Travelling to Croatia/EU After November 2023 And Benefits Of Dual Citizenship

There are two significant changes that will occur in and for Croatia in 2023.

On January 1, 2023, Croatia will bid farewell to its beloved currency, the Kuna, the symbol of its hard-won independence from communist Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, to become the 20th member of the Eurozone. This is occurring in the worrisome environment of mounting inflation and precarious geopolitical headwinds rattling Europe but, regardless, official Croatia hopes that its upcoming switch to the Euro will bring some semblance of protection in an uncertain world. That, of course, is debatable in a mad world where chaos can quickly turn heads and overtake as people’s pockets become hit hard and bare survival at a decent standard is threatened.  In the build-up to the changeover, authorities in Croatia have been constantly hammering home the advantages of adopting the Euro for the country’s 3.9 million people. Parliamentary opposition in Croatia, however, the centre-right and right or the so-called patriotic milieu, have expressed their opposition to the introduction of the Euro on both rising living costs base and the patriotic one that holds fast to the concept and factors that define Croatia’s sovereignty.

Then, the EU will be meeting on December 9, 2022, and, given that Slovenia now supports the move, it is planned and expected that this meeting should decide a swift accession of Croatia to the Schengen border-free zone. The matter of Croatia’s accession into the Schengen area should be decided by the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council when it meets in December this year. Do not be surprised if this swiftness means January 2023. That is, that Croatia becomes Schengen Zone member state in the same month of 2023 in which it says farewell to its Kuna currency and adopts the Euro. 

An EU member since 2013, official Croatia has long been aiming to join the Schengen Zone, a common area of travel without border protocol enjoyed by 22 of the 27 EU countries, plus EFTA states (European Free Trade Association) including Switzerland.

A heavy load on minds and in hearts of multitudes of Croatians is that once Croatia enters the Schengen Zone foreigners will be able to purchase agricultural land in Croatia without any restrictions, that sense of and moral and cultural richness in being Croatian in a Croatian nation will be eroded rather swiftly and Croatia become a drop in a bucket of different nations that have little in common bar the need to implement laws and expectations of the EU more now than before Schengen. How much strength and winds of change are hidden behind the parliamentary opposition parties who in their majority walked out of the parliament a couple of weeks ago, refusing to listen to the Prime Minister’s annual report, will surely be revealed more and more, especially as 2024 general elections are coming closer and closer each day. However, the Euro and Schengen are to stay for Croatia if it is a member state within the EU.    

Travelling within the Schengen Zone means that visitors arriving from a fellow Schengen country do not have to show their passports and can walk through airports and over border crossings as if they were still in their own country. This facility will obviously benefit a nation reliant on tourism, such as Croatia.

Numerous people, living outside the Schengen area, including those with dual citizenship that includes the Croatian one, have been wondering if they will need a Schengen Visa if they plan on travelling there and staying for up to 90 days for holidays or business. The current situation with Schengen Visa is that the Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.

Each member country of the Schengen zone can issue Schengen visas. However, citizens of third countries (e.g. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand …) do not need a Schengen Visa in order to enter and move around the Schengen countries because the Schengen countries have reached a visa-liberalisation agreement with the Schengen member states. However, there are third countries that have not yet reached a visa-liberalisation agreement and their citizens must apply for a Schengen Visa before entry; these countries are listed on the Schengen Visa website.

But, if you are planning to study, work, or live in one of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, then you must apply for a national visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.

Although the laws regarding dual citizenship are very different in some parts of the world the concept is well established and recognised throughout the European Union. For this reason, a person holding valid passports from two EU member countries, e.g. French and German passports, may use either when travelling and no questions will be asked. This is a simple example, but the same principle applies if one of the passports has been issued by a non-EU member state (e.g., Australia, USA, Canada). The traveller can simply use the valid EU passport (issued by an EU member country, e.g., Croatia, Germany…) and travel through Europe as per his or her rights as a citizen of the European Union.

Matters regarding Visas or clearance to travel for people traveling into EU and Schengen Zone from third countries, non-EU or non-Schengen countries are set to change once the launch of the new travel clearance systems ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) and EES (Entry and Exit System) is complete. Having been delayed It is estimated the launch of EES will now be around May 2023 and the ETIAS in November 2023.

The new system called the EES (entry and exit system) will change the current process in two main ways:

  • In addition to the information in passports, the system will take biometric data (fingerprints and facial images) and store them for future reference—in much the same way as the U.S. currently does.
  • Instead of passport stamps—which can be time-consuming as dates have to be checked manually—the system will automatically record exactly when someone entered the country, so it will automatically know if they have overstayed their welcome.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will oblige visitors from outside Europe to apply for a visa-waiver before arriving at a country that is in the Schengen zone. ETIAS will work much like the U.S. ESTA scheme, costing about €7 per registration and lasting for 3 years of unlimited number of entries for and applicants under the age of 18 and over 70 will receive their ETIAS free of charge. Anyone travelling from one of over 63 countries currently not needing a visa for EU or Schengen Zone will need an ETIAS, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the U.S., the U.K. and the UAE.

Hence, ETIAS approval will only be necessary for passports issued in countries outside the EU and Schengen Area. In order to enter Europe after 2023 it will be necessary to possess either a valid passport issued from a Schengen or EU country or an ETIAS approved passport.

Having dual citizenship can help avoid the necessity, expense, and bother of applying for ETIAS but this may not always be avoidable.

In the simplest terms:

Holding dual citizenship in two non-EU countries – ETIAS will be required.

Citizenship of an EU country and a non-EU country – NO ETIAS will be required.

If a citizen of any third country is entitled to, and can acquire, a passport from any of the EU or Schengen states then he or she is entitled to use that passport for visiting Europe as such passports do not require ETIAS approval.

Therefore things are such that having dual citizenship that includes an EU member state citizenship (e.g. Croatian) has enormous benefits and these also include: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/eu-citizenship/dual-citizenship/

  • You can live, work, and even retire in any of these countries with no restrictions. You can do the same in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, which aren’t part of the EU.
  • Dual citizenship allows you to both vote and run for office, just like a citizen of the country where you choose to live. Moreover, as an EU citizen, you can work in a public service position.
  • Through dual EU citizenship, you can access some of the best universities in the world, with excellent quality and no extra tuition or reduced tuition. As an EU citizen, you don’t need a student visa to earn subsidised degrees in business administration, social sciences, IT, journalism, and law.
  • If you want to buy a property in any EU country, you can do this without a permit from the moment that you obtain an EU dual citizenship. You are free to choose any EU member state and begin living there.
  • Eu dual citizenship gives you the right to have healthcare access in any EU country. If you need medical coverage when you’re living, studying, and travelling between EU states. Although EU countries have different healthcare systems and you should check your rights directly, the European health insurance card covers you in the whole area.
  • As an EU citizen, you can start your own business and access different EU funds. Starting a new company can be easy because you can apply for financial aid from investment platforms that are ready to support new businesses.

While the global increase of expatriate dual citizenship acceptance over the past decades has been widely observed the same is the case for dual citizenship with Croatia within the diaspora population and its youth and newborns. This is to be encouraged as far as I am concerned as the mere existence if dual citizenship does strengthen one’s identity and awareness of family roots and culture. Ina Vukic

Crimea Platform Summit Sticks A Flimsy Band-Aid On Croatian Government Corruption Woes

Often like two ships passing in the night! Front: Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic, Back: Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. Photo: HINA

That Croatia appears to have irretrievably lost its plot as a whole country standing united without a major shift in governing political parties has shockingly been proven last week, yet again. This is not the Croatia thousands lost their lives for in the 1990’s Homeland War, fighting off the Serb aggression despite UN arms embargo being imposed against it. Croatia was so very fortunate to have had its strong diaspora standing by and participating significantly in the efforts to secede from communist Yugoslavia and develop a true, fully functional democracy. Overwhelming corruption inherited from that communist totalitarian regime still plunders and fleeces national wealth and standard of living for the people.

Four former and recent government ministers have been arrested for fraud and corruption and yet Andrej Plenkovic’s Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) government in coalition with the Serbian ethnic minority SDSS (Independent Democratic Serbian Party) still stands! The opposition insists the government should be ousted, snap elections held, and the government representatives keep on ignoring such civilised and democratic rules of engagement in leading a nation – and so does the EU authority, creating thus huge mistrust in the Union among the populous.

The four former government ministers indicted last week are: Darko Horvat, Josip Aladrovic and Tomislav Tolusic from the Croatian Democrtatic Union Party and Boris Milosevic, former deputy Prime Minister to Plenkovic from the Independent Democratic Serb Party.

Indicted Recent Croatian Government Ministers from Left: Darko Horvat, Boris Milosevic, Tomislav Tolusic and Josip Aladrovic. Photo: Cropix

Darko Horvat, as the first indicted, is accused of having, when he was Minister of Economy, allocated grants to entrepreneurs and companies out of personal interest and at the instigation of the co-suspects Boris Milosevc and Tomislav Tolusic, and that he thus illegally allocated 2 million and 600 thousand kunas state budget funds. Josip Aladrovic, on the other hand, is accused of favouring the employment of two people while he was at the head of the pension insurance institute. In addition to the former ministers, the indictment includes four other suspects.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption and nepotism that goes on in Croatia. It all begs the question: who is in whose pocket to permit such horrible governance and governing of the country with no end of this nightmare in sight.

“The indictments (against four of his recent government ministers and a deputy Prime Minister) are not a burden for the Government,” said haughtily Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. The self-importance this man appears to nurture is staggering and repulsive.

The president of the HDZ Members of Parliament Club, Branko Bacic, said last Wednesday, after the announcement that four former members of Plenkovic’s Government were indicted, that his party does not accept the thesis of HDZ’s collective responsibility for the eventual criminal responsibility of an individual.

What a dangerous politician, what a dangerous government. The Party is not the issue here, but the government and governance are. HDZ had several mandates in government during the past three decades and just like the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governments has done nothing to root out corruption, or most of it anyway, starting with the grassroots of government, the local government all the way up to the state level. In any decent democracy the government would fall overnight.  

When talking of the opposition I venture to say that all left-leaning political parties in parliament, and there are a few, are splinters off the former communist regime and all appear to have members at the help who were in Social Democratic Party government. Hence, no qualification to lead Croatia were new general elections to come before mid-2024. There are a few solid opposition parties and individuals who lean towards the centre-right that could emerge, finally, as winners and the coming twenty or so months may well weed out the hopeless ones from the promising ones. What Croatia needs most is a political party at the helm that will weed out corruption and nepotism via installing mechanisms of control and audits at all levels. That can only be done, in my view, by those who are squeaky clean of corruption and nepotism, otherwise the gut-wrenching circus will continue until more and more young people abandon Croatia.  

And then, as if this was not enough to demonstrate the political disarray and governance shambles Croatia is portraying, the First International Parliamentary Platform on Crimea Summit was held during the week in Zagreb and Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic snubbed it, avoided it like the plague so to speak – while Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic played the host to it. The Summit provided a perfect mask and coverup for the deplorable latest cases of corruption Plenkovic’s government should be held accountable for.

First International Parliamentary Summit on the Crimea Platform held in Zagreb, Croatia, October 25, 2022 Photo: HINA

While the purpose of the Ukraine-initiated consultation and coordination Summit has its eye on taking Crimea from Russia and return it to the Ukrainian fold Croatian President Milanovic commented: “I see a lot of cynicism and dishonesty toward the Ukrainian people and the war, and I do not want to contribute to that. In the end, Americans and Russians will have to sit at the table because they are waging a proxy war over Ukraine and the Ukrainian people are paying a terrible price for it. I don’t know why no one dares to say this openly, but that’s the truth.”

Speakers and members of parliament from around 40 countries gathered in Croatia’s capital Zagreb on Tuesday 25 October to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine. Serbia failed to respond to the invitation to the Summit and some media ascribe this to instructions received from Russia for Serbia to avoid the Summit. The speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, attended the Summit.

Co-hosted by speakers of the Ukrainian and Croatian Parliaments, the summit was addressed via video link by Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Russia has continued to refrain from any dialogue on the subject ever since its conception in August/September 2021 in Kiev, while elsewhere firmly stating that Russia’s “sovereignty” over Crimea is undeniable, and now also over the territories of Eastern Ukraine it occupied via brutal aggression and organised sham referendums recently on seceding from Ukraine in favour of Russia. Vladimir Putin constant firm stand is that Crimea will not be a matter of discussion and that the occupied parts of Eastern Ukraine are now Russian territory. There is a very little doubt that Ukraine`s president seriously counted on a different response from Moscow, but nevertheless, Zelenskyy was not put off by this lack of success and pursues the issues, hence having ended up with a Summit attended by an impressive number of nations, mainly NATO members.

While it seems very dubious that Crimea is to return to Ukraine any time soon (or ever) given Russia`s military onslaught in Ukraine and determination to strengthen its sway over Crimea and Ukrainian occupied territories, the best-case scenario is that the platform could transform into a major irritant for Russia that spells no peace and stability for a long time. This said, if this scenario indeed materialises further, and the Second Summit is planned for 2023, the Crimea Platform most likely will be used by more powerful parties/countries for their own purposes as a tool to apply pressure on Russia, if and when necessary, and to excuse and blame their own inadequacies in governing their own countries on the Russia-Ukraine War. This will leave Ukraine as a bystander, at best, and, at worst, as a loser. The Western politicians have already started covering up their incompetencies and blaming everything that is going wrong on Russia, such as energy crises, living costs increases, economic downturns … No wonder Andrej Plenkovic’s incompetent government has hopped onto this bandwagon and the abyss of ridding Croatia of corruption and nepotism seems to be plummeting deeper than before Russia started “copping” the blame for everything. Something must give in Croatia. The sheer weight of corruption, theft and nepotism scandals erupting almost weekly is becoming too heavy.  Ina Vukic

Media Mean Spirits Against Croats Rose Again At Australian Soccer Cup 2022 Match

Revellers and fans of Sydney United 58 soccer club on 1 October 2022 Australia Cup match. Photo: Getty Images/Cameron Spencer

Sydney United 58 (originally Sydney Croatia soccer club) fans and revellers were publicly condemned in Australia’s, and wider, mainstream media for alleged “devastating and shameful” scenes during the Australia Cup final on October 1, 2022, and with them the entire Croatian community of Australia and the Croatian people. Television coverage captured Sydney United 58 revellers chanting “Ready for home” (Za dom spremni!) in unison, raising their arms in the air or waving an open hand or clenched fist in hearty jubilation. Australian mainstream media immediately labelled it Nazi salutes during the match. Immediately, some journalists rushed to declare that it was a Nazi salute like “Sieg Heil”, and with the news of this incident from the match, topics such as Ustashe, Jasenovac, from the Second World War immediately appeared in the mainstream media. News quickly emerged alleging that several Sydney United 58 fans were also booing during the Welcome to Country ceremony conducted at all public events in Australia by a representative of Australian First Nations and during the playing of the Australian national anthem (but footage from the crowd later showed that the latter was not true because the Sydney United 58 fans sang and clapped for the Australian national anthem). The leadership of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies immediately after the game called publicly for “strong action”, including lifetime bans. While Football Australia (football association of Australia) said that the actions of a “very small minority” were not in line with the “values ​​and expectations of the wider community”, and former Australian TV sports presenter and well-known public figure Lucy Zelic, of Croatian origin, promptly expressed her outrage on her Twitter at what happened, was deeply disappointed by the actions of the fans and called for a lifetime ban and a mandatory education course for those involved.

“I was born in the 80s and was never raised to be a fascist, racist or antisemitic – it wasn’t an option. We knew what being treated differently because of your ethnicity, and losing loved ones in senseless war felt like,” wrote Lucy Zelic 2 October 2022 on her Twitter and continued: “What happened at last night’s @AustraliaCup Final was shocking and simply devastating, and I didn’t want to believe it. It was the first time I felt embarrassed by the actions of my fellow countrymen, and I wasn’t alone… Their beliefs and behaviour aren’t a true representation of Croatians, just as the actions of fans aren’t ever representative of a football club. What’s worse, is that many of them appeared to be teenagers who simply don’t know how deeply the ramifications of their actions run…”

So, this soccer match and accompanying media writeups turned into fodder for merciless attacks on Croatian unity and on the pride and purity of Croatian freedom. The media coverage was almost entirely negative, one-sided or with a great lack of context and had the cumulative effect of branding the Croatian community as fascist, racist, discriminatory, or sympathetic to such views. This of course is no news for most Croatians, they suffer attacks regularly that are not based on World War Two facts but on fabrications and mean spirits.   Did this media attack have anything to do with the fact that the Supreme Court of NSW recently ordered a judicial review of the convictions passed in 1981 against the so-called Croatian six for attempted terrorism, which case is considered the greatest injustice in the history of Australian judiciary and justice because it is becoming clear that it was set up by the communist UDBA of Yugoslavia (in collaboration with individuals from Australian authorities at the time), is a feeling that many people in Australia these days carry uneasily.

It was particularly disappointing to watch prominent media figures of Croatian origin, such as Lucy Zelic, who did not use this situation to, in addition to her own outrage at the behaviour of some fans, also use her media platforms and influence to inform the Australian and world public about the history of the For Home Ready “Za dom spremni” greeting, which has its roots long before the Second World War and which had a key motivational chant and basis for the victory in the 1990s over the brutal Serb aggression against Croatia. True, Lucy pointed out in her statements that the “beliefs and behaviour” of those who chanted at the match “are not a true representation of Croats,” but she did not point out what the true virtues of Croats are.

On its Facebook page, the Croatian Embassy in Canberra was quick to condemn the events at the match regarding the Sydney United 58 fans. It was “a small group of individuals whose shocking and reprehensible behaviour does not, and should not, be an embarrassment to the entire hard-working and law-abiding Australians – of the Croatian community,” says a Facebook post on October 3 on the embassy’s Facebook page. But at the same time, and as many people from the Croatian community reported to me, the statement on that Facebook page – “We strongly reject all forms of anti-Semitism and firmly believe that there is no place in society for any glorification of totalitarian regimes, extremism or intolerance” – also had the effect that confirmed the allegations of the Australian media and some influential persons and associations of Australia that the greeting “Za dom spremni” is fascist and Nazi, and that there may be a significant and worrying number of sympathizers of those regimes in the Croatian community! The fact that the official website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia on behalf of the Croatian Embassy in Canberra did not publish any statement regarding this incident is also a source of sadness for most, because the website is the first window to the wider world, not Facebook.

It seems not much has changed on this front since November 2013 when Australian defender of Croatian origins, Joe Simunic, greeted the crowds with “For Home!” (and the revellers replied “Ready!” at the World Cup qualifying match against Iceland. As a result, FIFA banned him from remaining Cup matches.

Sydney United fans at Australia Cup soccer Match 1 Ocober 2022. Photo: AAP/ Dan Himbrech

Croatian youth born in Australia, brought up with a sense of patriotism and pride for Croatia and everything that is patriotic and are certainly neither Nazis nor fascists nor neo-Nazis, but pure Croats who love their parental homeland. In this case, the Croatian community in Australia was thrown under the bus from all sides and even by some of its own people, and now that community must fight for its reputation again, as it did in the 1980s after false accusations of terrorism by the Croatian Six.

Historioghraphically, it is completely undoubtable that the phrase «For home» belongs to the Croatian traditional heritage and, as such, it has been very prevalent in various types of Croatian social life for several centuries. Historical sources evidence that the phrase «For home» was used in ethnological, literary, music, political, military, cultural and other forms of Croatian social life during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It has been applied to very differing occasions and situations, official and everyday ones. Because of all of that the phrase «For home» has become naturalised among the various generations of the widest of classes of Croatian population. With that, the phrase «For home» has acquired very wide communication meanings. Cumulatively, it had represented the widest expression of value of social solidarity. i.e., devotion to home and homeland, but it was also used as a spontaneous and amiable everyday greeting.

The Ustashe movement, whose leadership collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II, especially after Nazi Germany occupied Croatia, just as Serbia did, and established the Independent State of Croatia – NDH (1941 – 1945), used a series of contents from the Croatian traditional heritage in their original or adapted forms. Among other things they adapted the traditional phrase “For home” into their salutation “For Leader and Home Ready!” (Za Poglavnika i Dom spremni). With the ending of World War II, NDH ceased to exist, and the newly established Yugoslav communist totalitarian regime, largely comprised of Serbs at the helms, mounted a cruel and thorough revenge with its representatives and its ideology because NDH fought for Croatian independence from any form of Yugoslavia and communist Partisans fought for Croatia to remain within Yugoslavia.

And hence, all the great and grand and virtuous Croatian history of the “For Home Ready” greeting and salute was suffocated, and it was maliciously turned into a Nazi and/or Fascist salute, which it was not. It is obviously in someone’s interest to keep saying that and those insisting upon it are more likely than not the ones who are still pursuing the big lies their predecessors or even they themselves wrote into the WWII history of Croatia and former Yugoslavia.  And so, we who cherish the truth above all shall keep fighting for it. Ina Vukic

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: