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European Commission appoints new head of representation in #Croatia and an adviser for preparation of country's Council Presidency

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The European Commission has appointed Ognian Zlatev (pictured) as the new head of the Commission's Representation in Zagreb, Croatia. He will take up his duties on 1 July 2019. Zlatev is succeeding Branko Baričević, who is becoming an adviser to President Juncker for the preparation of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020. 

1. New Head of the Commission's Representation in Zagreb

Zlatev, a Bulgarian national, is currently Head of the European Commission's Representation in Sofia, Bulgaria. A highly experienced expert in communication, with nearly 30 years of professional experience, he successfully supported the Commission's work over the past 6 years at the Representation in Sofia and notably during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018. Zlatev brings excellent knowledge of EU affairs, outstanding management skills and considerable expertise in media development, south-east Europe and the Western Balkans. He speaks Bulgarian, English, Russian, Croatian and Serbian.

Zlatev graduated from Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski and holds an M.A. in Classical Philology. Subsequently, he obtained qualifications in political communication, media relations and development, election campaigning and NGO management.

Zlatev has strong communication skills. He joined the European Commission in 2011 and was the head of the communication unit at the Directorate General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Prior to this, Zlatev served as a member of the managing board of Bulgarian National Television, and founded and managed the Media Development Centre in Bulgaria. He was also a founding member and president of the south-east European Network for Professionalization of the Media, to which 15 media centres and institutes from the region belong. He was a Director of the Information Centre for the Open Society Institute in Sofia, Manager of the BBC Centre in Bulgaria and Exchange Officer at the British Council office in Bulgaria.

Zlatev has also worked as a consultant for international institutions (UNESCO, OSCE, World Bank) in south-east Europe and the Western Balkans, among others. He is a member of the European Association of Communications Directors and the president of the south-east European Public Sector Communication Association since 2014.

2. Adviser for Croatia's Presidency of the Council of the EU

The European Commission also appointed Baričević as an adviser to the president on matters relating to the preparation of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Baričević has been the head of the European Commission representation in the Republic of Croatia since 1 July 2013, when Croatia became the EU's 28th member state. He joined the European Commission from the Croatian ministry of foreign affairs, where he had served, between 2005 and 2012, as the Head of Mission of Croatia to the European Union in Brussels. He had previously worked in different diplomatic missions of Croatia (to the US, Cyprus and Portugal). Prior to his diplomatic career, Baričević was a medical doctor, having undertaken studies in Zagreb, New York and Munich.

The European Commission will thus continue to draw on his vast diplomatic experience and support during this important time.

Background

The European Commission has Representations in all EU member states, as well as regional offices in Barcelona, Belfast, Bonn, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Marseille, Milan, Munich and Wroclaw. The Representations are the Commission's eyes, ears and voice on the ground in all EU Member States. They interact with national authorities and stakeholders and inform the media and the public about EU policies. The representations report to the Commission's headquarters on significant developments in the member states. Since the beginning of the Juncker Commission, heads of representations are appointed by the president and are his political representatives in the member state to which they are posted.

More information is available here.

coronavirus

#Coronavirus response: €135 million of Cohesion policy to strengthen the health sector and support the economy in Croatia

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The Commission has approved the modification of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion in Croatia redirecting almost €135 million of Cohesion policy funding to help the country tackle the effects of the coronavirus crisis. In particular, €50m of EU funds will serve to purchase medical and protective equipment for over 1200 hospitals, other health institutions and elderly homes, while Croatian SMEs will benefit from almost €85m for continuing their operations and saving employment.

In addition, the programme will temporarily benefit from 100% co-financing from the EU budget. Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira said: “Cohesion policy is playing an important role in the response to the pandemic and prompting a sustainable way to recovery. Thanks to the joint and swift efforts of the Croatian authorities and the Commission, these resources are providing much needed relief and support to the country's health sector and economy.”

The modifications are possible thanks to the exceptional flexibility under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+), which allow member states to use Cohesion policy funding to support the sectors most exposed to the pandemic and its economic consequences, such as health care, SMEs and labour markets. More information is available here.

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Croatia

MEP protests with Croatian farmers

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Ivan Vilibor Sinčić MEP held a protest with Croatian farmers in front of the Government building today (10 SEptember) Sinčić and his sympathizers brought a van full of watermelons in front of the government building, which they threw in front of the entrance to the building. We remind you that farmers decided to protest due to, as they say, the unequal position of Croatian farmers on the market.

Sincic, who climbed on the roof of the van, warned that the broken watermelons represent "hundreds of thousands of other watermelons and other fruits and vegetables that will be plowed or destroyed this year" because imported products, often of lower quality, have flooded the Croatian market and systematically destroyed domestic production.

"Fairy tales that we hear on television from the Minister of Agriculture and earlier from the former Minister of Agriculture and various other ministers do not work in practice," Sincic said.

The protest could not be avoided even by the ministers who started arriving before the government session.

"We call you to urge for us farmers. Only Croatia is doing nothing, all other countries are protecting their producers," protester Marina Galovic told Finance Minister Zdravko Maric.

She offered the minister a watermelon, but Maric refused.

"The minister did not want to take the watermelon. Taxes and contributions were paid on that watermelon. I guess out of humiliation. You eat what we produce and you humiliate us. It's not just us, it applies to all industries," the indignant protester said after the meeting with the minister.

http://www.times.si/svet/foto-hrvaskega-premierja-prestrasile-lubenice-pred-vlado--d080233a7e70f8b428b939d6a32ef3fdc263f7fb.html

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Best regards,

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coronavirus

#Coronavirus - Germany issues travel warning for parts of Croatia

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Germany issued a warning against travel to parts of Croatia on Thursday (20 August) as Europe’s largest economy battles to contain a rising number of coronavirus cases during the summer season, write Caroline Copley, Michael Nienaber and Andreas Rinke in Berlin.

The German foreign ministry advised against travel to the regions of Sibenik-Knin and Split Dalmatia, which are popular with tourists, after the public health agency declared them coronavirus risk regions, making tests for returnees mandatory.

The number of new cases in Germany has been rising steadily since early July and has accelerated in recent weeks. On Thursday, the number of confirmed cases climbed by 1,707 to 228,621, marking their biggest daily increase since April 26.

Imported cases of the coronavirus have risen to 39% of overall new infections in Germany this week, up from around 30% last week.

Croatia is the source of the third-highest number of infections among people returning to Germany, after Kosovo and Turkey, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

Concern is growing that people may be getting infected while visiting family members in those countries.

Davor Bozinovic, Croatia’s interior minister, said a ban on nightclubs staying open beyond midnight would likely be extended and added: “Less than 1% of tourists got infected (in Croatia).”

Statistics from the health ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state and hit relatively hard by the pandemic, found more than a third of returnees who tested positive for coronavirus between July 1 and Aug. 16 came from Kosovo, with Turkey in second place at almost 20%.

Those returning from more traditional holiday countries, such as Spain and Greece, made up just 2.5% and 0.5% of positive cases in the state, respectively.

Germany also urged people not to travel to the Valcea region of Romania, but removed a warning for the regions of Ialomita, Mehedinti and Timis. It also lifted a travel warning for Luxembourg.

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