President Warns about Depopulation Crisis

By 10 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 10, 2018 - Attending a special session of the Vukovar-Srijem County Assembly in the eastern town of Ilok on Friday, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said that over the past few years Croatia had lost twenty times more people due to depopulation crisis than it had in the 1991-95 Homeland War.

Addressing the assembly, Grabar-Kitarović called for the prosecution of war crimes, underscoring that it needed to be kept in mind that responsibility for a crime was personal and an individual's guilt must not be the cause for collective stigmatisation. "We have achieved progress in co-existence after reintegration and we have to continue building it, not just at the level of political rights, but primarily by building human relations and ensuring prosperity for everyone," she said.

The president added that these are important issues for the future, which is "threatened by depopulation." Croatia has lost at least twenty times more people due to depopulation than it did in the Homeland War, she said.

The president welcomed measures to amend the Citizenship Act which will facilitate obtaining citizenship for Croatian descendants born abroad, and added that it was necessary to create conditions for immigration from other countries as well.

She commended the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem project and called for financial decentralisation and strengthening the role of counties in the absorption of EU funds. In a message to young people, she called on them to not give up on their ideals and to be resolute in building successful personal and business lives.

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac said that there was no more time for regret at the missed opportunities in Croatia's economic revival. She reiterated that so far projects valued at 2.3 billion kuna had been contracted for Vukovar-Srijem County alone, as part of the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem project.

For more on Croatia's demographic crisis, click here.