Friday, 13 May 2022

Filipović: Janaf Can Significantly Increase Oil Transport To Hungary

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022- Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Davor Filipović said on Friday that the Adriatic Oil Pipeline can significantly increase its oil transport capacity toward Hungary even without additional investment and Croatia will work on becoming an important factor in Europe's energy sector.

Responding to questions from reporters at a press conference, where he presented a call for applications for co-financing from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO), regarding the statement by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that Hungary had the sea taken away from it, Filipović said that Orban's statement was absolutely inappropriate.

In the context of the entire situation, Filopvić said that Croatia is working on becoming an important factor with regard to Europe's energy sector.

"Janaf's current capacity can be increased, without any investment whatsoever, when it comes to oil transport to Hungary, while with certain investment it can be doubled," Filipović said. He added that that is the direction Croatia will go in and that it will take advantage of the present situation to position itself as best it can regarding energy in Europe.

He noted that according to the current capacity, Janaf can transport 11.4 million tonnes of oil to Hungary a year, and currently it is transporting just 2 million. Filipović said that this shows that without any further investment it can significantly increase oil transport toward Hungary.

"In this situation, Croatia is a solution both for Hungary, depending on the outcome of the sanctions, and for other EU countries as well," claimed Filipović.

According to Janaf's website, the pipeline designed capacity is 34 million tonnes of crude oil transported annually (MTA) and the installed capacity is 20 MTA. The system was built for the needs of refineries in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina  (24 MTA), and for the users in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (10 MTA).

The prime minister's economic adviser, Zvonimir Savić, said that the prime minister has said several times that the recent circumstances have put Croatia in a position of additional energy strength. That means that its LNG terminal could become a "more serious factor."

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Croatian Parliament Passes Law On Adoption Of Euro As Legal Tender

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - The Croatian parliament on Friday passed a law on the adoption of the euro as legal tender, with 117 MPs voting in favour, 13 against and one abstaining.

MPs rejected amendments by Bridge and the Green-Left Bloc and a conclusion by Bridge that the government had not endorsed.

The euro is expected to be introduced on 1 January 2023.

As of the 5th of September this year through 2023, prices would be displayed both in kuna and in euro.

Next year there will be no cost for exchanging kuna cash for euro, which will be done in banks, post offices and the Financial Agency. Citizens will be able to exchange kuna bills for euro in the central bank indefinitely.

Bridge and Sovereignists against euro

Before today's vote, some of the opposition again spoke against introducing the euro.

Miro Bulj of Bridge said an estimate of the effects of the introduction should have been made, calling on parliament to repeal the law and saying that experts should state their opinion and the people decide in a referendum.

Marijan Pavliček of the Sovereignists said the party was concerned about how citizens would survive the month upon entering the eurozone and how pensioners and workers would live.

He said it was insane to enter the eurozone during the EU's biggest energy crisis, biggest economic uncertainty, and the biggest inflation in 20 years.

2022 budget revision included in agenda, debate next week

Parliament today added 14 items to the agenda, including a draft revision of this year's budget.

"We'll debate it next Wednesday," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Milanović: Croatia Was Liberated By Its Own Forces And Not By International Coalition

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović, who is the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces, said in Petrinja on Friday that during the 1991-1995 Homeland War Croatia had not been liberated by an international coalition but "was successfully defended by its own forces."

Addressing an oath-taking ceremony for members of the 2nd Mechanised Battalion, President  Milanović told them that their predecessors "first defended and then liberated the country with very limited quantities of weapons." 

Milanović added that "the Croatian Army did not have foreign help at the time and Croatia was defended by its own forces, their heroism, ingenuity, cunning and courage."

"Croatia was not liberated by an international coalition. Croatia was liberated exclusively by Croatian forces relying solely on their own abilities – by Croatian sons and daughters, who joined forces with our brothers from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"The siege of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina was not lifted by American and British planes, but by the Croatian Army and Croatian brigades – not by allied bombs, but by the Croatian Army at the entrance to Banja Luka," he said referring to the developments as a result of the 1995 Operation Storm.

"Only then was the siege of Sarajevo lifted and negotiations on the Dayton Accords began. These are very important things. There are still many witnesses. This will not be easily forgotten," he said.

Noting that "small nations cannot fight big battles," Milanović said that "when the big ones fight, the little ones move away and look after their own interests."

"We don’t have thousands of tanks, we won’t have them and we don’t need them. We must manage smartly, responsibly and cunningly what we have."

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Milanović Accuses Finland Of Ignoring Croatia's Interests

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Friday accused Finland of ignoring Croatian interests for years and reiterated that he would continue fighting for the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina because he considers that an exceptionally good security reason for Croatia.

Milanović was responding to a question from a Nova TV reporter to comment on the statement by Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto, who had allegedly said that Finland was shocked by the president's statements.

"Welcome to the club, mister foreign minister. We have been shocked for several years already by your ignorance and rudeness," said Milanović in response, noting: "If he really said that."

Milanović added that two days ago, the state secretary of the Finnish ministry of foreign affairs spoke with the associates in his office and that he "didn't say that" then.

In his yesterday's statement to Nova TV, Haavisto didn't mention being "shocked" but he said that he hoped for Croatian solidarity and assistance in their bid to join NATO.

We find it a bit strange that our NATO membership is being connected to something we cannot influence, he said.

Milanović's support for Finland and Sweden's aspirations is conditional on a reform of the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"We are shocked that they haven't given a damn about us for years. We are shocked that they are treating us as if we were a member of the Arab League, with all due respect, and not a NATO and EU member. We are shocked that we are obstructed every time we put this topic on the agenda and try to turn our attention to it. I am shocked by the behaviour of the Croatian government and Plenković's part of the HDZ," the Croatian president said.

Milanović stressed that he wouldn't give up fighting for the rights of Croats in the neighbouring country. "I have no choice. I must fight for the basic rights of Croats in BiH peacefully. There is no other option," he said.

Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Friday that it wouldn't be wise to block Finland and Sweden on their NATO path and that that would mean working to the benefit of Russia, and Milanović told him "it isn't a matter of wisdom but a matter of national interest."

Finland's state leadership said on Thursday that Finland had to submit a membership application to NATO "without delay," which is a big turnabout in its policy, prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"What joining NATO means to Finland at this moment, is what Bosnia and Herzegovina means to us. The difference is in the fact that we have been saying this for several years," said Milanović, dismissing claims that he was catering to Russia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Croatia logs 726 new coronavirus cases, 8 deaths

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - In the last 24 hours 726 coronavirus cases, out of 3,772 tests, and eight related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Friday.

There are 4,583 active cases, including 361 hospitalised patients, 17 of whom are on ventilators, while 2,448 persons are self-isolating.

To date, Croatia has registered 1,130,562 coronavirus cases and the death toll is 15,920. Also, 59.51% of the population or 70.78% of adults have been vaccinated, including 68.71% of adults fully.

 

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Ponta Lopud Festival: Frances McDormand & Joel Coen Headline Masterclass Workshops

May 13, 2022 - Actress Frances McDormand and her husband, the director Joel Coen will lead the masterclass workshops of the second edition of the festival on the Croatian island. ''The successful first edition of the Ponta Lopud festival encouraged us to raise the bar even higher'', says one of the founders, Miro Purivatra.

The second edition of the Ponta Lopud Festival in June will turn the island of Lopud for the second time into a creative cultural center for film industry professionals, a place to meet, exchange ideas, and enjoy art. A group of talented regional filmmakers of the new generation will have the opportunity to learn about the professional and personal experiences of artists who are among the top world cinematographers, multiple Oscar winners, actress, and producer Frances McDormand and director, producer, and screenwriter Joel Coen, reports Jutarnji List.

During the festival, McDormand and Coen will hold joint and individual workshops where they will talk about their careers, the experience of working together, and working with many film professionals in the process of making a film.

Frances McDormand has long been considered one of the most significant living actresses. With his character roles and numerous outstanding acting achievements for more than three decades, he has delighted both critics and audiences. Roles in films such as "Fargo", "Three Posters Out of Town", "Land of the Nomads", "Burn After Reading" and many others constantly raise the standards of what we consider acting skills.

This actress and producer of an impressive career have won four Oscars, awarded by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Last year, McDormand became the first actress to win both acting and production awards in the same year for "Nomadland," and is a member of the prestigious Triple Crown of Acting Club, an Oscar, Emmy, and Academy Award-winning artist Tony in the acting categories.

American director, screenwriter, and producer Joel Coen has won four prestigious American Academy Awards, as well as the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Together with his brother Ethan, he has been creating unforgettable authorial achievements for four decades, standing behind films such as "No Country for Old Men", "Fargo", "Barton Fink", "The Great Lebowski", the inevitable titles of film anthologies.

''Frances McDormand and Joel Coen have permanently marked and enriched film art with their work and achievements. He will share his invaluable experiences of creative processes and film as art with young talents in the inspiring atmosphere of the island of Lopud. The successful first edition of the Ponta Lopud Festival encouraged us to raise the bar even higher in all segments of programming and organization of this event, which includes a program for masters and young talents and a specially selected selection of films for fans of the seventh art'', said Miro Purivatra , one of the founders Ponta Lopud Festival.

This year, the Ponta Lopuda program has been expanded: in addition to a series of meetings and talks with masters in acting and directing, professional programs for female cameramen are also planned. About twenty participants of the masterclasses will enjoy the rare privilege of learning from top professionals who fully enjoy their work and are always looking for new inspiration.

During the six days of the festival, participants and the audience will be able to enjoy evening film screenings in unique locations under the stars, the exceptional ambiance of the fortress of the Franciscan monastery Lopud 1483, and the beach of RMH Lafodia Sea Resort.

The second Ponta Lopud festival will be held from June 22 to 27, 2022.

Ponta Lopud Festival is a creative hub, a meeting place for film talents from the region, significant authors from the world of film, and lovers of film art. Developing talents and already established professionals of the seventh art in the inspiring environment of the island of Lopud have the opportunity to gain new experiences and create long-term professional and friendly relationships. At the same time, the Ponta Lopud Festival, which focuses on creative processes and film as art, provides insight into recent trends in regional cinema by bringing together new generations of filmmakers on Elaphite Island. The Ponta Lopud Festival was founded by Tilda Grossel Bogdanović and Mirsad Purivatra in 2021, with a mission to promote and professionally develop a new generation of film talent.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Hospital Doctors Call For Adopting New Abortion Law

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - The HUBOL association of hospital doctors on Friday requested the adoption of a new abortion and pregnancy termination law, saying that half-truths on the case of Mirela Čavajda are creating an unacceptable campaign against doctors and misinterpreting the role of conscientious objection.

In a statement, HUBOL expressed genuine regret for Čavajda, whose unborn child has a brain tumour.

HUBOL said conscientious objection was founded in international legal documents, Croatian law, and the Code of Medical Ethics, and legally, everything about it was clear.

Čavajda's case is not about conscientious objection, HUBOL said, adding that a woman's legal right to abortion and pregnancy termination and a doctor's right to conscientious objection must not be mutually exclusive.

"The Ministry of Health has the duty to ensure conditions for the exercise of both rights," the statement said.

Pregnancy termination in case of a seriously malformed fetus after the 22nd week is feticide, which is not regulated by Croatian law, HUBOL said, adding that a doctor who performs it could be criminally charged.

If such a pregnancy is terminated in a way that results in a live birth, the neonatologist is legally obliged to provide for the baby in the best way possible, or risk being sued for negligence, HUBOL added.

It called for adopting a new law that would clearly regulate the rights and obligations of doctors regarding pregnancy termination as well as protecting children, pregnant women, mothers and doctors from misinterpretations.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Slovenia Will Block Croatia's Schengen Entry, Daily Says

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - Slovenia's new Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon is advocating that Croatia enters the Schengen Area as soon as possible, but on the condition that the border arbitration award is implemented, Večernji List daily said on Friday.

The paper quotes Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman as saying that Croatia's Schengen entry has nothing to do with the border arbitration.

According to the Slovenian STA news agency, Fajon said Schengen should be renewed as soon as possible by setting clear and transparent rules for accession.

Fajon said she was advocating that Croatia join as soon as possible and that those rules included implementation of the arbitration award which defines the Croatian-Slovenian border.

The Croatian parliament adopted a decision to irrevocably walk out of the arbitration process because it was compromised and contaminated by Slovenia's arbitrator and agent, who used illegal means to influence the process.

Slovenia, however, insisted on the arbitration, which continued and an award was delivered which Croatia does not recognise. This was why all Slovenian governments before the last one led by Janez Janša made normalisation of relations between the two countries conditional on Croatia's recognition and application of the arbitration award, which has been unacceptable to all Croatian governments.

After a two-year arbitration break during the Janša cabinet, the problem has now returned with the new government led by Robert Golob, as indicated by Fajon's statement as well as Golob, who said recently that the award remains "an anchor in Slovenia's policy on Croatia," Večernji List said, adding that this could lead to new tensions between the two countries.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

100 Years Since First Croatian President's Birth

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - Saturday, 14 May would have been the 100th birthday of Croatia's first president, Franjo Tuđman, under whose leadership the sovereign, independent and internationally recognised Croatian state was created.

Born in Veliko Trgovišće on 14 May 1922, Tuđman participated in the Partisan movement and early in 1945, holding the major's rank, he went to Belgrade as one of the Croatian representatives in the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Yugoslavia Supreme Headquarters.

Tuđman also worked in the Yugoslav People's Army Chiefs of the General Staff and on the Military Encyclopedia's editorial board. In 1960, he was promoted to the rank of general, after which he left active military service.

Upon returning to Zagreb, he worker as a researcher and in 1961 founded the Institute for the History of the Workers' Movement of Croatia, becoming its director. Since 1963, he taught at the Zagreb Faculty of Political Sciences.

Due to his views on some historical issues, he came into conflict with the authorities and was ousted from the Communist Party, removed from the University of Zagreb, replaced as director of the Institute, and forced to retire.

In January 1972, after the Croatian Spring national movement was crushed, he was arrested and, in a rigged trial, sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Thanks to an intervention by author Miroslav Krleža, the sentence was reduced to nine months.

Due to an interview with Western media in which he advocated pluralist democracy, he was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to three years.

When pluralism was allowed in Yugoslavia in 1989, at a panel of the Croatian Writers Society, Tuđman outlined the platform of the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) party, of which he was elected president at a 17 June founding assembly.

After the party's victory in the first democratic election in 1990, parliament proclaimed him chairman of the Presidency of the Social Republic of Croatia.

After Croatia became independent, he won two presidential elections, in 1992 and 1997. His terms were marked by the military aggression on Croatia, its international recognition in January 1992, the 1991-95 Homeland War, the peaceful reintegration of the Danube region which ended in 1998, and the reinforcement of Croatia's international position.

In 1995, Tuđman co-signed the Dayton agreement, which restored peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He died in Zagreb on 10 December 1999.

Two separate events to mark Tuđman's 100 birthday

On Saturday, the HDZ will mark Tuđman's 100 birthday with a special programme. A symposium entitled "Always and everything for Croatia" will be held at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, with speeches by HDZ president and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Tuđman's closest associates, HDZ founders, dignitaries and party officials.

Some of Tuđman's former associates will mark his birthday in Vukovar, including his younger son Stjepan.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

77th Anniversary Of Bleiburg Tragedy Being Commemorated This Month

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - The 77th anniversary of the Bleiburg tragedy and what in Croatia is known as the Way of the Cross marches is being commemorated this month, with the central commemoration, to be held under the auspices of the Croatian parliament, set for 14 May at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery and in Udbina.

As part of this year's commemorative events, a mass will be served at the parish church in Bleiburg, Austria, at 6 pm today, and Croatia's Ambassador to Austria will lay a wreath there. The memorial service in "Hl. Petrus und Paulus" church in Bleiburg will be said in Croatian.

The central commemoration, including the laying of wreaths and Catholic and Muslim prayers, will take place at Zagreb's central cemetery on Saturday, after which mass will be celebrated at the Shrine of Croatian Martyrs in Udbina, some 140 kilometres south of Zagreb.

On 25 May, a commemorative gathering is scheduled to take place in the State Archive. On 29 May, Catholic memorial services will be held for the victims of the Bleiburg tragedy at Radimlja, Stolac, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Since 1995, with a few interruptions during the SDP government in Croatia, the commemorations in the Loibach field near Bleiburg, in the southern region of Carinthia, have been held in tribute to tens of thousands of Croatian civilians and soldiers of the defeated pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia (NDH) who surrendered to allied forces there in May 1945, but were handed over by British troops to Yugoslav forces. Some were executed on the spot, while many perished during so-called death marches back to Yugoslavia in the second half of 1945.

In 2020, Austrian parliamentarian parties requested an expert opinion on whether such gatherings in the Loibach field could pass the test of constitutionality.

A task force consisting of historians, jurists and Catholic Church representatives as well as local officials in that Austrian province concluded that such gatherings should no longer be held in Bleiburg.

The commission was set up in 2020 in accordance with the decision of the parliamentary parties ÖVP, SPÖ, the Greens and Neos, and the decision of that think tank was prompted by discussion on the political dimension of the commemorations in recent years.

In 2019 the Catholic Diocese in Klagenfurt withheld permission for a mass to be said by someone of the bishop's rank. The Roman Catholic Church in Carinthia turned down the request by the Croatian Catholic Bishops' Conference to hold mass at Loibach, claiming the event was used for political purposes.

On 22 March 2019, the president of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, said Austria and Croatia should jointly deal with the historical issue of Bleiburg.

"I think we need a culture of dealing with history," the Archbishop of Vienna said after a meeting of the country's Bishops' Conference.

The cardinal said it would be good to form a joint commission that would deal with Bleiburg's "complicated history." "I think we need something like that, otherwise we will stay at the level of conflict," he added.

He concluded that for now Austria saw only a "fascist gathering" occurring at Bleiburg, while Croatia's focus was on the painful history of ancestors, the Austrian news agency APA quoted him as saying on that occasion. "Bleiburg symbolises a very painful period in the history of the Croatian people, with many thousands dead," he said.

Croatia protests to Austria over removal of historical coat of arms

On 5 May this year, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs lodged a protest note with Austria over the removal of the historical Croatian coat of arms from the monument commemorating Croats killed at Bleiburg in May 1945.

The monument is located on the private property of an Austrian association, the Bleiburg Guard of Honour, and the reasons for the removal of the coat of arms given by the Völkermarkt municipal administration "are unacceptable to Croatia from both the historical and the social and political point of view," the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

As regards commemorations held at Bleiburg, the ministry said that they must be dedicated solely to the memory of those killed and held as part of Requiem Mass for the thousands of civilian victims.

The Bleiburg Guard of Honour has removed the disputed inscription to avoid any connection between the inscription and the coat of arms, the statement said.

The protest note says that "the coat of arms itself was for centuries a constituent part of the heraldry of the Habsburg Monarchy and as such often displayed on various historical buildings and in historical documents, hence it does not and cannot have unconstitutional connotations."

The ministry also noted that "declaring the historical Croatian coat of arms a fascist symbol has done undue harm to the reputation of Croatia and the Croats living and working in Austria, and has created the impression that Croatia today uses unconstitutional symbols. Croatia strongly rejects such an interpretation."

For more, check out our politics section.

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