Thursday, 26 May 2022

Seasonal Food & Wine: Top Chefs Preparing Unforgettable Istrian Gourmet Trip

May 26, 2022 - Seasonal Food & Wine takes place from May 27 to June 10 this year in the charming Rovinj and Bale!

This spring's favorite tourist destination is becoming the center of the most extraordinary gourmet meetings - the rich Istrian tradition, through the diverse offer of dishes, their preparation, and significance, will show all its charms and beauties - on a plate! A unique gourmet spectacle that offers a perfect blend of old and new, traditional and modern, Seasonal Food & Wine takes place from May 27 to June 10 this year in the charming Rovinj and beautiful Bale, and a delicious gourmet offer has been designed just for this occasion.

Top restaurants will prepare well-known traditional Istrian dishes in a modern, unexpected way, tickling your imagination and feeding all your senses. The main role in this magical three-act gourmet rhapsody is played by seasonal, local ingredients from home-grown organic farming. The hardworking hands of the local population have produced the best - respecting tradition and adopting modern trends, lovingly creating products with guaranteed above average quality.

The widely known Istrian cuisine passionately nurtures the glorious past and tradition while cheerfully playing with new and exciting flavors, creating a first-class gourmet experience that leaves no one indifferent.

In keeping with tradition, well-known and award-winning restaurants, led by renowned chefs, La Serra, Anno Domini 547, Restaurant Mediterraneo, Primi Terreni Restaurant & Deli, Restaurant Blu, Laurel and Berry Restaurant, Restaurant La Grisa, and Brasserie Adriatic single out only the best of the best from their offer. 

Dishes like marinated gilthead sea bream wrapped in young raštika, wild asparagus and parmesan risotto, boškarin delicacies, Istrian prosciutto and homemade pljukanci with spring asparagus, wild Adriatic dentex, and many other top dishes carefully selected to faithfully convey all the passion that the hosts have for good food, but also to gain new lovers of local Istrian cuisine. Irresistible desserts such as laurel semifreddo, tiramisu made from freshly picked strawberries, apple tart with homemade vanilla ice cream and asparagus powder, fritters with dried fruit and curd mousse, and a large selection of excellent wines from local winemakers will perfectly round off this unique gourmet story.

The Tourist Boards of Rovinj and the municipalities of Vrsar, Bale-Valle, Kanfanar, and Svetvinčenat have joined forces again with the tourist company Maistra and the Association of Craftspeople Rovinj to offer this unforgettable experience. The seasonal Food & Wine event is an unavoidable destination for many travel writers and gourmands, confirming its position as a top gourmet destination globally. 

Indulge your feelings and embark on the exciting paths of famous Istrian cuisine because on this journey, you will indeed have many new, undiscovered flavors, beautiful landscapes, and magical sunsets!

More information can be found at: https://www.rovinj-tourism.com/hr/kalendar/22470

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

2022 Korčula Summer Season Expected to Catch Record 2019

May 26, 2022 - The 2022 Korčula summer season is expected to catch the record 2019, with the return of many cultural events, a revamped ACI marina, and the soon-to-open Pelješac bridge. 

Korčula has already recorded an excellent pre-season with figures better than the record 2019. All local governments on the island are growing, bookings are crazy, caterers and renters are satisfied, and a hellish season awaits them, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Expectations for a good start to the pre-season in Korčula town have been justified, said the director of the Korčula Tourist Board, Hana Turudić. Compared to April and the first week of May 2019, Korčula has 25 percent fewer arrivals and overnight stays, which are very good numbers and indicators of a successful season, Hana Turudić is convinced. Most guests are still from Croatia and Slovenia, followed by travelers from the USA, Great Britain, and Germany, and markets that have slowed down in the last two years and are looking forward to returning. With no restrictions in place, the possibility of holding numerous events that were called off in the previous two years is now a reality. Following the traditions of the famous Korčula Vela setemana, the 12th Marco Polo Challenge was successfully held, the Croatian Championship in Medium-Long Triathlon, and the Asparagus Festival, Fortress Night, and the Kumpanji Klapa concert on May 1.

"Of great importance are the completed works in the ACI Marina Korčula, which welcomes this season with full capacity and numerous catamaran lines that connect the city of Korčula with Split and Dubrovnik and the islands of Lastovo, Hvar, and Mljet. The Pelješac Bridge opening will be a turning point for further development. In addition, we are announcing numerous events, from the Festival of Knightly Games, classical and popular music concerts, music festivals, the Korčula Baroque Festival and Lost in the Renaissance, food and wine festival Korčula Pjatance, and many other events," announced Turudić.

Lumbarda has recorded excellent numbers, too, and the pre-season recorded an increase of 175 percent in overnight stays compared to last year, but 3 percent more than the pre-pandemic 2019. The director of the Lumbarda Tourist Board, Ante Šestanović, said most guests are Slovenes, followed by the Swiss, French, Norwegians, and Irish. Most of the tourist traffic, more than 41 percent, took place in private accommodation, and they stay for almost a week during the pre-season!

The Municipality of Blato recorded a 25 percent increase in arrivals and overnight stays in the first four months of 2022 compared to 2019. Croats are the most numerous in Blato, followed by Slovenes and guests from BiH and Poland.

"What is worth mentioning is that visitors perceive our island as a destination for a pleasant and quality vacation, and despite all the challenges, expectations for the upcoming season are certainly positive," announced Blato Tourist Board director Maja Separovic.

Several traditional events are planned and held this pre-season at the Blato Tourist Board, starting with the successful traditional gastronomic event Tastes and Scents of the Homeland - Easter Fair in Blato. Then, from mid-May, there are specially designed gastronomic tours for visitors and the local population, to whom they will present local winemakers and producers of traditional lumblija cake.

The Vela Luka Tourist Board director, Dorjan Dragojević, is more than satisfied with the results, especially with overnight stays and arrivals in April, which are 65 percent better than last year.

"Hotel Korkyra has opened, and private accommodation is slowly filling up. Given the good bookings, we expect even better tourist numbers in the future, which we are currently planning at the level of 2019," announced Dragojević.

Although last year's season was excellent for Orebić, this year they are announcing an even better one, primarily due to the Pelješac Bridge opening, and the current figures prove it.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Qatar Airways Zagreb Route Boosted for 2022 World Cup

May 26, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the Qatar Airways Zagreb route is boosted for the 2022 World Cup later this year. 

Qatar Airways, a member of the One World Alliance, has made changes to the type of aircraft on more than 80 international routes in the last two days, including the route to Zagreb. These are operational changes have been made due to the World Cup, which expects great demand for flights to this country, reports Croatian Aviation.

Due to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Qatar Airways is increasing the number of flights to Zagreb and will also use wide-body aircraft on the route.

Namely, from November 17 to December 20 this year, Qatar Airways will operate daily between Zagreb and Doha, with evening departures from Zagreb. Furthermore, instead of the narrow-body aircraft type A320, the wide-body aircraft type Boeing 787-8 will operate on the route.

The World Cup will be held in Qatar from November 20 to December 18 this year, and the national airline is preparing for high demand for its flights. Thus, as mentioned earlier, only in the past two days has the airline made operational changes on more than 80 international lines

Between Doha and Zagreb, the B787-8 will operate a total of 34 return flights, offering Qatar Airways a total of 17,136 seats, of which almost 1,500 seats are available in business class.

Qatar Airways B787-8 aircraft in the business class have a 1-2-1 configuration, while in economy class in the classic 3-3-3 configuration. Recall that before the pandemic in the summer of 2019, Qatar Airways operated twice a day between Zagreb and Doha, and the wide-bodied B787-8 was supposed to arrive in Zagreb in the 2020 summer flight schedule, but that did not happen due to the pandemic. 

The Croatia national team will play this November at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in Group F against Morocco, Canada, and Belgium. Croatia will open the tournament against Morocco on November 23 at 11 am local time at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. The second round is scheduled four days later, on November 27, when Croatia plays Canada at 5 pm at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. The Group F derby is played on December 1, when Croatia and Belgium will play at 4 pm at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.

If Croatia is one of the first two national teams in their group, they will cross paths with Group E, where Spain and Germany are the favorites to pass, while the group also includes Japan and either Costa Rica or New Zealand. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 26 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Rainee Wang from Xi’an, China

May 26, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Rainee Wang from Xi’an, China!

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Rainee Wang from Xi’an, China!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

I was born and raised in central China. After college graduation, I moved to Europe to continue my study in hospitality, and years working in Holland, the US, China, India, and Montenegro. 

The first time I came to Croatia was in 2006 and I visited Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb. I was amazed by the beauty of Croatia. These 3 places are all special in their way. I moved here at the end of 2013. We decided to start our own business here in Split. It has been almost 9 years now. 

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2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

There are some similarities between Croatian culture and Chinese culture. We are both very family-oriented cultures. Family is more important than oneself. Hospitality is a very important part of the social stand. When I visit a Croatian family, the warm welcome I get and the way they take care of me, really reminds me of home, with endless food and drinks, and they won’t let you leave the house without a satisfied stomach. But on the other hand, there are big differences in the business world. In Croatia, especially in Dalmatia, it is very lay-back. This kind of “po lako” culture doesn't exist in the Chinese business world. It made me very uncomfortable at the beginning. I felt like I was living in the last century. I was sure “po lako” culture would never succeed in business.

3. After 9 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

After nine years of living in Croatia, I have changed a lot. I'm used to “po lako” culture. I remember complaining “Nothing is finished on time!” “Look at these Croatians, they just drink coffee all day long.” “Nothing is more important than a coffee break” But now, I am almost one of them. Of course, I cannot change my Chinese nature completely. However, I started to understand why it is this way, and even see the beauty of it. Being slow is not just working slowly. It is 'stop for a moment and enjoy'. It is taking time for yourself. Which I think is the true luxury in the modern world.

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4. After your 9 years, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

When people ask me about Croatia, the first thing that comes to my mind is the beautiful climate, warm people, and delicious food. I think there is no need to say anything about the climate. Nature can speak for itself. People are very warm and kind, I was always treated nicely as a foreigner. However, I have to say it is very difficult to get into the local circle in Split. It seems they don’t like to make friends with outsiders. But it is not true, once you find local friends, they take you in, and treat you like family. The food is delicious. I guess in China food production becomes industrialized mass production. It is hard to find a fresh market in big cities. The taste of fruit and vegetables becomes artificial. That is why I was so surprised to taste “real” vegetables, fruit, and meat. The flavor is incomparable. 

5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

Well, I guess the first thing is always the bureaucracy like everyone else would mention. “Jedan papir fali” is true. There is always one paper missing. I have never finished anything with just one visit to the government building. But after nine years of dealing with MUP, I have developed my way of communicating with them. Since Covid started, when most of the communication went online, it is much more efficient.

I mentioned earlier that I started to enjoy the “po lako” culture. But sometimes. I still miss the real business world when everything is organized and punctual. I miss the procedures (I cannot believe I am saying this).

6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

I'm not a person who gives advice, because everybody has a different lifestyle and different cultural background. But for Chinese people who want to move to Croatia, I would suggest being patient. Things will be done. But it just needs more time. One minute of Croatian time is not one minute of Chinese time. We always need to find a way around and use the connections we have. If you don’t have one, build your connections. 

WhatsApp_Image_2022-05-25_at_4.12.25_PM.jpeg7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

I think there is no most beautiful place, only a more beautiful place. Each place is unique. My first visit to Croatia was to Dubrovnik, I thought this is the most beautiful place in Croatia, but when I arrived in Plitvice I felt a different beauty. The islands are all beautiful in their own way.  For me, the most beautiful place in Croatia is the island of Vis, the small yet authentic little town with amazing nature and rich history behind it. However, as I said before, Vis is my favorite place in Croatia for now, maybe in the future, I will have more discoveries.

8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

I have had many memorable moments in Croatia. The favorite ones are always the time spent with my favorite people. Weddings for sure. I have been to a few weddings in different locations. I enjoyed them all, the stunning view, and the cheerful people. The Christmas market on the Riva, back in 2015, and 2016 was special. I was working in one of the “kućica” on the Riva. In the cold winter, the atmosphere of the whole place was warm. Now they have moved the Christmas market to Đardin.

Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Croatian Construction Industry Doomed to Import Labour Long-Term?

May the 26th, 2022 - Is the Croatian construction industry simply doomed to have to import foreign (non-EEA) labour as an attempted long-term strategy to keep things afloat?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, there are fewer and fewer ''homegrown'' workers in the Croatian construction industry, and an increasing number of foreign workers on construction sites pose a number of challenges to the companies that hire them, according to the panel discussion "Challenges of the workforce" which was held in Zagreb recently.

Dragutin Kamenski, the director of the very well known company Kamgrad, pointed out that if the country successfully removed all other challenges that the Croatian construction industry is currently facing, and only the lack of manpower remaind, we'd still be in trouble.

A very complex process

"Now, the state has begun to take steps to facilitate labour migration, but it remains to be a very complex process because it requires additional efforts in bringing and introducing a new workforce to a particular company, as well as additional organisation and costs. As there is no additional base for recruiting labour here in Croatia, it's clear that in the long run we're doomed to importing foreign construction workers under any conditions,'' said Kamenski, adding that so far, they have had all kinds of situations with agencies that bring in foreign workers arise.

"Recently, a large number of agencies have appeared that bring in foreign labour, and time will show which ones are good and bring in high quality workers, and which aren't. If you end up with inadequate workers, it raises your costs and you're less competitive overall,'' Kamenski pointed out.

Based on his own many years of experience, he stated that in fact the best workers were those who did their training within large construction systems, and then eventually moved to smaller companies such as Kamgrad.

However, he is aware that is now rapidly becoming a thing of the past and that such workers no longer exist, and that now the focus should be on developing the Croatian construction industry's workers here in the country, and even more on selecting and introducing a foreign worker and then educating and introducing them to the whole process.

“Technical staff without knowledge of the Croatian language can only do a small range of work. We employ 10-15 trainees a year, of which only one or two remain,'' concluded Kamenski. Danijel Risek, the director of Hidroing, pointed out that they're a relatively small company that didn't have any major needs for the import of foreign labour, and what they did experience had a focus on nearby Kosovo.

“We're too small a company to go into the process of finding a workforce on our own, so we're referred to agencies. It's important to have a correct relationship with such agencies so that they know exactly what we need,'' said Risek. Stjepan Jagodin, the director of Pinoy385, a company specialising in the employment of Filipino workers, said that there are currently more than 300 agencies across the Republic of Croatia registered for employment mediation.

"An unregulated market leads to a situation where everyone comes to us, without any selections and conditions, and then the problem is that companies that hire such workers. In tourism, there are precise conditions that you must have and know in order to open an agency, and employment mediation can be done by anyone. That must be regulated urgently,'' Jagodin said.

Knowledge of the market

Ana Jadresin from the Manpower Group pointed out that it takes time for the market for mediation in the employment of foreign workers to be profiled. "Agencies that deal with employment mediation, be they domestic or foreign, must have a good knowledge of the market and the needs of their clients - what exactly companies need, what qualifications are necessary, what level of digital literacy there is, etc.

The problem is often that the client himself doesn't know what kind of workers he needs and what qualifications will be necessary, so it becomes difficult to meet their expectations. On the other hand, it's pointless to give unrealistic promises to foreign workers about a country with rivers full of milk and honey, because that only leads to frustration,'' stated Jadresin.

The issue faced by the Croatian construction industry isn't something new. The demographic crisis the country has been in for a very long time now has been a gradual drain on labour across all fields, even with the tourism sector, otherwise the country's strongest economic branch, also suffering tremendously. The Ministry of the Interior's infamously drawn out and draconian procedures often result in employers not getting work permits approved for their foreign staff in time, resulting in the dire need for a rethink.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Croatian ZagrebMed Platform Bringing Together 20 Leading Facilities

May the 26th, 2022 - The new Croatian ZagrebMed platform, set to launch as part of the country's blossoming health and wellness tourism offer later this year, has already gathered some impressive names.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, in October this year, a new digital platform for health tourism in the City of Zagreb called ZagrebMed will be launched, which will bring together about 20 leading health institutions from various fields of medicine, which are ready to take a significant step forward on the demanding global market.

The team headed by Ivan Rendulic, founder and director of RexRea, which has been actively working on the development of Croatian medical tourism for the last eight years, has made an effort to connect patients with Croatian institutions and doctors.

Rendulic explained that they have the strong support of the Zagreb Tourist Board in the formation of the Croatian ZagrebMed platform, and revealed the details of the ambitious project.

Among the institutions that have already joined the future Croatian ZagrebMed platform are Klinika Svjetlost, Agram, Akromion, Magdalena, Aksis, Naftalan and the polyclinics Bagatin, Sinteza, IVF Zagreb, LF Medical, Poliderma and Avitum, and some other well-known institutions are currently preparing to join the expanding list.

"We have excellent doctors and institutions in Zagreb with excellent services, but when we have a look around outside of Croatia and go to various world fairs and gatherings dedicated to medical and health tourism, we realise that few people know about this country's rich offer. With the arrival of a large number of patients from Italy, we've developed our dental tourism offer, and we're slowly losing our grip on that market, because we have growing competitors in Albania, Hungary, Serbia, and more and more Italian patients end up going there instead of coming here,'' warned Rendulic, who therefore wants to bring together leading institutions within the scope of the Croatian ZagrebMed platform.

So far, ZagrebMed has 12 private healthcare facilities under its belt, and the plan is to have about 20 leading institutions by the time it launches properly this October.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Digital Supercameras, New Video Surveillance Coming to Croatian Roads

May the 26th, 2022 - A large number of brand new supercameras and an entirely new and modern system are set to be installed along Croatian roads as part of an EU project.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the modernisation of the entire system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be introduced on Croatian, which will involve 1,727 brand new digital supercameras.

“Like any new system before it's commissioned, this one must pass a test phase and the validation process in order to make sure that it will react in a timely manner in real conditions. Given that the system is in a phase when it isn't possible to postpone implementation and testing, this is the only possible time period before the main tourist season when it can be implemented, and so that everything is ready by the end of 2022,'' a Croatian roads (HAC) statement said.

The closure of individual sections of motorways

During the implementation and testing of this new equipment, in order to preserve traffic safety and road users, there will be frequent closures of certain sections of the A1 motorway for all traffic. That traffic will be diverted to bypass routes during the closure, HAC said.

Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro)

The new traffic control and management system Crocodile 2 Croatia (Cro 2 Cro) is part of the Crocodile project launched at the European Union (EU) level, writes HAC.

“The introduction of this system on Croatian roads will ensure coordinated traffic management and control, making the country become part of the integrated ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) on European roads. The new system will make it much easier for users to plan their travel and get information. The project is being co-financed by the European Union,'' they added.

What will the new cameras on Croatian roads be able to do?

“Along with the implementation of the new traffic information system, a new video surveillance and video detection system will be installed, which will significantly raise the level of road safety.

Analog cameras will be replaced by new digital and more technologically advanced ones. The new cameras will be able to detect potentially dangerous situations faster and more safely (such as when people are driving in the opposite direction, when there's a stopped vehicle, when there's a pedestrian on the road, etc.), and will as such provide a faster reaction in order to inform users about the event,'' concluded HAC.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

LNG Terminal Zadar on Agenda as Croatia Creates Distance from Russia?

May the 26th, 2022 - Is LNG Terminal Zadar on the cards as Croatia, much like the rest of Europe, continues to reduce its reliance on Russian gas imports? It certainly looks that way.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Ministry of the Economy and Sustainable Development has issued a Decision for the ecological network, which means that Zadar could soon be the next Croatian location drawn onto the gas map of the Adriatic. The decision is now going to remain valid for four years, and the holder of the project is LNG Hrvatska d.o.o. which, through three phases, plans to build a place for gas supply in Zadar's Gazenica, according to Pomorac.

In the first phase of the construction of the would-be LNG Terminal Zadar, as stated in the text of the project, a dock for vessels and a mooring for vessels will be built. One liquefied natural gas tank with a capacity of 3,000 cubic metres, a condensing plant, filling stations for tank wagons with one transshipment point, filling stations for LNG tanks and ISO containers with two transshipment points and filling stations for vehicles powered by liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas will also all be constructed.

In the second phase of construction, the storage capacity will be raised to 10,500 cubic metres of gas by upgrading the 7,500 cubic metre tank, and then another transshipment point will be made for the tank car and two more for LNG tanks and ISO containers.

In the third and so far final phase of the LNG Terminal Zadar project, the capacity of the tank is planned to be raised to 30,000 cubic metres of gas, and the plant will comply with the highest international standards. A new substation, a control building for the Zadar gas terminal, as well as new areas for traffic and cargo operations are also planned, along with a new drainage and wastewater treatment/management system.

The port is planned to be located at berth 1 of the Gazenica cargo port, and the planned project is located outside of the ecological network, or more precisely, it is a little less than 6 kilometres away from it. This is an area of ​​conservation which is deemed very important for birds in Ravni kotari, which belongs to the area which was placed under ​​special protection back in 2013, in accordance with the Regulation on the Ecological Network (Official Gazette, No. 124/13).

The originally mentioned Decision concluded that the LNG Terminal Zadar will not have any harmful effects on the ecological network, despite the constant presence of man and potential noise pollution. The decision, as such, is enforceable in administrative proceedings.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Two Black Hawk Helicopters, Donated by USA, Presented at Pleso Airbase

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 - Two multi-purpose Black Hawk (UH-60M) helicopters, donated to Croatia by the USA, were presented at the Pleso military airbase on Wednesday, with Defence Minister Mario Banožić participating in the first test flight.

The two Black Hawk helicopters and their equipment are valued at $138 million, with $53 million provided by the US government and $85 million by the Defence Ministry.

The helicopters will primarily be used to transport people and equipment. They can transport up to 11 passengers and two technical pilots.

They can develop a speed of up to 360 kilometres per hour, their ceiling altitude is six kilometres and the maximum flying distance 511 kilometres.

US envoy, Commanding General, Special Operations Command-Europe Major General David Tabor underscored that with the US donation, Croatia has strengthened its capabilities and security as a country and as a member of NATO.

After the test flight, Minister Banožić said that the helicopters are equipped with excellent equipment.

He said that the plan is for the other Black Hawks to arrive by the end of the year.

With regard to the training of Croatian pilots, Banožić said that "enough of them have undergone training until now" but he didn't want to reveal how many.

He commented on the replacement of the Soviet-made Mi-8 and Mi-171 helicopter fleet whose resources expire in 2023, saying that talks were being held with the allies and partners regarding further steps. 

Talking about the construction of hangars for the new equipment, Banožić said that infrastructure development was launched in 2021, however, problems occurred with the public procurement procedure and it had to be cancelled.

Two hangars are currently subject to public procurement procedure. They should be built in six months' time after the procurement is signed, Banožić said, noting that two new hangars should be built by 2023.

Attending today's presentation of the US military donation was also President and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Zoran Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Milanović: Croatia, too, Could Have Indicted Vučić, but Didn't

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović repeated on Wednesday that Serbia should watch its actions and that he was only asking for "a fair relationship" between the two countries, adding that Croatia could have indicted Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić but made a political decision not to do it.

"Look at what is happening to Sweden which wants to join NATO. Maybe it had reason to be arrogant towards Turkey over the past 30 years but now it is asking for mercy. So, watch what you say and do because what goes around comes around," Milanović said in a message to Serbia.

The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office has issued an indictment against Croatian Air Force officers Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Željko Jelenić and Danijel Borović for war crimes against Serb civilians because on 7 and 8 August 1995, during Operation Storm, they allegedly ordered a missile attack on a refugee convoy outside Bosanski Petrovac and in Svodna, near Novi Grad, northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the indictment, 13 people were killed in the attack, including six children, and 24 were wounded.

Milanović on Tuesday said that the indictment would cost Serbia, which Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić today interpreted as a threat.

"Who is Serbia's prime minister? Is Brnabić still the prime minister?... I have not seen her in Krk for a long time, she is welcome," Milanović said in an allusion to the fact that Brnabić's family from her father's side hails from the northern Adriatic island.

Recalling the time when he was prime minister, Milanović said that "Vučić's speech in Glina (in 1995) was a criminal act", but a political decision was made for Croatia not to indict him.

"Vučić did not kill anyone, that's true, but his rhetoric at the time cost many people their lives and souls," he added.

Criticising Serbia for accusing Croatian pilots of crimes, Milanović said he was only asking Serbia to act in a fair manner, recalling that Croatia was a member "of the associations Serbia aspires to join."

He added that there was no need for the Serbian PM "to be nervous" because he was also speaking in Serbia's favour.

Milanović repeated that some conditions set by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) for Serbia's EU accession are "exaggerated" and that "one should refrain from humiliating anyone" but that the neighbouring country should "be careful about what it does" considering its EU membership bid.

Stoltenberg cannot change anything

Milanović does not share the Croatian government's position on Finland and Sweden's NATO membership candidacy and wants Croatia to make support to their bid conditional on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law.

Milanović and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenbrg spoke over the telephone on Tuesday, and the reason was Milanović's letter to NATO member-countries regarding the status of BiH Croats.

"He cannot change anything in that regard, he is technical personnel. He is expected to distribute the letter, anyone who wanted to has now read the letter and that's it," Milanović said.

He added that the NATO secretary-general was not the one making decisions but implementing them and that "it is his task to listen to the Americans", with the USA "being the boss", however, being Croatia's president, he was fighting "for his own."

Milanović said that Stoltenberg did not share his view that Finland and Sweden's NATO accession should be linked to the amendment of BiH's election law but that he called for taking into account Turkey's reservations to the two countries' accession.

When Turkey presents its demands, then that's not a problem, Milanović said, describing his conversation with the NATO secretary-general as friendly.

He again criticised "the apathy and misery of Croatian politics" with regard to the protection of national interests.

"Let's be clear, Bosnia and Herzegovina does not belong to Croatia... I do not want anyone to think that we act the same way as Budapest... with its constant insistence that this used to be Hungary. This used to be Austria as well, from Pula to Dubrovnik... yet you do not hear Austrians say that this was Austria's sea because they are mature," Milanović said.

For more, check out our politics section.

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