“Even though Croatia became a full member of the European Union in 2013 it is still not part of the Schengen border-free zone. Along with Romania and Bulgaria, which both joined in 2007, and Cyprus, which joined in 2004, Croatia is legally bound by the terms of the EU accession treaty to join the EU border-free zone.The Croatian MEP, Tonino Picula, recently organised a conference in Dubrovnik to discuss the preparation for Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area and the importance of security was stressed.

‘That would make our EU membership complete and enable us to make the most of it. This is a time of extreme pressure on the Schengen area, and due to incoming migration and terrorism many are questioning if the area can be maintained at all. Croatia must meet the technical standards, as well as politically convince the European Council that it should be admitted as soon as possible,’ said Picula.” (Dubrovnik Times)

“Croatia will import a record amount of Russian gas in 2018, Russian Ambassador in Zagreb Anvar Azimov said on Friday as part of the St. Petersburg cultural and business mission to Croatia.

‘We are not only interested in exporting hydrocarbons to Croatia, although this year will see a record delivery. Croatia will receive 70% of its gas from Russia; about 2 billion cubic meters will be supplied,’ Azimov said.

Russia plans to increase trade and economic turnover with Croatia to $3 billion in the next three years, he said.

‘Our relations were losing momentum for decades, we had no political contacts, and our trade and economic relations were on the decline. We managed to intensify our dialogue in all areas over the past two years. Political dialogue, which is very important for our countries, was established, but we are extremely unsatisfied with the current condition of trade and economic relations between our countries,’ Azimov said.” (Kyiv Post)

“There is, however, an exception to the trend of European countries moving away the centralized authority of Brussels. Croatia elected a traditionally conservative government in 2016 and is trying to join both the Schengen Agreement and the euro at a time when many want to leave them.

Thus, it was no surprise that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was one of the featured guests at the conference. He told delegates that the key to beating populists was not kowtowing to them.” (DW)

“More than 10,000 people marched in the annual LGBTIQ Pride parade in downtown Zagreb on Saturday, calling for an end to discrimination and greater tolerance of all minority groups.

As conservative groups step up their campaigns against abortion and most recently, the Istanbul Convention on combating and preventing violence against women, turnout at the parade was strong. Supporters of lesbian, gay, transsexual, intersexual and queer rights say this was partly in response the rise of the conservative movement in Croatia.

‘I participate every year, but his year I think it is very important that we have a large turnout to support diversity in every sense of the word,’ one woman told HRT.” (Voice of Croatia)