Plenkovic: We are full of hope for summer season

In an interview with the Die Welt daily Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has expressed hope that this year's tourist season will be successful after all, after Zagreb responded well to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, with a relatively low number of infected persons.

Croatia is currently, he said in Monday's issue of the German daily, in the phase of testing the gradual lifting of restrictive measures in the hospitality sector.

"We are currently observing how this is working in practice and I am sure that even before the upcoming summer season we will have gathered a lot of good practical experience," the Croatian prime minister said.

He expressed certainty that the number of new infections would not increase during the summer if everyone adhered to the measures, and he expressed hope that this season would be successful. He added that he did not, however, expect the same number of tourists as last year.

Explaining the relatively low number of infections in Croatia, he underscored that Croatia "has been closely monitoring developments in China since January 8. And at the end of that month I spoke with the World Health Organisation director-general at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and even then it was clear to me that it could be dangerous."

He said that all the measures for curbing the spread of the coronavirus had been "communicated in a clear way" to the citizens, but he added that the citizens deserved credit, too, for adhering to instructions.

"I am impressed because we actually have a Mediterranean mentality. But during the pandemic, we behaved more like North Europeans," Plenkovic said, pointing out Croatia's long tradition of healthcare.

Plenkovic underscored that Croatia's presidency of the EU had been different than expected due to the pandemic but that some results had been achieved, of which he underscored the launch of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

"Through political and diplomatic efforts we have changed the attitude of some rather influential member states. That will be remembered as Croatia's historic achievement for its neighbours," Plenkovic said.

He also said that the European Union must maintain its presence in the region so that it does not fall under the influence of some other forces.

Text: Hina