In politics, what is considered short-sightedness or far-sightedness is often not a question of visual acuity, but of timing.

The Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who has been in power since 2016, and his predecessors have long been criticized, hostile and ridiculed for the plan to have an LNG terminal built on or off the island of Krk, near the town of Omišalj.

A facility in which liquefied gas cooled to minus 162 degrees Celsius is returned to its previous state and fed into the grid.

When liquefied, the gas takes up only one six hundredth of its normal volume.

It was clear early on that Croatia's entire annual demand could be covered by a single LNG terminal.

But resistance to it was broad and stubborn.

Michael Martens

Correspondent for Southeast European countries based in Vienna.

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Mirela Ahmetović, the mayor of Omišalj, made fighting the project her trademark.

As long as she is mayor, she will exhaust all legal means to stop the project, the social democratic politician promised.

The local resistance on the largest island in the Adriatic was supported by environmental activists from all over Croatia, by the green party “Možemo” (“We can”), which governs the Zagreb city council, by various energy market experts and by parts of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Josip Bozanić, Archbishop of Zagreb and former chairman of the Croatian Bishops' Conference, spoke out against the project, as did many media.

A detailed report by the investigative portal "Balkan Insight" in January 2017 began like this: "Environmentalists and locals denounce it.

Experts speak of a waste of taxpayers' money.

So why is Croatia pushing ahead with a project to transform a popular tourist destination into a LNG hub?”

This prejudiced tone characterized a significant portion of the coverage of the terminal, which opened in January 2021.

In the shadow of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, the project now appears wise and forward-looking, at least in retrospect.

The American embassy in Zagreb, which had always supported the construction because it was of course also about the sale of American fracking gas, praised Zagreb's "brilliant move": Croatia was thus in an excellent position to become a regional hub energy supply and to reduce the dependency of its neighboring countries on Russia.

The Americans are now warning that the plant on Krk should be expanded quickly.