Croatia has fulfilled the last condition, entering US visa waiver program?
According to Večernji list, Croatia managed to achieve its goal. In less than a month, 2,000 Croatian passport holders applied for and obtained a visa for the United States, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which should satisfy the last US condition for the abolition of visas for Croatian citizens.
Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs internally encouraged employees in the state administration to submit an application for a visa, and the cost of issuing a visa was covered from the state budget. As civil servants are people who have a permanent job and the chance of rejection is very small, it was the safest way to meet the quota. As Večernji wrote, Croatia has thus managed to reduce the rejection rate below 3% annually, thus fulfilling the last condition of the United States of America for the abolition of visas for Croatian citizens.
Given that this is a project on which the state leadership has been working practically since the 1990s, the same can be considered a great success. All that remains is to wait for the American side, which will now deal with statistics, and it is interesting that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Croatia on October 2nd to meet with Prime Minister Plenković in Dubrovnik, so there is a possibility that this news will be confirmed in just 5 days in Dubrovnik.
Given that the establishment of a direct route between the United States and Zagreb has been announced for years, the visa waiver program will certainly be an additional incentive for airlines to introduce direct flights between US and Croatia. Of course, not now, at a time of global pandemic when the aviation industry is in big trouble, but after the normalization of the air traffic situation, the direct route (at least in the summer flight schedule) should not be questionable.