Zadar County has particularly active cooperation with several foreign partner European regions and more recently some of the Chinese provinces, with which it has been a long-term partner in numerous projects. These forms of cooperation open new ways of acquiring knowledge and opportunities to present partner countries and their culture in the most beautiful way possible. Successful regional policy within the country, and especially beyond its borders, opens up new opportunities in the creation and implementation of cultural, economic, political and other important components of European Union policy. There is no doubt that this is a geopolitical and cultural framework that can bring direct geopolitical and economic benefits on a regional and national level.
THE ZADAR COUNTY PARTNER REGIONS
The Czech Republic
The friendship between Zadar County and South-Moravian Region has started and was formalized by signing of the Cooperation Agreement on the Zadar County Day, April 16th, 2007 in Zadar. From that moment on, certain changes, determined by the elections, which took place on both the Czech and the Croatian side, didn't affect the quality of our relationship. Mutual visits of delegations, the presentation of the Pag Tourist Board in Brno, the participation of the Zadar County Tourist Board in the Regiontour, the presentation of the South Moravian Region in Zadar, as well as the Eco Ethno Croatia event in Zagreb, and the most importantly the donation for the purchase of ultrasound device to Zadar General Hospital, for what we are extremely grateful, these are just some of the most important events that are the result of our cooperation.
We hope that in the time ahead we will expand our cooperation to other areas. Thinking primarily of the economy, especially in the context of the global crisis, which, unfortunately, has not skipped over our two countries.
Traditionally, for decades, Czechs have been coming to the Adriatic in the summer months. Years of encounters on our beaches, but also the fact that our Slavic languages are mutually intelligible, have made us close. We hope that each new tourist season will attract more and more guests from the South Moravian region to Zadar County, which due to its exceptional natural diversity and rich cultural and historical heritage is considered by many to be the most beautiful Croatian county. Moreover, perhaps thanks to our cooperation through which we have acquainted this beautiful Czech region, many residents of Zadar County will come here as tourists, perhaps as potential business partners or, given the fact that Brno is a university city, even as students.
In the context of our country's accession to the EU, interregional cooperation has an extremely important role. The Zadar County has started to work actively on international cooperation and the Agreement signed with South-Moravian Region is the first formal document of this kind and we are therefore grateful because we have learned a lot through contacts with you.
The Slovak Republic
Trnava Self-Government Region, in the Slovak Republic, borders with three countries - the Czech Republic (the common border of about 45 km), Austria (about 12 km) and Hungary (the common border of 48 km) which creates preconditions of development of cross-border cooperation. The favourable demographic potential, strategic geographic location, long-term spa traditions and favourable climatic conditions are preconditions of further economic development.
Representatives of Zadar County and Trnava self-governing region from the Slovak Republic signed the Cooperation Agreement on October 2nd, 2008 in Zadar. The agreement was signed for an indefinite period and therefore we hope that the cooperation will develop and be to our mutual benefit and satisfaction since Zadar County has been already well known in Slovakia and that about 45,000 Slovak guests visit it annually.
Otherwise, the goals of signing the Cooperation Agreement are to achieve special conditions for, whenever possible, an active relationship between companies, entrepreneurs and representatives of both regions, industrial cooperation between banks, theatres and sports clubs. Zadar County and Trnava Self-government Region also agreed to encourage and facilitate actions that lead to promotion and development of trade and economic cooperation between interested companies, respecting existing agreements and memoranda between two countries. To achieve these goals, the parties agree to take steps to carry out a permanent exchange of data and publications in economic field, to create opportunities for cooperation between companies and to organize fairs and exhibitions in Slovakia and Croatia. It was also agreed to exchange data related to economic and trade legislation.
Both sides will also provide the necessary support to companies participating in trade fairs and exhibitions organized in the Trnava Self-government Region and Zadar County. The regions further undertook to organize a meeting for their representatives in Slovakia and Croatia to examine implementation ways of the Cooperation Agreement and to establish the necessary measures for the continuous development of mutual economic relations.
The Republic of Hungary
Baranya County in the Republic of Hungary offers the friendliness of the people living there, the gentle beauty of the countryside, the harmony between man and landscape as well opportunity to get to know the paleo-Christian monuments in Pécs. Pecs is a World Heritage site, where we can take a dip in the more than 180-year-old homoeopathic waters at Harkány or quench your thirst with the deservedly famous Villány wines. The diverse landscape of Baranya County, its rich multi-national culture, its carefully cultivated traditions, and its historical, monumental and intellectual heritage spanning millennia, make it one of the most attractive regions in Hungary. The artistic and intellectual influence of Pécs, chosen to be the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2010, is a significant attraction for visitors. The more intensive activities of the local government related to international contacts extend to fifteen counties/regions/provinces, within the framework of which active contacts have operated for decades, and there are more recent contacts, some more active and some less efficient ones as well. In particular, neighbouring countries are among partners of Baranya County, but you can find a large number of regions geographically far from Baranya as well as EU Members and areas outside Europe.
The signing of the Cooperation Agreement, between Zadar County and Baranya County, was just the beginning of establishing bilateral cooperation in various fields such as economy, education and arts, knowing that this document is of a just political nature and represents a framework that has yet to be filled with content. As such, the Agreement is the formal basis needed to continue the cooperation that is more concrete. The Agreement does not have a binding form and the signing took place on the Zadar County Day on April 16th, 2010.
Zadar County and Baranya County, to nurture and develop the diversity of trade, economic, cultural and sports cooperation on a mutually favourable basis have concluded the Cooperation Agreement. Special attention is upon creating special conditions for, whenever possible, an active relationship between companies, entrepreneurs and representatives of the contracting parties, industrial cooperation between banks, theatres and sports clubs.
Both Counties encouraged and facilitated, following the law in both countries, actions leading to the promotion and development of trade and economic cooperation between companies concerned, respecting already existing agreements and memoranda between two countries. During years of cooperation, Counties conducted encouraging contacts between trade organizations, private enterprises, cultural institutions, sports clubs, delegations of industrial and other trade sectors, visits of businessmen from the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Croatia and provided the best possible support for the organization and implementation of mutually agreed work agendas.
The Republic of Poland
The Republic of Poland and the Republic of Croatia are countries that understand each other very well and face similar opportunities and challenges. Successful regional policy within the country, and especially outside its framework, opens new opportunities in the creation and implementation of cultural, economic, political and other important components of European Union policy. Today, we are striving for the same goal - a strong and common Europe, seen through a broad perspective that includes building infrastructure, revitalizing, encouraging agro-tourism and many other areas.
Today, Croatia is actively participating in the debate on EU policies after 2020, and developing countries such as Poland and Croatia need to continue to connect and make progress. There are many reasons to continue developing the friendship between our countries and peoples. Zadar County signed an Agreement on International Cooperation with the Subcarpathian Voivodeship on October 20th, 2011 in Zadar. During the joint meetings, both sides expressed readiness for further development of bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest, especially at the regional and local level. Zadar County is especially interested in Polish experiences in the segment of using EU funds, with which the participants of the Round Table on Agriculture, held on October 21st, 2011, could be acquainted with, as part of the first official visit of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship delegation to the Zadar County. Polish and Croatian agricultural experts made special reference to the experience in applying for and using EU funds and models of association and grouping of agricultural food producers, advantages of producer organizations in agricultural production in the use of EU funds - experiences from Poland, possibilities of connecting the agro-food sector of the Subcarpathian region and Zadar County.
During following years of cooperation, the official visits of the Zadar County delegation to the Subcarpathian Voivodeship have led to a series of meetings with Polish institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Development Agency, professional associations of agricultural food producers and representatives of Podkarpackie Voivodeship. Also, there is participation on the international fair of organic products EKOGALA, where on the Zadar County stand, Poles were presented with organic products such as olive oil; wine and fig jam with the promotion of the Zadar County tourist offer of by the Zadar County Tourist Board. Furthermore, we have to mention the cooperation of LAGs from Zadar County and the exchange of experiences with colleagues from LAGs in this Polish region was organized. There are 31 LAGs in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, and the two largest and financially best-organized LAGs, Eurogalicija and LAG Partnership 5 Municipalities attended the meeting with the Zadar County delegation in the Marshal's Office of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. Poland is a country where more than 90 percent of the 39 million inhabitants profess Catholics. It should also be noted that Croatian pre-accession agreement was signed during the Polish EU presidency, and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was among the first to welcome Croatia to "our common home" among the remaining 27 EU member states. Poland's experience shows that joining the EU brings only benefits, that it is not just a political plan or a big diplomatic game, but a concrete life interest of people from a particular country.
Kherson Oblast (region) is located in the southern part of Ukraine, within the Black Sea lowlands. In the Northwest, it borders with Mykolayiv, in the North – with Dnipropetrovsk, in the East - with Zaporizhzhya regions of Ukraine, in the South it shares borders with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The land area is 28,500 km² (4.71% of the total territory of Ukraine). Kherson region ranks the seventh in space among other regions of Ukraine. There are 18 administrative districts, 8 cities, including the regional centre – Kherson city, more than 700 villages in its territory. Altogether, 1.1 million people live in the Kherson area. State border lies along with the territory of the oblast by 458 km (350 km along with the Black and 108 km along the Azov Sea), which has 4 border crossing points: air, river port, Kherson and Skadovsk seaports. Distance from the city of Kherson to Kyiv (the capital) by rail is 664 km, by highways - 605 km. Kherson oblast has significant logistics opportunities, there is an international airport, developed rail and road network, sea trading ports, river passenger and cargo ports in the region.
Two international transport corridors pass through the territory of the Kherson region: the first one is the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, which forms the transport flows of the Middle East and the Balkan Peninsula countries, and the second - the Euro-Asian Transport Links, running from European countries, through the Black Sea ports, to the states of Transcaucasia and the East. This location makes the area the most interesting for business.
Ukraine is an extremely big country and has a great impact on present and future of Europe and Zadar County supports any form of cooperation with Ukrainian regions. There are no open issues between Croatia and Ukraine, and there is a lot of space for progress in all relations, especially economic ones. According to statistics, each year more Ukrainians visit Croatia, which justifies the initiation of an air connection with Kyiv. During the first official visit to Ukraine, Zadar County participated in the 17th UITT tourism fair in Kyiv and presented its tourist capacities and development economic projects. As part of the visit program, the University of Trade and Hospitality Management in Kyiv was visited, and the Maritime Institute from Kherson established cooperation with the University of Zadar to exchange students of maritime study programs. As part of the visit program in Ukraine, Zadar County included meetings with Ukrainian institutions that will be key to establish the best possible international cooperation. Starting from the fact that Zadar County is primarily a desirable tourist destination, on these meetings, in addition to exchanging contact and information on economic trends, tourism legislation and problems encountered in both countries in the tourism sector, it was concluded that there are common areas as a base for international cooperation with this Eastern European country.
During the return visit of the Kherson region delegation to Zadar County, through the celebration of Zadar County Day 2011, the intention to establish mutual regional cooperation between the two regions was officially confirmed by signing the Memorandum of Understanding on trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation between Kherson region from Ukraine and Zadar County, on April 15th, 2011 in Zadar. Kherson Oblast and Zadar County intend to develop cooperation in areas of industry, agriculture, transport and trade; science, technology, education and health care; culture and arts; tourism and sports development; ecology and rational use of natural resources and local government. At the same time, we shall continue to support economic, scientific, cultural and other entities from their administrative areas in achieving trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation and shall help preserve and expand existing and establish new direct contacts between economic entities and local governments.
The People's Republic of China
Zadar County and Hainan Province in the People's Republic of China, following the principles of the Joint Chinese-Croatian Declaration, to further strengthen and develop friendship and cooperation between two sides and promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the Republic of Croatia and the People's Republic of China established friendly relations. Now, China has the most advanced and stable bilateral relations with Croatia in the region. Croatia cooperates with China through three frameworks: through the EU-China relationship, within the China +16 mechanism and bilaterally. Precisely in bilateral relations, we are entering a new phase concerning the entry of Chinese investments in the Republic of Croatia, in which Zadar County intends to be a leader and confirms this with the initiative to establish cooperation with Hainan Province.
Hainan Province, known as Qiongzhou in ancient times, has long been under the jurisdiction of Guangdong Province. But in May 1984, the decision was approved to establish the Hainan Administrative District on the island at the Second Session of the Sixth National People's Congress. Under the district's jurisdiction are also the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands in the South China Sea. The district governing body is the Hainan Administrative District's Government under the Guangdong Provincial People's Government. In August 1987, the State Council proposed to establish Hainan as a province. In 1988, Hainan Island became China's 30th province and its largest economic zone. The Hainan Province administers 9 cities, 10 counties, as well as the islands and reefs of the Xisha Islands, Nansha Islands and Zhongsha Islands and seawaters around them.
The Zadar County delegation accompanied by the Croatian Ambassador to China had an official visit to Hainan Province to participate in the prestigious Boao Forum For Asia 2018 Economic and Business Summit. At the ASEAN International Conference in the City of Boao, the Zadar County Prefect made a speech on one of the panels whose topic was the potentials of cruise tourism and opportunities for cooperation on the Silk Road. There Zadar County presented the port of Gaženica as a new destination for cruise tourism, with special emphasis on the potential of Zadar as a homeport and the development of cooperation in other economic activities in Zadar County.
During the official visit of the People's Republic of China, the cooperation of Zadar County with Hainan Province was formalized by signing a Letter of Intent on friendship and cooperation on April 9th, 2018 in Haikou. Zadar County is very motivated to develop cooperation in the various fields of economy and particularly interested in discussions regarding air traffic. Besides investments in sectors of tourism and culture, medical sector, development of the cargo and passenger port of Gaženica, the Zadar Airport, business zones and opening of the Chinese market to the local economy, cooperation with China opens the possibility of including Zadar and Zadar County in the global project of the Maritime Silk Road.
To further enhance and develop friendship and cooperation between both sides, in promoting mutual understanding between Croatian and Chinese nations, through friendly consultations, both regions have reached agreement to establish sister county-province relationship by signing the Agreement on the Establishment of Sister County-Province Relationship between Zadar County in the Republic of Croatia and Hainan Province in the People's Republic of China on December 13th, 2019 in Zadar.
It is important to mention that medical protective equipment sent to the Zadar County from the People's Republic of China by the friendly Province of Hainan arrived in Zadar in March 2020 during first lockdown period because of COVID19 pandemic. The equipment arrived on a direct flight from Shanghai, through which the Croatian Government has procured about 200 tons of protective equipment for the Croatian health system and other services involved in fighting the coronavirus epidemic. In a shipment destined for Zadar County, friends from China delivered medical supplies, protective masks and suits. The Hainan Province has confirmed with this donation that true friends know each other in trouble. We are also grateful to the Croatian Embassy in Beijing, which coordinated the delivery of equipment to the aircraft. Hard times, it has been proven many times, bring out the best in us, so in this coronavirus pandemic, we had the example of many individuals, but also institutions that got involved in the action of helping our health institutions to buy equipment. The donated equipment has been delivered to health care institutions, homes for the elderly and weak persons and residential care facilities throughout Zadar County. Thank You all for that.
PARTNER REGIONS INVOLVED IN PROCESS OF ESTABLISHING FORMAL COOPERATION
The People's Republic of China
Jiangxi Province abbreviated as "Gan" after the largest river in Jiangxi, the Ganjiang River. It is one of the inland provinces of China. Jiangxi is located in south-eastern China, on the south bank of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Mountains and hills dominate it. Jiangxi Province is located in the mid-subtropical zone, with significant monsoon climate and distinct changes in the four seasons. The province covers an area of 166,900 square kilometres, has a total population of more than 46.47 million, and administers 11-districted cities and 100 counties (cities, districts). There are 55 ethnic groups in the province, among which the Han population accounts for more than 99%. Among the ethnic minorities, the She, Miao, Hui, Zhuang, Manchu and so on are more populated. Porcelain in Jingdezhen has a long history and is famous at home and abroad for its characteristics of "white as jade, bright as a mirror, thin as paper, and sound like a chime". Jiangxi agriculture occupies an important position in the country. The prospect of ecological agriculture is promising, with organic food, green food, and pollution-free food all ranking in the forefront of the country. Since entering the new century, Jiangxi has vigorously implemented a development strategy centred on new industrialization. Non-ferrous industries, electronic information, medicine, automobiles, aviation, food, textiles, photovoltaics, lithium batteries, steel, petrochemicals, building materials and other industries have shown a good momentum of development. At the same time, Jiangxi is still vigorously developing its tourism industry.
The delegation from Jiangxi Province visited the Zadar General Hospital, the Public Health Institute, the new building of the Polyclinic and the University of Zadar. Jiangxi Province expressed interest in establishing international regional cooperation, promoting the exchange of experiences and cooperation between the two regions in the field of public health, medical care, education, culture and tourism and student exchange within study programs and state scholarships, international cooperation with the University of Zadar, development of friendly and business relations between Jiangxi province and Zadar County with the aim of joint development.
Yi Lianhong, Governor of the People's Government of Jiangxi Province, decided to forward a donation of medical protective material to Zadar County, in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic. He expressed readiness to work with the Zadar County to promote practical results in the fight against coronavirus and through the exchange of experiences and cooperation contribute to the improvement and development of both countries and the maintenance of world peace and stability. Through the Croatian Embassy in Beijing, a shipment of 10,000 protective medical facemasks was forwarded to Shanghai, from where it has been delivered to Croatia by direct flight. This valuable donation coincided with the date of the 27th Zadar County Day, April 16th 2020 and in the best possible way represents good friendly relations and quality cooperation established with this Chinese province.
The Republic of Italy
Veneto Region and Zadar County, due to their geographical position and interest in preserving the common largest economic and natural resource - the Adriatic Sea, have special benefits in business cooperation, with special emphasis on partnership projects under the Cross-border Cooperation Program INTERREG VA Italy-Croatia 2014 .-2020, one of the European Territorial Cooperation programs (2014-2020 Interreg VA, Italy-Croatia CBC Program) such as Adri.SmArtFish, PRIZEFISH and DORY and many others. Following many years of cooperation on numerous projects, agreements on the official establishment of cooperation with this Italian region began, when international regional cooperation in the field of economy, culture and education and other possible aspects of cooperation between Zadar County and Veneto were discussed. It is also worth mentioning the joint membership within the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion, which is the institutional framework for identifying and resolving the most important common issues. At the same time, it is a model of cooperation that combines transnational, cross-border and interregional cooperation following modern standards and numerous examples across Europe. The issues addressed by the Adriatic-Ionian Euroregion are the creation of an area of peace, stability and cooperation, protection of cultural heritage, environmental protection and sustainable economic development, especially in the field of tourism, fishery, agriculture, transport and infrastructure issues.
Considering intention to develop interregional cooperation and especially given the similarities in the economic, cultural and historical development of two regions, the Zadar County Assembly on March 3rd 2020 adopted the Decision for signing the Memorandum of Understanding for friendship and cooperation between Veneto and Zadar County. At this point, Zadar County and Veneto Region have fulfilled all legal preconditions to approach on the actual formal signing of the MoU that is going to be scheduled in upcoming times when the epidemiological situation in both countries will be improved and cross-border travel becomes less risky regarding strict epidemiological measures during COVID-19 pandemic.
The Republic of Bulgaria
Plovdiv region is one of the twenty-eight (28) regions in Bulgaria located in its central part. The largest city and administrative centre of the region is the city of Plovdiv. Plovdiv region consists of 11 municipalities. The whole area covers 5.973 square kilometres and has about 707.570 inhabitants. The Plovdiv region is extremely rich in water resources, so the most developed industry is agriculture.
Zadar County, to continue to strengthen friendly relations and establish interregional cooperation with European regions and to improve and mutually increase economic and trade exchange and creating a stimulating investment environment, established quality contacts with the Plovdiv region from Bulgaria. We are honoured by the expressed interest of the Plovdiv region in regional connections with the possibility of opening economic cooperation. Representatives of the Bulgarian region expressed willingness and special interest for cooperation in the agricultural and transport sectors, to improve economic exchange in areas such as the maritime economy - "blue growth", more direct market connections with better transport links, use of renewable energy sources, environmental protection, organic agriculture and wine production, sustainable tourism, sports and promotion of cultural and ecological heritage. Plovdiv region has proposed to organize bilateral economic meetings in Zadar County to introduce, to Bulgarian companies in tourism, transport, mariculture and agriculture, development potential of Zadar County with the possibility of setting up international cooperation. At the time of the Bulgarian delegation official visit, the Zadar County proposed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for friendship and cooperation with this Bulgarian region. The Zadar County Assembly on October 21st 2020 adopted the Decision for signing the Memorandum of Understanding for friendship and cooperation between Plovdiv Region and Zadar County. At this point, Zadar County and Plovdiv Region have fulfilled all legal preconditions to approach on the actual formal signing of the MoU that is going to be scheduled in upcoming times when the epidemiological situation in both countries will be improved and cross-border travel becomes less risky regarding strict epidemiological measures during COVID-19 pandemic.