Sunday, 2 December 2018

Zagreb to Host Central European Initiative Summit

ZAGREB, December 2, 2018 – The Central European Initiative summit (CEI) will take place in Zagreb on Monday and Tuesday, and the event will mark the completion of Croatia's year-long presidency over this regional initiative.

The CEI was founded in Budapest in 1989 as a regional intergovernmental forum committed to supporting European integration and sustainable development through cooperation between and among its Member States and with the European Union, international and regional organisations as well as with other public or private institutions and non-governmental organisations.

The main theme of Zagreb's summit meeting is building security, boosting the economy and enabling the progress.

Croatia is presiding over the CEI from 1 January to 31 December 2018. The next chairmanship will be taken over by Italy.

"One of the main goals of Croatia’s presidency is strengthening the Initiative’s basic mission – supporting the European prospect of member states that want to join the EU. Other Croatian presidency priorities include the transfer of know-how and experience in European integration, economic and cultural cooperation, the challenges of migration, intensifying cooperation between the CEI and other regional and international organizations, and maintaining parliamentary cooperation," the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry stated on its web site.

To date, the participation in the Zagreb event of prime ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia has been confirmed. Also some of the guests at the meeting will be the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

On Tuesday, a business forum on innovations conducive to competitiveness will be organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce within the two-day summit meeting.

The CEI is one of the oldest regional cooperation forums in Central and Eastern Europe. It has 18 member states: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Ukraine. The Initiative’s Secretariat is headquartered in Trieste.

Croatia joined the initiative in 1992.

For more on Croatia’s foreign policy, click here.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Croatian MEP Appointed Rapporteur on Women's Rights in Western Balkans

ZAGREB, November 24, 2018 - Croatian member of the European Parliament and member of its Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), Biljana Borzan, has been appointed rapporteur on women rights in Western Balkans, Borzan's office said in a press release on Saturday.

According to the statement, Borzan has for years called for an official position for the region and has finalised a draft resolution on that matter. "This year the EP has responded to my request and it has been put into procedure," she said.

In her resolution, Borzan refers to the poor situation of women on the labour market. Even though women who during their studies are more successful than their male colleagues, they are in a much poorer position on the labour market, they suffer abuse and most often take over caring for children and elderly family members, she said.

"Unfortunately, violence is a burning problem in the region. There aren't enough safe houses. We have unqualified staff to deal with the victims, a slow judiciary and what is worst, examples of unreported cases of violence," she underscored.

Negotiations will commence next week and a vote on the resolution should occur at a European Parliament session in February 2019.

In March this year, Borzan was presented with the MEP Award or EU Oscar for 2017 in the category of women's rights and gender equality.

For more on women rights in Croatia, click here.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Regional Security Conference Starts in Zagreb

ZAGREB, November 23, 2018 - A two-day regional security conference on security challenges in Europe opened in Zagreb on Thursday, bringing together government officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and representatives of the German Institute for Security Policy.

The conference was organised by the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC) - Centre for Security Cooperation and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation with the support of the Institute for Development and International Relations.

The regional security conference was opened by presidential defence and national security adviser Vlado Galić, who said that global security challenges such as terrorism and illegal migration have become challenges to many states which, being responsible members of the international community, should give their contribution to eradicating such phenomena.

He said that there are a lot of security challenges that are important for stability and security in Southeast Europe, adding that both stability and security are affected by developments in the region and by distant processes in the globalised world.

"The stability of Southeast Europe is a vital interest for the national security of Croatia and all countries in Southeast Europe," Galić said. He added that he is confident that these countries are following with concern "the processes and numerous challenges that meet and overlap" in the region.

Galić said that these challenges can be viewed through the influence of third parties on the countries of Southeast Europe, through the influence of radical political ideologies and through the influence of global processes such as uncontrolled mass migration and terrorism.

Opening remarks were also made by RACVIAC director Jeronim Bazo, the head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Croatia, Michael A. Lange, German ambassador to Croatia Robert Richard Klinke, and the state secretary at the Croatian Ministry of Defence, Zdravko Jakop.

This year's regional security conference is the sixth in a series of activities aimed at discussing transformation processes in Southeast Europe with regard to institutional readiness and responsibility for membership of NATO and the EU, particularly taking into account necessary reforms in the security sector in the context of contemporary security challenges.

Speaking to the press after the opening ceremony, Galić declined to comment on the so-called fake text messages affair, following media reports that he had contacted the suspect Franjo Varga several times. Varga, a former police IT specialist, has been remanded to custody on suspicion of fabricating text messages for former Dinamo Football Club boss Zdravko Mamić, which he was to use as evidence of pressure being put on judges in his case to convict him. Media have also linked Varga to the deputy leader of the ruling HDZ party, Milijan Brkić.

For more on the Western Balkans region, click here.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Plenković Attends World Economic Forum Dialogue in Geneva

ZAGREB, October 2, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that the meeting about the Western Balkan countries in Geneva would be an opportunity for talks about the consequences of the referendum in Macedonia, the security situation, negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo and a chance to analyse the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina ahead of the elections scheduled to take place next weekend.

Friday, 28 September 2018

President Underlines Importance of Integrating SE Europe with EU

ZAGREB, September 28, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović told a meeting held on the margins of the ongoing UN General Assembly session in New York on Thursday that Southeast Europe had become a testing ground for different countries and their interests, that there were tensions between countries in the region and that it was important to ensure the integration of that part of Europe with the European Union.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Croatia: Western Balkan Countries to Resolve Outstanding Issues Prior to EU Entry

ZAGREB, September 1, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Friday that Western Balkan countries had to resolve outstanding bilateral issues dating back to the 1990s war if they wanted to join the EU.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Croatia Supports Inclusion of Western Balkans in EU Defence Policy

ZAGREB, August 30, 2018 - Attending an informal meeting of EU defence ministers in Vienna on Thursday, Croatia Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said that southeast Europe is faced with a series of security issues and that the EU has the mechanisms that can strengthen stability there, and one way is to include those countries in the common EU defence policy, the Croatian ministry said in a press release.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Croatian President’s Salary Among Highest in Region

How much do presidents in Croatia and regional countries earn?

Friday, 13 July 2018

“United States Remains Committed to Southeast Europe”

ZAGREB, July 13, 2018 - The United States remains committed to Southeast Europe and those who want to divide us will not succeed, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said in Zagreb on Friday.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Croatia's to Focus Its EU Presidency on Western Balkans

ZAGREB, July 11, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in London on Tuesday, during the EU-Western Balkans Summit, that the focus of Croatia's European Union presidency in the first half of 2020 would be on the countries of Southeast Europe.

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