolences to Queen Elizabeth II, the royal family and British people on the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"On behalf of the Croatian Government, I express my most heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen @RoyalFamily and the British people on the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip will be remembered for his lifetime of service to the United Kingdom," Plenković tweeted.

The Queen's husband died in Windsor aged 99, Buckingham Palace said.

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

 

 

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