Procedure for green passports could be finished by summer

Photo /Vijesti/2021/travanj/12 travnja/14.jpg

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday expressed confidence that the procedure regarding so-called green passports could be finished by the summer, estimating that, with the vaccine doses expected to arrive, Croatia could vaccinate half of its population by the end of June.

Commenting on an agreement between Croatia and 12 other EU countries regarding criteria for the introduction of the so-called green passport, designed to facilitate the flow of tourists during the coronavirus pandemic, Plenković said that it was a move intended to expedite the procedure to introduce the document.

"Whether this initiative will make that procedure last less than the envisaged three-four months is difficult to say at the moment," he told reporters after a session of his ruling HDZ party's presidency and national council.

The target is to introduce the green certificate by June, and Plenković noted that at the moment he could not say that that would actually be so.

"That requires time, it is a legal text so it requires the usual procedure," Plenković said.

When asked if the duration of the procedure could result in green passports not being introduced this season, he expressed confidence that the matter could be resolved by the summer.

With regard to the tourist season, he said that Croatia was still far from the peak season at the moment, expressing confidence that the anti-epidemic measures taken by local COVID-19 response teams in all coastal counties would yield results.

The current estimate is that, considering the ordered vaccines that should arrive according to plan, we should be able to vaccinate around 55% of the adult population, meaning all people above 18, by the end of June, he said.

"If all the vaccines ordered from AstraZeneca had arrived according to plan, that rate would be 70% and we would now have a higher vaccination rate like many other EU members," he added.

COVID supplement for pensioners

Plenković dismissed claims that a COVID supplement for pensioners was part of the campaign for May's local elections.

He recalled that in 2020 and this year the government enabled 120,000 employers affected by the COVID crisis to ensure wages for 680,000 workers.

Asked if cooperation was possible with the Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) on some joint projects, he said the question should be put to HSU president Veselko Gabričević.

"The talks we are conducting with the party, associations and union of pensioners are not only about the COVID supplement. They are our partners."

GDP growth

Asked to comment on the central bank's revision of its projection of Croatia's economic growth this year from 4.9 to 5.9%, Plenković said the forecasts of the central bank, the Finance Ministry and various international institutions had been "more or less" around 5%.

"I'm confident we will achieve that growth this year. Naturally, a lot will depend on the tourist season and the circumstances that will affect revenues, including GDP growth."

COVID measures at funerals

Plenković was also asked to comment on the fact that only 30 people will attend Prince Philip's funeral in Great Britain, where more people have been vaccinated against COVID than in Croatia, and recent funerals of eminent politicians in Croatia that were attended by more people than is allowed due to the virus.

"I think they chose the epidemiological measures they consider appropriate, I respect that," he said.

Text: Hina