This Week in Croatian Politics – Changes for Foreign Workers

Lauren Simmonds

croatian politics

January the 26th, 2024 – This week in Croatian politics, a new law on foreign workers is set to come, the Dutch Prime Minister visits Croatia, and more.

For some reason, President Zoran Milanovic claims the economy minister is gay

As Index vijesti/news writes, when asked about it by a journalist, Economy Minister Damir Habijan referred to when President Zoran Milanovic randomly claimed that he is gay.

“Two weeks have passed since these statements were made. I repeat – from the first day when I took the oath in parliament, I said that I’d stick to the Croatian Constitution and dedicate myself to doing my duty. From that minute until the end of my time here in government comes, I will work exclusively for the welfare of Croatia. I’ll work at the head of this Ministry to the very best of my ability,” HRT reported Habijan saying, clearly dodging the frankly strange comments made by the President.

“I think my co-workers can say that, and that’s what’s important to me and that’s my focus. And the rest, I can only say that it gives me an additional incentive, to work even harder and even better, so, if you really want to put it like this – even in spite of such comments,” said the minister.

A new law on foreign workers is looming

With more and more foreign nationals arriving to take up work in Croatia, a new law on foreign workers is looming.

According to the predictions of the Croatian Association of Employers, in seven years, there will be almost half a million foreign workers in Croatia. That’s a quarter of the workforce.

They face a range of issues, from employers not reporting them correctly, to language barriers, to racism. The state plans to regulate illegal work and facilitate their integration into society, by amending the current law on foreigners.

Among other things, it will introduce Croatian language learning programmes.

“The intention of these changes is to additionally regulate the provisions of the aforementioned law, which will enable the use of the existing potential of the foreign workforce. This would take into account the needs of the Cratian economy, and the facilitation of administrative procedures, while at the same time guaranteeing the protection of workers’ rights and preventing abuse,” they stated from the Interior Ministry.

The new move in Croatian politics would also introduce blacklists and six year sentences for employers who fail to register their foreign workers.

The Dutch Prime Minister pays a visit to Croatia

The Dutch Prime Minister and the Croatian Prime Minister assessed the relations between Croatia and the Netherlands as being very good. They also praised the economic cooperation between the two countries and expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation on issues important to the European Union. They also expressed strong support for Ukraine. The pair had previously jointly visited Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Plenkovic assessed the relations between Croatia and the Netherlands as being very good, adding that Croatia has a huge trade exchange with that country. He also pointed out that the Netherlands is the first investor in Croatia and that has been very visible over the past 30 years.

He also emphasised that last year more than half a million Dutch people arrived in Croatia, who spent more than three million overnight stays in the country.

The tourism and Sport Minister presents Croatia’s Tourism law in Madrid

The Croatian Tourism and Sport Minister presented the new Tourism Act in Madrid during her visit to an international tourism fair where Croatia was presenting its tourist offer.

She chaired the meeting of the Committee for Tourism and Sustainability of UN Tourism, where she presented Croatia’s previous work in that committee, as well as the tourism reform, which is being implemented with the aim of achieving sustainable, year-round and regionally balanced tourism.

On the occasion of these meetings, the minister said that Croatia is already recognised in the world as a leader in the development of sustainable tourism.

Croatia is the strongest proponent of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership

“Croatia has been the strongest and biggest advocate and friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina when it comes to it securing EU membership,” said Plenkovic while recently in Sarajevo with other European leaders.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been on an EU path for a while now, and with certain countries such as the Netherlands being historically cautious about any kind of EU expansion, this was a chance for Croatia’s neighbour to show what it can achieve on its path to becoming part of the bloc.

The President of the European Commission praised Bosnia and Herzegovina for following the EU’s foreign policy and showing the will to implement reforms.

“We’ve seen some progress, important laws have been adopted, and Bosnia and Herzegovina has a chance in the process of European integration if it continues to act in a unified way,” said Von der Leyen, noting that there’s still a lo of work to be done.


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