Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Former CNB Governor Damir Odak Talks Eurozone Entry

May the 25th, 2022 - Former CNB governor Damir Odak has discussed Croatia's current final preparations for entrance into the Eurozone, scheduled for the very beginning of next year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian kuna that has been deposited into banks by the last day of this year, will ''wake up'' on January the 1st, 2023, as euros, said former CNB governor Damir Odak.

Odak was a recent moderator of the round table ''The expected impact of the euro on banks'' which was held as part of a larger conference called ''The Financial Market'' in Opatija. Former governor Damir Odak said that then, at the time of conversion, the amounts will be ''divided by 7.5 and something'', kuna and euro bank accounts will be merged into one single account, and of course, all Croatian bank accounts will have new balances shown in the new currency - the euro. Whoever comes to an ATM or branch to withdraw cash will receive euros instead of kuna, he explained, as Novi list reports.

The round table was attended by the presidents of the leading domestic banks, all of whom are preparing for the huge project of introducing the euro as Croatia's currency in 2023. In some banks, as it was said, there is a ''general mobilisation'', to make sure that everything is in order so that all processes run smoothly and the transition to the new currency is as painless as possible.

Mario Zizek, President of the Management Board of Addiko, says that the project of introducing the euro is priority number one in that bank. "It often happens to all of us that projects slip out of people's full attention within a few days, but with the introduction of the euro, this is far from the case," said Zizek. Balazs Bekeffy, President of the Management Board of OTP banka, says that, based on the experience of others, some services and products may become more expensive, but this will not be anything drastic.

Liana Keseric, President of the Management Board of Raiffeisen Bank, said that they have five key focuses at this moment in time: their clients, leadership, risk management, technology and processes. Marko Badurina, President of the Management Board of Hrvatska postanska banka, says that despite the short-term costs, the long-term net effects are positive. Christoph Schoefboeck said additional cost optimisation will be needed.

By joining the Eurozone, the day before, CNB Governor Boris Vujcic reminded the banks that they would have the full help of the European Central Bank/EC) at their disposal, which is something the CNB had issues with due to its limited maneuver due and the already very high ''euroization'' of the banking system. Therefore, many restrictions will be lifted, the required reserve will be significantly reduced, and the obligation to cover foreign currency liabilities with foreign currency claims will be abolished. Therefore, a new wave of liquidity awaits them. However, it has also been said that banks are also facing negligible costs due to the adjustment of all of their internal processes, IT systems, applications, information campaigns, and also the loss of some jobs, such as those held by people working in exchange offices.

The most interesting presentation was given by the President of the Management Board of Privredna banka Zagreb, Dinko Lucic. He said that banks are big advocates of the introduction of the euro in Croatia precisely because they aren't looking at the short term, because if they did only take that into consideration, he said, then they'd really have high costs. Lucic recalled the experience of Slovakia's accession to the Eurozone:

"According to the experience there, and knowing the opportunities here, for larger banks on the Croatian market, the costs related to the introduction of the euro could range between 10 and 17 million euros, which is a serious cost in the short term. In the long run, however, we expect an increase in economic activity, greater attractiveness of the state for foreign investment, greater need for financial instruments and we see this as an opportunity to partially compensate for the costs incurred,'' said Lucic.

"It will be smoother in Croatia than it was in some other countries where the euro was introduced. However, when I compare Croatia and Slovakia, there was a much bigger national consensus in Slovakia on the introduction of the euro, while some recent research shows that there are still many Eurosceptics and those who argue that this is something very negative. That said, the euro brings long-term benefits to society as a whole, that’s for sure. Its importance for crisis stability is particularly evident. The sooner we adopt the euro, the better,'' concluded Lucic.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Split Destinations You Can Visit Using Public Transport

May 24, 2022 - You can spend a large part of your itinerary in the city centre, but did you know that you can get to know many interesting Split destinations by bus? We're going to show you how.

Whether it is a short visit or for a week, the City of Split can fill your itinerary with activities of all kinds, sights, gastronomic spots, and much more. But what if you feel the need to explore your surroundings? Surely from the window of your plane, shortly before landing, you noticed that Split is much more than just its centre. In the high season, you may want a little respite from the crowds, so why not explore some of the nearby Split destinations? By using public transport, you can save yourself the fees of renting a car to visit these relatively local destinations, as well as the tedious search for parking in the city.

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Photo: Ivo Cagalj/PIXSELL

The public transport system in the City of Split is called Promet (Traffic) and its buses can take you beyond the centre. The bus network is divided into four zones, and that is how ticket prices are determined (based on proximity to the very centre). If you're very clear about where you're going, you can buy your tickets at the Tisak stands indicating the area you are going to, or you can also pay the bus driver himself, indicating the exact destination you are going to.

The prices of bus tickets by zone are as follows:

Zone 1: 9 kuna

Zone 2: 13 kuna

Zone 3: 17 kuna

Zone 4: 21 kuna

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Image: Promet Split

Now, the question is, where do you want to go? Generally, everything in the centre of Split is part of Zone 1. You can choose between beautiful and less crowded beaches, small and picturesque old settlements, or even historical places beyond that zone. The choice is yours. Here are some ideas for Split destinations you can visit in zones 2, 3 and 4 with the city's public transport system.

ZONE 2

Solin

Solin is located very close to the centre, just northeast of Split. Originally called Solana, it was a Greek colony founded in the 3rd century BC, and later a Roman colony. At that time, it ended up becoming the fourth largest city in the entire Roman Empire. For a zone 2 ticket to Solin, you can go ahead and visit its impressive ruins. You'll need to get on bus number 2 (Split - Poljička - K. Sućuraj (Strinje) - Split Airport), or bus number 38 (Split - K. Stari - Resnik).


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The ruins of Solin. (Photo: Mario Romulić)

Stobreč

On the southern loop of Split zone 2, Stobreč is the first destination you can get to. It's ideal if you are looking for somewhere nearby to relax and with a good number of bars and restaurants. Stobreč also has a golf course, if that's your thing. You'll need to get on bus number 60 (Split-Omiš) or number 25 (Split-Stobreč).

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Overview of Stobreč. (Photo: Mario Romulić)

Podstrana

Passing Stobreč, you'll reach Podstrana. Podstrana has a large number of beautiful beaches, with bars and restaurants on them. I always say, if you are looking to enjoy the sea in Split and away from the crowds, go to Podstrana. If you're looking for something other than the beaches, you can also go hiking in the surrounding hills or kayaking on the Žrnovnica river. Did you also know that legends say that Podstrana is where the famous King Arthur could have been buried? You'll need to get on bus number 60 (Split-Omiš) to get here.

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The sword of Artorus, in Podstrana. (Photo: Ivo Cagalj/PIXSELL)

ZONE 3

Kaštela

Please note that there is more than one Kaštela! It won't be something that will have much relevance when paying for your ticket, since they're all in the same area. Kaštela is located northwest of Split, on the way to the airport. No matter which Kaštela you decide to go to, be sure to enjoy its promenades, beaches, and marinas! You'll need to get on bus number 2 (Split - Poljička - K. Sućuraj (Strinje) - Split Airport), or bus number 38 (Split - K. Stari - Resnik).

Krilo

If you pass Podstrana, heading south, you will enter zone 3. There are many places that you can visit almost in succession: Mutogras, Jesenice, Sumpetar, Dugi Rat... Krilo has very nice beaches, as well. You'll need to get on bus number 60 (Split-Omiš).

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Krilo. (Photo: Tino Juric/PIXSELL)

ZONE 4

Duće

Duće is one of the last destinations in zone 3 to the south. Many continue on to Omiš, but Duće is a place that deserves all your attention for its beautiful beaches and camping sites. You'll need to get on bus number 60 (Split-Omiš).

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At the beginning of Zone 4, just before Omiš, you'll find Duće. (Photo: Mario Romulić)

Trogir

Passing the Split Airport, you'll find the very ancient and picturesque town of Trogir. Often regarded as the miniature version of Split, its beautiful promenade and narrow streets will stick in your mind for a long time. A good idea is to find pristine beaches in the bridge-connected island of Čiovo. You'll need to get on bus number 37 (Split - Split Airport - Trogir).

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Trogir. (Photo: Mario Romulić)

Omiš

Omiš is one of the most popular and largest towns on the coastal road between Split and Dubrovnik. Just 40 minutes from the center, Omiš is a true jewel of the Dalmatian coast, with beautiful old streets, the Cetina canyon, and wonderful beaches. You'll need to get on bus number 60 (Split-Omiš).

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Omiš. (Photo: Mario Romulić)

For more information on Split's bus system, be sure to check the official website of Promet.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Milanović Tells Serbia Indictment Against Croatian Pilots Will Cost It

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that indicting four high-ranking Croatian Army officers for alleged war crimes will cost Serbia, calling out politicians in that country for "unintelligent behaviour" with which Serbia will never succeed in joining the European Union.

Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor's Office indicted four high-ranking Croatian Army officers for alleged war crimes. They are accused of shelling a refugee column during the military Operation Storm on 7 and 8 August 1995.

"These indictments have occurred despite our years-long attempts to convince them not to play with fire and that it will cost them. I cannot be more polite, I hope they are listening to me. Leave that alone. Otherwise, they should not be surprised by reactions by right-wing lawmakers in the Sabor. The problem is that the majority of people in Croatia think like that," Milanović told reporters.

Asked by N1 television if he was afraid of being indicted for his speech in Glina in 1995 as a possible response to Serbia indicting four Croatian generals, Serbia's President Aleksandar vučić said "the Serbs didn't kill Croatians, it was the Croatians who killed Serbs."

Milanović called on Vučić "not to do that." "I can keep things rhetorically under control to a certain measure. But then this comes from Belgrade and how then can I explain that we pursue a well-intentioned policy?"

Milanović said that these moves by Serbia were "unintelligent behaviour" by a state that is "impoverished and degraded," and that does not have its status resolved anywhere.

"They don't want to join NATO, OK. They will never join the European Union this way. Who needs this? Who is pursuing this policy? Which citizens there is the prosecutor's office addressing?" Milanović said.

He went on to say that he is convinced that 75% of citizens would support his and the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's common stance about Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that just as many people in Croatia believe that "Croatian prosecutorial authorities should indict Vučić."

Milanović however said that that should not be done because Vučić is "being tactical." "And then we hear that nobody killed anyone, but instead the Croatians killed Serbs," he added.

"I am sorry for every Serb who was killed. They need not have been. But a huge majority of Serbs fled straight away. That is a fact. Even the tribunal in The Hague confirmed that," said Milanović.

"Serb brethren, come to your senses," Milanović said, adding that he would probably now be proclaimed an "Ustasha." "Last week I was a Serb."

"We have to be clear and just in our relations with Serbia, articulate what we expect of them," he added

Last week the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts called on Serbia to stop inciting animosity against Croatia and prosecuting Croatian citizens, to renounce Greater Serbia propaganda and respect its obligations in line with agreements, such as protecting the reciprocal rights of the Croat minority and ensuring for Croats free political and cultural organising, as Croatia ensures for the Serb minority.

TFor more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Croatia, Italy Sign Agreement on Exclusive Economic Zone Demarcation

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - Croatia and Italy have signed an agreement on the demarcation of exclusive economic zones, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Rome on Tuesday, calling the document historic for the two countries' relations.

Speaking to the press after meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio, he said the signing of the agreement was a "keystone" in Croatia-Italy relations.

The agreement defines the demarcation line of the exclusive economic zones between the two friendly neighbours and permanently regulates demarcation with Italy in line with international law, said Grlić Radman.

The agreement confirms the existing demarcation line of the continental shelves, he added. "By defining this line, Croatia and Italy will reinforce their cooperation in the Adriatic Sea, in the Adriatic, our common cultural, historical, geopolitical heritage."

According to him, the two countries have a big responsibility for the protection of the sea environment and the sustainable use of the sea and its natural resources.

That's why this agreement is of historic importance for the relations of the two countries "as well as a paradigm in the European context," Grlić Radman said.

He said Croatia and Italy were developing good neighbourly cooperation in the northern Adriatic also with Slovenia as part of a trilateral established in Trieste in December 2020.

Di Maio said the signing of the agreement marked a new stage in Italy-Croatia relations which put the focus back on the Adriatic Sea. This strategic axis, he added, is additionally strengthened by the trilateral cooperation with Slovenia.

Grlić Radman was in Rome heading a Croatian delegation at the fifth meeting of the coordinating committee of the two countries' ministers which resulted in the signing of a joint statement setting the guidelines for all important areas in the period ahead.

"Italy is one of our most important economic partners," he said, adding that last year's trade was close to €6 billion, up 27%.

In recent years, "bilateral relations have taken off," he said, adding that there is potential to further advance economic relations, notably in IT, digitalisation, the food sector, and infrastructure.

In February 2021, the Croatian parliament adopted a decision declaring an exclusive economic zone, which had already been done by all Mediterranean countries except Greece and Turkey due to border tensions.

At the time, the question arose of why Croatia did it only then and Grlić Radman said that "we waited and talked with the neighbours to raise the level of protection of the Adriatic" and that Italy and Croatia included Slovenia in the process, "although we didn't have to."

Prior to the proclamation of an exclusive economic zone, Croatia protected the Adriatic under the 2003 Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Finance Ministry Denies Claims by Franak Association

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - The ministry of finance on Tuesday dismissed the accusations made by the Franak association about the authorities having betrayed Croatian consumers.

Over the past few years, the government has continued, both on its own and in cooperation with the State Attorney's Office (DORH), to dismiss all attempts aimed at the questioning of the constitutionality of so-called laws on the conversion of CHF-pegged loans and their adjustment with the EU acquis, the ministry said in a press release.

First and foremost, this government is committed to protecting consumers, and to this end, it has provided arguments proving that the above-mentioned laws are in line with the Croatian Constitution and also in accordance with the EU acquis communautaire, which was conducive to efforts to keep those laws in effect, with an emphasis on their being adopted to redress imbalances in the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the relevant contracts, said the ministry.

The ministry states that after the Court of the European Union delegated rulings on the consumers' rights to national courts and given that several relevant trials are ongoing in Croatia, the government will refrain from any further comment that can amount to interference in those processes for the time being.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

EC Again Calls for Admitting Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - The European Commission on Tuesday reiterated its recommendation that three EU member states -- Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania -- should be admitted to the Schengen Area after they met the membership criteria.

Today the EC presented its State of Schengen Report 2022. This is the first time the Commission is presenting such a report, following last year's Schengen Strategy.

The report also "reminds of the importance of completing the Schengen area and calls upon the Council to adopt the decisions to allow Croatia, as well as Romania and Bulgaria, to formally become a part of it, in view of the fact that all criteria have been fulfilled. The same will apply to Cyprus once it has successfully completed the Schengen evaluation process."

The State of Schengen report will serve as the basis for discussions of Members of the European Parliament and Home Affairs Ministers in the Schengen Forum on 2 June, and in the upcoming Schengen Council on 10 June.

The report sets a list of priority actions for 2022-2023 that are to be addressed at both national and European levels such as implementing the new IT architecture and interoperability for border management, making full use of cross-border cooperation tools, ensuring systematic checks at the external borders of all travelers, ensuring that Frontex reaches the full potential of its mandate, lifting all long-lasting internal border controls, and adopting the revised Schengen Borders Code.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Croatian President Rules Out Possibility of Armed Conflicts in BiH

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday there was a risk of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina deteriorating and that his intention is to prevent that and help find "a framework for coexistence of the three constituent peoples in BiH", however, he ruled out the possibility of an armed conflict.

"Anyone starting talk of a war erupting in BiH should get their mouth taped," said Milanović adding that speculations like that amount to war-mongering propaganda.

"Who will attack whom in BiH? Perhaps, Serbs with their three armored vehicles?," Milanović wondered in an ironic comment, insisting that not enough weapons existed for anyone to spark an armed conflict.

He announced a phone call to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for Tuesday afternoon so as to inform him of what is going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last week, the Croatian president sent a letter about this issue to Stoltenberg.

Milanović said that "when it comes to knowing about the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, international leaders are not updated," accusing Croatia's diplomats of that.

Milanović accused Prime Minister Andrej Plenković of boycotting his proposal to hold a session of the National Security Council to discuss the state of affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He also criticized Plenković over a lack of a joint position on the issue, and again ruled out that "there was anything personal in that conflict."

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

€25m Granted to Increase Solar and Geothermal Energy Capacities

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak handed over 35 grant agreements worth €24.7 mn for projects to increase solar and geothermal energy capacities as part of the Energy and Climate Change Programme.

The funds have been secured within the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (2014-2021).

Ninety-two applications were received for this competition.

The projects that were agreed to and signed today are designed to increase solar energy capacities and geothermal energy production capacities for heating, Tramišak said and added that the call for project applications was intended for local government and the public sector.

She believes that there are numerous geomorphological possibilities that can be used for heating.

"The journey ahead will be a long one but we have the resources and experience," she added.

The new European Commission Financial Framework has foreseen more than €2 billion just for our country to increase its energy efficiency.

She said that the EU plans to decrease the use of fossil fuels but also increase the use of renewable energy sources.

State-secretary in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Energy Mario Šiljeg underscored that Russia's attack on Ukraine has accelerated the EU's aspirations toward decarbonization by 2050.

He emphasized that Croatia stimulates energy from renewables and sustainable sources. That is important with regard to decreasing dependency on Russian energy sources but also in the fight against climate change. He said that Croatia has strong geothermal potential.

He pointed out the importance of the European Commission's RePowerEU which was recently released and comprises four main activities: saving energy, diversifying energy imports, replacing fossil fuels and accelerating the transition to clean energy.

According to the EC's plan, Croatia's Janaf oil pipeline company will be given international importance, and capacities at the LNG terminal on Krk Island should also be increased.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

HAC Motorway Operator to Full Digitize Its Services by Year's End

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - The state-run Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC) motorway operator is going to digitize the network of motorways and the digitization is to be completed by the end of this year, the Jutarnji List daily reported on Tuesday.

This means that 1,727 analog cameras on the motorways will be replaced by digital ones and a completely new traffic information system will be introduced.

To this end, the HAC headquarters in Zagreb will set up a centre for traffic management and surveillance to collect real-time information on a state of affairs in traffic along all the motorways in Croatia, which includes the motorways managed by HAC and also the Istria Y motorway and the Zagreb-Macelj motorway.

For this expensive and demanding project to be implemented, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria together applied for the EU funds under the CROCODILE programme. Croatia has been granted HRK 100 million, which is 85% of the eligible costs, said the daily newspaper.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Hajduk, Dinamo, HNS Official Statements after Torcida Motorway Clash with Police

May 24, 2022 - TCN brings the official statements of the Croatian police, Torcida, GNK Dinamo, HNK Hajduk, and HNS after the Torcida motorway clash with police on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, Dinamo Zagreb beat Hajduk 3:1 in the final match of the season. Dinamo celebrated the Croatian championship title in front of their fans at Maksimimr Stadium, as Hajduk fan group Torcida remained outside protesting a new Dinamo banner rule. Later that evening, Torcida and police clashed at the Desinec rest area along the Zagreb-Split motorway. As a result, four men sustained shotgun wounds, and 35 people were injured. Forty-two people remain in investigative custody. 

TCN brings you the official statements from each organization. 

The Croatian Police were the first to comment on the incident on Sunday (Source: HRT)

The Deputy Director-General of the General Police Security Damir Barić, the Head of the Public Order and Security Sector of the Zagreb Police Administration Davor Posilović, and the Deputy County State's Attorney in Velika Gorica Dražen Diklić spoke. They were accompanied by the Commander of the Special and Intervention Police Unit, Mario Bencek, the Head of the Organized Crime Processing Department, Midhad Arifović, and the Head of the Reporting Analytics and Public Relations Department, Marija Goatti.

"I would like to emphasize a few important facts directly related to the events at the Desinec station. Public order and peace were disturbed to a greater extent, and the police acted accordingly. As everyone knows, the Dinamo-Hajduk match was played last night. It is a high-risk event for us, and we take it seriously. We have experienced employees with extensive experience in securing such matches. The security was managed by the Chief of the Police Administration himself, so this is the highest possible level. We consider the implementation plan to be very good, and a sufficient number of police officers have been engaged. The proof is that the whole season with a series of high-risk matches was done without incidents," said Damir Barić on Sunday.

"We notice from the media that the fact that fans couldn't bring banners into the stadium is stated as a potential cause of the events in Desinac. Four days ago, the match organizer informed the fans about the entry procedure with banners. Before the game, it was necessary to bring a banner for inspection, but Hajduk fans turned a deaf ear to it and wanted to enter the stadium directly. The police are there only in the role of securing and enforcing the organizers' decisions, so it has nothing to do with the police. After the banners were not allowed in, all Hajduk fans stayed out of the stadium and, at one point, expressed a desire to go to Split. We organized a caravan. The entire route to Split was secured," he added.

"There was no indication that something like this would happen, but at one point, the fans blocked all three traffic lanes and launched an attack on police officers. Colleagues were outnumbered; there were 16 police officers and several hundred perpetrators. The attack was aggressive, using various objects, such as batons, bottles, stones, chains, fire extinguishers, and everything they found in the gas station area. When they did not calm down on the orders, the police fired several shots to call for help and as a warning to stop the attack. The fans then stopped at one point, and other forces managed to come and work on establishing public order. Several fans were involved in the attacks, but several police officers also acted differently. We are working intensively on establishing all the facts, there are many activities, and it takes time to process all the events and information. I want to emphasize various articles in the media, such as those that "Mamić's police acted last night." We find this extremely offensive, especially when we have about 20 injured employees. Last night, the police did their job to protect public order and peace and protect the lives of all. The attack was also carried out with flares, and you know what an open flame at a gas station means; imagine that there was a fire and an explosion at a gas station. The most important thing was the danger for everyone in the area," concluded the Deputy Chief of Police for General Security Barić.

Chief of the Zagreb Police Administration Marko Rašić added:

"There was nothing to indicate that something like this would happen. Until this incident, everything was in the best order; we detained about 20 people. Four police officers used firearms, three fired only into the air, and one fired 11 shots into the concrete surface. Two fans were injured after the bullets bounced off the concrete. After that, the police wanted to help the attacked colleagues, but the fans also stopped them, so they were forced to shoot. One police officer fired two bullets into the air to help colleagues surrounded at the gas station, where fans had already managed to insert a flammable torch into their vehicle. The situation was such that it was good that the police officers were not set on fire in the official vehicle. After that, help arrived, and public order and peace were established; the fans were restrained. Some fans crossed the lane that goes from the south, where the Zadar Police Department officers pushed them not to endanger their own lives and the lives of others.

Firearms injured two fans, one had severe injuries in the shin, and the other was only bruised and had minor injuries. We have information that another fan with a broken foot called us in Split today; as far as we know, he was treated and not kept for treatment, so I guess it is a minor injury. We also received information that another fan contacted the doctors; it could also be a gunshot wound, so all four of them probably have gunshot wounds. A total of 35 people were injured. The investigation ended after 11 am; more than 100 cases were processed, and further expertise will follow. So far, 43 fans have been detained, and a criminal investigation is underway; there is a suspicion that they committed the act of causing riots," said Rašić.

Torcrida came out with an official response a few hours later (Source: Torcida Split Facebook)

Hajduk's 'Torcida Split' fan club demands that Croatian state institutions carefully investigate and sanction several illegal, inhumane, and tactless actions by the Dinamo Football Club leadership and members of the Croatian police, which led to an incident in which - for the first time in history - several citizens were injured by gunshots. We warn that this case is an escalation of many years of violence and torture to which fans have been exposed for many years, very often thanks to the conspiracy of corrupt members or associates of the convicted criminal organization in football and close personnel from police structures, as well as persons from this system who at least unknowingly assist them.

Hajduk 'Torcida Split' fan club reminds us on this occasion that:

- Croatian police are obliged to secure football matches and not to 'assist their organizers' in enforcing illegal, arbitrary, and absurd restrictions when fans enter the stadium,
- Croatian police are obliged to monitor the implementation of the law, which, among other things, prescribes the obligation to match organizers to ensure the expected arrival of fans at the stadium on time,
- the Croatian police are obliged to ensure freedom of movement and freedom of expression of the opinions of Croatian citizens, as well as their dignity, and not to suppress them by their actions. Food and water and the basic physiological needs are the minimum unless the Croatian police believe that fans, for some reason, do not have the right to do so,
- the Croatian police are obliged to protect the citizens of Croatia, not to shoot at them, beat everything that shows signs of life, indiscriminately harass with tear gas, and destroy their vehicles with batons. They are obliged and paid to behave according to the law, not like a gang.

Instead, the joint action of the Zagreb Police Administration and Dinamo Administration prevented us from coming to the match yesterday. It is absurd to comment on the demands of the Dinamo management regarding the introduction of banners in the south stand of Maksimir Stadium. Still, for the sake of the public, we will present only some of their pearls. For example, the Dinamo management required that all banners measuring more than 100x200 cm not only had to be registered 48 hours before the match but also had to be brought to the stadium before it officially opened and placed on the podium (where I guess the Maksimir guards should keep them until we enter the stadium, somewhere at the end of the first half).

Furthermore, although the Zagreb Police Department is washing its hands of responsibility in this case, the time of arrival at Maksimir Stadium depends exclusively on the assessment and actions of the police who provide the route by which visiting fans are transported to the stadium and decides when that column of fans will leave under police escort from the toll booths in Lučko. It does not depend on Torcida when they come to the visiting tribune of Maksimir Stadium but on the police. By its actions, the Zagreb Police Department only gave the Dinamo management a reason to justify why it forbids us to bring banners and other fan props to the stadium, acting in this case as an extended arm of the Dinamo management. Since the Dinamo management is controlled from Medjugorje, it is evident in what rhythm the Zagreb Police Department is dancing.

After all, we saw the same scenario years earlier, when the same club created illegal and completely unfounded 'blacklists' of fans who were prevented from accessing the stadium, in which police officers also assisted them on Zdravko Mamić's official and unofficial payroll.

After refusing to enter the stadium in their rhythm and according to their rules, every entrance to the gas station on the highway was blocked by the police. No one from the police considered it necessary to give information when they would allow us to stop at a gas station or rest area. Although the whole day, according to the police, was fair and without incidents, instead of talking to the fans, the police chose bans, and water, food, and drink for more than a thousand and a half of them was to be provided upon arrival in Split, I guess. As if it was not enough to keep them hungry, thirsty, and without basic human and hygienic conditions for more than five hours.

They reacted to the justified revolt with violence and the use of firearms in a way that the competent institutions are obliged to announce.

The random shooting and firing of dozens of bullets at Croatian citizens who had previously been denied fundamental human rights and dignity is an unprecedented example of abuse of the police system and the culmination of the repression to which Hajduk fans have been subjected for years. So far, we have naively believed that at least they do not want to kill us physically. Unconvincing and bizarre explanations about the fans who landed at the gas station out of pure peace and the bullets that 'bounced off the floor' probably speak for themselves. It is only necessary to re-listen to the deceptions and miserable attempts to camouflage at today's police press conference. And hear a notorious lie even when it comes to basic, easily verifiable data. For example, none of the shot citizens were injured at the famous gas station but among a column of cars stopped on the highway.

It should be said that even after the situation calmed down, the treatment of fans did not change at all: on the contrary, with the arrival of police reinforcements, indiscriminate and random beatings of fans and all citizens who happened to be nearby, pulling them out of vehicles in the rain and throwing them on the floor, unreasonably destroying vehicles, tear gas terror and mass, unfounded arrests. Dozens of entirely innocent citizens were injured in this arrogant demonstration of force, many with broken arms, legs, and heads, and few dared even to report the injury. To whom, after all? And what would he get besides apprehension and reporting, perhaps a promise that the police would forgive them for beating them?

There are no official reports, recordings, or witnesses about all this, nor have we heard explanations from police chiefs, nor - instructed by previous experiences - do we expect investigations and sanctions of those responsible for grossly exceeding the authority of police officers. However, the Hajduk Fans Club 'Torcida Split' will never accept the attempt to limit the human rights of its members, Hajduk fans, and all Croatian citizens.

Every blow strengthens us!

Dinamo didn't wait long to make a statement after Toricda... (Source: GNK Dinamo website)

After witnessing the violence that took place last night on the A1 motorway, which Hajduk fans justify with alleged unreasonable decisions by Dinamo, we want to explain why HNK Hajduk fans did not want to enter the Dinamo - Hajduk derby match played on May 21, 2022, at Maksimir.

We signed an agreement with HNK Hajduk on the sale of tickets for our match, according to which Hajduk was to distribute 2,000 tickets for the Maksimir Stadium south stands. According to the contract, Hajduk had to submit a list of fans to whom they sold tickets 24 hours before the start of the match. They submitted that list on the day of the game - Saturday morning. There were 1397 people on the list who were sold tickets.

Furthermore, instructed by taking advantage of our hospitality in December 2021 when a choreography of one look was announced, and then after entering the stands another choreography was performed that emphasized hatred towards our club, we made instructions for visiting fans explaining everything - from general information about the opening hours of the stadium to specific information regarding the review and introduction of banners on the podium. We emphasize that the complete lie is that the introduction of banners is prohibited; there are only specific rules according to which banners can be brought into the stadium. They were indeed told when they should come to the entrance, how they should report the banners, what time, to which official e-mail address they should contact, and the like. Considering that it is below the level of official Dinamo communication to communicate with the Hajduk fan group, we sent all the instructions by e-mail on 18/05/2022 to our colleagues at HNK Hajduk. Since nothing was delivered to the e-mail until Friday, 20/05/2022, we again invited our Hajduk colleagues in writing to help influence their fans to provide us with everything we asked for. Again nothing happened, nor did they contact us. An hour and a half before the start of the match, HNK Hajduk sent an invitation to the GNK Dinamo security commissioner, during which he was informed that Torcida had not reported any of the banners and that they were bringing larger banners, drums, and other fan props. At that moment, they received an answer from us that they would not be allowed to enter the fan props because they did not report them according to the instructions. At the entrance to the south stands, the Dinamo representative spoke with Torcida's lawyer, who did not introduce himself in person and who told him orally that Dinamo was right in this decision. Arriving at the stadium entrance, fans who had tickets were invited to enter the stadium without unregistered banners, but they refused. After a while, they peacefully left the area in front of Maksimir Stadium. 

We remind the public that the same play was performed in 2014 when Hajduk players refused to play a match against Dinamo because we did not want to sell tickets to high-risk Hajduk fans, according to criteria established by the police, following the Law on Prevention of Disorders at Sports Competitions. Unfortunately, less than six months later, Hajduk sold tickets to their fans according to these criteria, which is why they did not play the game at Maksimir, and they still do today.

After taking advantage of our correctness in December 2021, attacking a bus with our players, and a convoy with our fans in March 2022, it was time to say ENOUGH - enough of the violence Torcida carries out in its actions. You can do it all over Croatia - Koprivnica, Osijek, Rijeka, or Šibenik, but in Zagreb and at Maksimir Stadium, you will not. Follow the rules or watch the match from Borongaj. It's all the same to us. 

And so did Hajduk on Sunday evening (Source Gol.hr)

HNK Hajduk condemns all violence. After last night's unfortunate events and scenes in which several people were injured in a clash between fans and the police, we call on everyone in Croatian football for reason, dignity, and peace.

We are sorry to have been deprived yesterday of the energy and support our fans have given us throughout the season. Still, we understand that this is the culmination of all the discriminatory decisions that have been going to the detriment of our fans in away games for years.

We believe that the real problems and causes that led to the unwanted consequences and almost to the tragic outcome must be clearly detected. Hajduk is ready to help all social actors who want a real solution to this problem.

On Thursday, Poljud will be the big sports stage and the final gathering of the exciting season with the Croatian Football Cup final. We invite everyone to join us in Split and that we all enjoy the spectacle and emotions that only Hajduk and Poljud can offer.

From now on, we are entirely focused on preparing for the final, and just like the entire Croatian public, we are waiting for answers.

HNS finally made a statement on Tuesday (Source: HNS website)

The Croatian Football Federation strongly condemns all forms of violence, in and out of stadiums. A responsible organization will continue to systematically and resolutely carry out activities to eradicate any inappropriate behavior from football.

We are saddened by the incident on Saturday on the A1 motorway near the "Desinec" rest area during the caravan of HNK Hajduk fans from Zagreb to Split. The Croatian Football Federation wishes all the wounded and injured, including 20 police officers, a successful and complete recovery.

As the incident took place far from the football stadium, i.e., outside the jurisdiction of the Federation, HNS did not have all the information in addition to that published in the media, which is why it was in no hurry to appear in public.

However, HNS has been actively participating in the entire process since Saturday night and is in direct contact with HNK Hajduk, GNK Dinamo, and the Croatian Police Directorate. HNS calls all parties involved to open and constructive cooperation to calm tensions.

To that end, the Federation invited the leaders of Hajduk and Dinamo and representatives of the Police Directorate to a meeting on Friday, May 27, at the HNS headquarters. The Federation will be an active partner to clubs and the Croatian Police in creating an atmosphere of dialogue, which we see as the best way to solve all existing challenges.

The efforts of HNS so far have resulted in a significant reduction in inappropriate and punishable behavior of fans in the Croatia national team matches, and a positive trend was visible in the just-concluded HT First League season. Therefore, we are convinced that the upcoming football matches - the Cup final and the Croatia national team matches against Austria and France - will be in a positive atmosphere as we have witnessed in recent years.

The Federation will continue to act proactively - by organizing security conferences, the work of the Security Commission, and programs to prevent fan violence. All HNS activities have a common desire for open communication - with clubs, the police, the judiciary, the media, and fan groups. Only by working together, with responsibility for our words and deeds, can we encourage the positive changes that the entire Croatian society expects from us.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović also commented on Tuesday (Source: HINA)

"Stadiums have to be a venue for entertainment, enjoyment, and peace, which is played according to the rules defined by politics. It's not the police in Great Britain that brought the peace but Thatcher and her cabinet. That is far too much pressure for the police.

When the government makes that decision, when it takes a pill for courage, then Torcida and BBB and the others (football fans) will act differently and with respect. That's where we have to start from," said Milanović and added that the government would have his full support in that regard.

"It is unbelievable to me that it came to the situation that the police used firearms. There is an entire range of 'riot control' means that suppresses that behavior - rubber bullets. To shoot from a revolver at people regardless of how many people were involved and how wrong they were. Who planned that? That's unthinkable. Those people could have been dead. This is a problem for the government.

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