News item

Bilateral meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo met this Thursday with his Croatian counterpart, Andrej Plenkovic. The meeting marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Croatia and Belgium, which will be celebrated next year. Mr De Croo and Mr Plenkovic mainly discussed the COVID-19 situation in Europe, including the conditions under which stays abroad should be organised this summer.

Prime Minister De Croo reminded Prime Minister Plenkovic this Thursday how much Belgium values European freedoms and the internal market.

Mr De Croo: “I know the European Commission is concerned about our temporary ban on non-essential travel. I can reassure the Commission that we will not enforce this ban for a single day longer than is strictly necessary to protect us from the coronavirus and its variants.

"I would also like to emphasise that Belgium is currently ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal market by maintaining the essential movement and transport of goods," he stressed, reiterating the need for greater European coordination "in order to increase production capacity and better organise the next round of vaccinations against the coronavirus and its variants."

Croatia and Belgium agree on the need for a European vaccination certificate in the fight against the virus. However, this certificate may not be used in a discriminatory manner.

Prime Minister De Croo: "I want to be very clear: the vaccination certificate must also be a test certificate. A negative COVID-19 test must be equivalent to a vaccination as far as the certificate is concerned. We will not allow a vaccination certificate to become an indirect form of discrimination – especially since we will have to combine both a vaccination and testing strategy in the months ahead.”

The Commission will present a proposal on this issue next week. "We will assess the proposal carefully. We will also think carefully about how to ensure the protection of personal data. However, we need a European certificate to ensure we can travel safely this summer, from the point of view of not only travellers, but also the destination countries, which want to protect their health care systems. So, this summer Belgians will be able to visit the beautiful beaches of Croatia and Croatian tourists will be able to explore Bruges and Belgium’s many other beautiful cities.