Friday, 24 June 2022

Port of Rijeka: Requests for Ukraine Grain Transshipment Trice Higher than Capacity

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - The Port of Rijeka is receiving inquiries about its possibilities for the transshipment of Ukrainian grain, blocked currently in silos in Black Sea ports due to the war, however, the port's limited capacities make it impossible to grant all the requests, says the Rijeka port's management chair.

The management boar's chairman Duško Grabovac has recently told Hina that "the pressure is mounting".

A new harvest is to start, and their silos (in Ukraine) are full, Grabovac told the Croatian reporters during a recent business forum within the Three Seas Initiative summit meeting in the Latvian capital city of Riga.

In 2019, Ukraine exported 16% of the global reserves of maize and 42% of sunflower oil, according to the data provided by the United Nations.

Over the recent weeks, traders are seeking alternative routes for the transport of grain from Ukraine and the Port of Rijeka is therefore is receiving more and more requests.

Grabovac said that the capacity of the silo in this northern Croatian seaport is 55,000 tonnes.

Therefore it is difficult to meet all the requests, he explains.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

PM Phones Zelenskyy to Convey Croatia's Support to Ukraine's EU Membership Bid

ZAGREB, 22 June - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to express support to Ukraine ahead of the European Union's decision to grant the candidate status to Ukraine.

The European Council will convene for 23-24 June in Brussels to discuss the wider Europe, Ukraine, EU membership applications from Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, economic issues, the Conference on the Future of Europe and external relations.

"Ahead of the meeting of the European Council I spoke on the phone with President  Zelenskyy to convey our support to Ukraine in obtaining the status of EU candidate. We grieve the deaths of many innocent victims and we continue providing assistance to Ukraine that is defending its freedom and the values of the whole Europe," the Croatian PM wrote on his Twitter account.

The support to Ukraine's prospective status of candidate for EU membership has already been expressed by the leaders of Germany, France and Italy who together visited Kyiv last week.

While a majority of the EU member-states express the support to the future status of candidate for Ukraine, the Netherlands and Denmark and some other countries seem reserved about those prospects.

The decision on granting candidate status has to be adopted unanimously.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Status of Ukrainians in Croatia Who Are Not Refugees to be Protected

June the 8th, 2022 - While there have been thousands of Ukrainian refugees enter Croatia since the Russian invasion of their country back in February this year, there are plenty of Ukrainians in Croatia who have been living and working seasonal jobs here since before the outbreak of war. Their status in the country, while different to that of refugees, is set to be clarified and fully protected.

As Morski writes, in accordance with the European Union (EU) directive, about 12,500 Ukrainian citizens have so far applied for and received temporary protection status in the Republic of Croatia. However, some Ukrainians, who have been living in Croatia for various reasons since last year, aren't entitled to this status.

Returning home to Ukraine is also not at all a solution for any of those individuals at this moment in time and it would be a travesty to push any Ukrainians in Croatia to make such a move. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) has made it very clear, all Ukrainians living in Croatia who want to secure their status - will be able to do so and will have their various situations solved.

Twenty-three-year-old Ukrainian Vita Perestiuk found a seasonal job in Zadar last summer, and she decided to stay in Croatia after the tourist season ended.

''I found a job in Istria, in agriculture, working in the vineyards. I was working there and then the war started, so my family came to Croatia, down to Dubrovnik. I finished my work and then I went down to them in Dubrovnik,'' Perestiuk explained to HRT. The right to international temporary protection, by decision of the Croatian Government, can be exercised only by Ukrainian citizens who came to Croatia after the 1st of January, 2022.

Vita, therefore, like approximately 40 other Ukrainians in Croatia, asked to be granted a residence permit for humanitarian reasons. They waited two months for a solution from MUP, biting their nails.

''We didn't know anything, we called them every three days, asked them this and that... That's why we're very happy to have received this status. Now we can go to work, we can live normally,'' said Vita Perestiuk.

''These persons don't enjoy the same rights as Ukrainians who came here fleeing the war enjoy, except the right to residence, of course, and the right to work, they can work, but they don't enjoy, for example, the right to free healthcare, social protection, the right to free housing and the like,'' explained Zarko Katic, state Secretary for Immigration, Citizenship and Administrative Affairs in the Ministry of the Interior.

About 2,700 Ukrainians in Croatia don't have the right to temporary protection, and they are in Croatia mainly for work.

''Each of them will need to regulate their status here either according to the Law on International and Temporary Protection, or according to the Law on Foreigners, either on the basis of work, family reunification, study, or on the basis of residence as a digital nomad,'' explained Katic.

The Croatian Government has firmly stated announces no Ukrainians in Croatia will be forcibly returned to their homeland, even if that means additional changes to the law.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Wounded Croatian Soldier in Ukraine Returning for Treatment

June 3, 2022 - A Croatian citizen who fought in Ukraine was recently wounded in battle and is expected to return to Croatia for treatment. The wounded Croatian soldier joined the Ukrainian army as a volunteer.

According to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the wounded Croatian soldier in question was transported to a safe place from where he will be provided with transport and continue his journey back to Croatia, where he will continue his treatment in one of Zagreb's hospitals, reports Jutarnji List.

''We can confirm the information about the injured Croatian citizen in Ukraine, who was transported to safety by the joint efforts of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Health along with the help of the Ukrainian authorities. From where he is now, he will be provided with further transport and continue his journey to Croatia'', said the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Jutarnji list learned that the Croatian citizen who was wounded in Ukraine is stable and out of danger. 

''A young man went to Ukraine to fight at the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine,'' confirmed Denis Scheler, who was a member of the Azov Regiment for six years, and who was recently accused by Moscow of organising the departure of Croats to Ukraine.

''What I do know is that he was slightly injured because of a small amount of shrapnel that hit him. He is able to normally and everything is fine, it's nothing terrible,'' says Scheler.

He is on his way to Zagreb where he will be treated and then spend time recovering after being wounded on the southeastern battlefield in Ukraine about ten days ago. Scheler notes that no Croats are in the Azov Regiment, and that includes this particular wounded man.

As Jutarnji list unofficially found out, the Croat wounded in Ukraine will be taken by a Croatian ambulance from the Hungarian-Ukrainian border and most likely transferred to Dubrava Hospital, unless some specific injuries are identified that cannot be treated there. He will then be transferred to KBC Zagreb.

The Minister of Health, Vili Beroš, only briefly confirmed to Jutarnji list that the organisation of the reception of the wounded Croatian citizen from Ukraine is in progress, and that his injuries pose no danger to his life.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Plenković: Ukraine Deserves EU Candidate Status

ZAGREB, 1 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a European People's Party (EPP) congress Wednesday that the EPP should be the leading political force in condemning and imposing sanctions against Russia and that Ukraine deserved European Union candidate status.

Speaking at the 27th EPP Congress in Rotterdam, Plenković said that the Russian aggression, which has lasted for more than three months, was not just military, but that it violated international law and denied the Ukrainian nation and identity.

"We, as the EPP, express our solidarity, support and sympathy for the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for freedom and for European values for all of us. We thank them for that", the Croatian prime minister said.

Plenković thinks that the EPP should be the leading political force in condemning Russian actions, imposing sanctions, and not tolerating policies that violate everything we stand for.

He called for continuing political, diplomatic, financial, economic, humanitarian and military support for Ukraine.

Ukraine deserves EU candidate status

Plenković considers that Ukraine deserves candidate status in the European Union, which it might gain soon.

"We will support granting Ukraine EU candidate status at the European Council in June. The Ukrainians are expecting that, the Ukrainians deserve that and that symbolic gesture by the EU will be another correct and moral choice in this unprecedented crisis", he underscored.

He reiterated that Croatia supported the European aspirations of other countries, mentioning Georgia, Moldova, Kosovo and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We'd like for the issue of constitutional and electoral reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be resolved in that process in order for all three constituent peoples to be treated equally and to feel satisfied and at ease", Plenković said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European People's Party adopted a resolution calling for electoral and constitutional reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina in line with decisions by international courts and the BiH Constitutional Court.

The "emergency resolution", tabled by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) calls for "electoral reforms to be addressed swiftly in an inclusive manner while complying with the requirements of EU membership."

Strengthening European defence

The prime minister called on his colleagues from the largest group in the European Parliament to make the EPP a leader in demographic revitalisation, the digital revolution and in the fight against climate change by the 2024 European election. He also called for strengthening European defence.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Ukrainian, Croatian Actors Protest in Cannes Against Censorship of Images of War

ZAGREB, 26 May 2022 - Ukrainian filmmaker Maksym Nakonechny and actors in his film "Butterfly Vision", including Ukrainian and Croatian actors, held a protest against social-media censorship of Russia's invasion, on Wednesday in Cannes before the premiere of this film.

The group covered their faces with content-warning signs and held a banner that read "Russians kill Ukrainians. Do you find it offensive and disturbing to talk about this genocide?”, while air raid sirens were played over the speaker system.

Among the protesting actors were Croatians Daria Lorenci Flatz and Edvin Liverić, who played roles in the film. The film is a Croatian minority co-production and is co-produced by Anita Juka (for 4Film), the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) reported on Thursday.

Butterfly Vision, which premiered globally in Cannes, is "a harsh and surreal story about a Ukrainian woman named Lilia who, after spending months as a prisoner of war after the Donbas Conflict a few years ago, struggles to return to her life as a soldier and wife in her homeland, refusing to be labeled a victim." The script was co-written by Maksym Nakonechnyi and Iryna Tsilyk, says HAVC.

Lorenci Flatz was quoted as saying that she was happy to see that the film had won rounds of applause from a sympathetic audience in the Debussy theatre in Cannes.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Russia Says Disappointed with Croatia's Hostile Behaviour

ZAGREB, 26 May 2022 - Russia is disappointed with the hostile actions of the Croatian authorities in recent months, but hopes their mutually beneficial cooperation will be restored, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement was released on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Croatia and Slovenia, and the latter is also accused of "destroying bilateral relations."

Croatia and Slovenia have condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and joined in European sanctions against Moscow. As part of those measures, Zagreb in April expelled 18 Russian diplomats and six members of administrative staff.

"Unfortunately, the Croatian authorities have in recent months adopted a hostile position towards Russia that is in stark contrast with the quality of our bilateral relations, destroys their foundations and causes serious damage to the true interests of people in the two countries," the statement says.

Such destructive behaviour, it says, represents a "baleful approach that has no future".

"We believe common sense will prevail, and Croatia will return to the path of constructive dialogue, based, among other things, on the awareness of geopolitical realities and true national interests," the statement said.

Speaking of Slovenia, Moscow said that it was disappointed by its government's decision to take "entirely unprovoked hostile actions" aimed at "destroying bilateral relations despite the historical logic of their development."

"We are confident that such policy on the part of Slovenian authorities, which is contrary to the true interests of our friendly peoples, will eventually give way to a balanced position natural for Russian-Slovenian relations," the Russian ministry said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Export of Ukrainian Grains to Africa to Be Possible via Croatian Ports

ZAGREB, 23 May 2022 - Croatia's Adriatic seaports could be alternative routes for the transport of the grain supplies to north Africa from Ukraine whose Black Sea ports are being blocked, Foreign and European Affairs Ministry State Secretary, Andreja Metelko Zgombić, said on Monday in Brussels. 

The Croatian official attended a General Affairs Council that focused on preparations for the next two EU summit meetings, on Ukraine, food supply safety, and energy topics.

During the discussion, I said that Croatian seaports at the Adriatic are available and that they can be an efficient and short route for the export of Ukrainian grains to north Africa, said Metelko Zgombić.

As part of the EU's solidarity response with Ukraine, the European Commission has recently presented a set of actions to help Ukraine export its agricultural produce, and one of the measures is "Solidarity Lanes" for the transport of the exported cereals from Ukraine.

"Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its blockade of Ukrainian ports, Ukrainian grain, and other agricultural goods can no longer reach their destinations. The situation is threatening global food security and there is an urgent need to establish alternative logistics routes using all relevant transport modes," the EC reported on 12 May.

The EC proposes those ‘Solidarity Lanes" to ensure Ukraine can export grain, but also import the goods it needs, from humanitarian aid to animal feed and fertilizers. "

 The RePowerEU plan was also today on the agenda of the General Affairs Council.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Slightly More Than 17,300 Ukrainian Refugees Have Arrived in Croatia, Says Minister

ZAGREB, 11 May 2022 - Just over 17,300 Ukrainian refugees, of whom 85% are women and children, have arrived in Croatia so far, Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said on Wednesday.

Speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Božinović said that at the very start a clear and transparent system for refugees was established and that a temporary mechanism of protection was activated, providing the refugees with all rights, including integration in the labour market.

"I'm pleased to say that the entire process has been free of any problems and difficulties. I believe that the Ukrainians are satisfied with and grateful for the treatment they have been given in Croatia," he added.

Božinović also spoke about the difference between Ukrainian refugees and migrants arriving from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

"Despite the war going on, all Ukrainian refugees have entered Croatia via border crossings with personal documents, unlike migrants who practically never come to border crossings from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and do not have personal documents, which is a very important difference," he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Hungary's Viktor Orban Makes Bizarre Claim That Croatia "Took Their Sea"

May the 11th, 2022 - The Hungarian PM Viktor Orban is known for his rather unusual political sentiments, but this one probably takes the cake. He recently claimed that Croatia ''took Hungary's sea'', leaving it without ports. This was said in front of Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission's President.

As Morski writes, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban yesterday over Hungary's opposition to the European Union's joint embargo on Russian oil. Von der Leyen said after the meeting that progress had been made and that some issues with Orban had been clarified.

''We've made some progress, but there's still work to be done,'' she added, which actually means that no concrete agreement has yet been reached with Hungary, the leader of which is very reluctant to firmly join the EU on its stance against Russia.

As one European diplomat explained to France Presse, Hungary would need a new pipeline to secure its oil supply, connecting it to the Republic of Croatia, which has access to the sea. Therefore, it seeks guarantees that Zagreb will engage in the construction of this infrastructure, as well as guarantees of European Union funding to facilitate it financially.

''Those who have sea and ports are able to bring oil on tankers. If they hadn't taken it away from us (the sea), we would also have a port,'' Viktor Orban said in an interview with the Hungarian state radio last Friday, as reported by Politico, which explains that Orban was referring to the Dalmatian coast.

Hungary is otherwise the biggest opponent of the joint EU embargo on Russian oil, and Viktor Orban has been seen as a thorn in the side of many diplomats and politicians across the EU for some time now.

To briefly recall, all 27 EU member states must be unanimous in order for sanctions to be imposed against Russia. The sanctions proposal cites certain exceptions, but both Slovakia and Hungary consider them to be insufficient. Hungary is the country that strongly opposes the European embargo on Russian oil and has already asked for a five-year postponement.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday night that Hungary cannot accept the proposed package of European Union sanctions on Russia until its fears are resolved.

Earlier, Prime Minister Orban said that the European Commission's proposal would have the effect of an "atomic bomb for Hungary".

"It would destroy our stable energy supply," he added.

For more, check out our politics section.

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