Interior Minister Davor Božinović is in Washington where, in a series of meetings with representatives of the American administration, several specific forms of cooperation were agreed on security issues, from border protection and combating drug crime, to supporting Euro integration in Southeast Europe.
Meeting with the head of the DEA
Minister Davor Božinović visited the US Department of Homeland Security, the State Secretariat and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He said that Croatia and the USA want to further improve cooperation through an advanced partnership, whereby the American side sees Croatia as a leader and a model for cooperation with other European countries.
He pointed out that at the meeting with the head of the DEA, Anne Milgram, great thanks were expressed for the quality cooperation with the Croatian police, and it was agreed to strengthen security cooperation with the countries of Southeast Europe in the fight against drug trafficking.
Fentanyl a new deadly threat
At the same time, Milgram emphasized her special concern about the increasing abuse of fentanyl, a new scourge on the American drug market, from which as many as three hundred people die every day. “It is the most dangerous and fastest growing synthetic drug, which is even 50 times stronger than heroin and can cause instant addiction,” said Milgram.
“The USA wants to cooperate with Croatia so that this synthetic drug does not start to spread on the territory of Croatia and the EU. It has been noticed that fentanyl admixtures are also added to other types of previously present opiates. Although it arrives on the American market from South American countries, the ingredients for its production come from the Asian market,” added Milgram.
“The fight against organized drug crime cannot be waged locally or regionally, but globally,” said Božinović. He added that given the prevalence of drug smuggling, neither national nor regional strategies are sufficient, but the fight can only be effectively conducted through international cooperation.
Meeting at the Department of Homeland Security
This was also discussed at the meeting with the Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, John Tien, with whom Božinović, in addition to strengthening the security partnership between Croatia and the USA, also discussed providing further assistance to Ukraine affected by the war.
Joint aid to Ukraine
Continuation of cooperation on aid to Ukraine was also one of the topics of the meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Derek Hogan and Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar.
“The American side appreciates everything that the Croatian government has done so far for Ukraine through military, technical and humanitarian aid, including initiatives to support Ukrainian veterans and the resolution on which Ukraine and Croatia are jointly planning an international conference in Croatia in October this year,” Božinović concluded.
'Form the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as soon as possible'
As for supporting efforts related to European integration in Southeastern Europe, Božinović said that during the talks at the State Department, a common point of view was highlighted that the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be formed as soon as possible.
Božinović said that the Croatian side has high expectations of cooperation with the new composition of the Council of Ministers. He also highlighted the leading role of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina in intensifying the country's approach to the European Union, which is a direction supported by the US administration.
At the meeting, he concluded, the necessity of continuing energy projects that also include Bosnia and Herzegovina was highlighted, whereby Croatia and the USA support the construction of a southern link through which gas would come to the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina via Croatia.
Global Entry, confirmation of strong relations between Croatia and the USA
Croatia is a reliable partner and a safe country for the Americans, and as of yesterday, it is the 15th country that entered the American "Global Entry" program. From Europe there are also Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
“This is the latest in a series of successes of the Croatian Government, which began with the presidency of the European Union in 2020, continued with entry into the Visa Waiver program in 2021, entry into the Schengen zone earlier this year and of course now entry into the Global Entry program. Global Entry and Visa Waiver programs are my favorite of all that our agency works on. Facilitating travel and providing security are the foundation of what the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection do. These programs are only possible thanks to partners like Croatia, who are able to join the program thanks to hard work and exceptional leadership. Entry into this program confirms the strong and close relations between the US and Croatia,” said Assistant Secretary of State for International Affairs of the Ministry of Homeland Security Robert Paschal.
“Global Entry is a US Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited customs clearance for low-risk travelers upon arrival in the US. Program participants enter America through an automated kiosk at selected airports. Members of this program show their passports, or "green card", at specialized kiosks and go through a facial recognition check. The kiosk issues a transition certificate to the passenger, after which the passenger goes to pick up his luggage. Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. All applicants go through a rigorous screening and interview before a certificate is issued. The Global Entry program expedites entry into the US, but verified members may still be randomly selected for additional screening. Any abuse of program criteria when entering the US can result in cancellation of membership in the program,” added Global Entry Program Manager Rafael Henry.
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