Croatia, US to agree on visa waiver programme, double taxation avoidance by year's end

The United States is expected to cancel visa requirements for Croatia by the end of the year, and the two countries are also expected to sign an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said in Munich on Friday.

Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus are the only EU member-states that are still not covered by the US Visa Waiver Program. Poland joined it at the end of 2019.

Grlic Radman met today in Munich with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying afterwards that the visa regime and double taxation should be resolved by the end of the year.

"We have met all the conditions and this is a matter of time. It is in the interest of both Croatian and US business people," Grlic Radman told reporters.

Grlic Radman and Pompeo met ahead of the Munich Security Conference, a leading world forum on international security policy.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Croatia and the USA are allies in NATO and they cooperate closely in peace operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo as well as in Poland and Baltic countries.

Asked if like the USA Croatia, too, would withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, Grlic Radman said that Zagreb would act in coordination with Washington.

"That is a matter to be dealt with by the two countries' defence ministries, but we have confirmed that we are acting in coordination (with the USA). Croatia defends its interests through membership in NATO and the UN," he said.

Without going into details, he said that he and Pompeo discussed briefly the purchase of combat aircraft and the recent crash of a Croatian Air Force Kiowa Warrior helicopter near Zablace. The helicopter was donated to Croatia by the USA.

Later in the day, Grlic Radman will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"Croatia insists on respect for international law... and we are doing our best to call on Iran to strictly abide by the nuclear deal," said Grlic Radman, whose country currently chairs the EU.

Text: Hina