Italian Minority MP Criticises Tajani's Statement

By 12 February 2019

ZAGREB, February 12, 2019 - The leader of the Italian minority in Croatia and deputy speaker of the Croatian parliament, Furio Radin, said on Tuesday he was surprised by the statement of the European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, about "Italian Istria and Dalmatia", adding that it was incompatible with the present time.

"Nowadays when all of us are members of the European Union, we should take friendship among nations seriously. I expected that Tajani's speech would have been in accordance with that, however, his rhetoric was the rhetoric from the past and not oriented towards the future," Radin said in his comment on Tajani's speech during Sunday's commemoration for WWII foibe (karst pits) victims in Basovizza near Trieste, when he said "Long live Trieste, long live Italian Istria, long live Italian Dalmatia".

Tajani's speech was "the voice outside a great choir, and the voice was differently intoned". That speech "was an incident that occurred," Radin said in his statement to Hina.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, whose statement about "Italian Istria and Dalmatia" has caused public uproar in Slovenia and Croatia, has expressed willingness to visit the site of Risiera, a former five-storey brick compound in Trieste that served as a concentration camp for non-Italians during World War II, Slovenian media outlets reported on Tuesday.

The strong reactions in the two countries prompted Tajani to say that he was sorry to see that his statement was misinterpreted." My statements do not mean territorial claims in any way. I was talking about Italian-speaking Istrians and Dalmatians whose many sons and grandsons were present at the commemoration. The Italian, Croatian and Slovenian peoples and states have strong ties and I'm sorry if the meaning of my words was misinterpreted. I didn't intend to offend anyone. I wanted to send a message of peace to everyone so that what happened then doesn't happen ever again, Tajani said at the start of the plenary session of the European Parliament on Monday after Croatian MEPs Ivan Jakovčić and Ruža Tomašić asked for an explanation.

On Tuesday, Slovenian media reported that Tajani had expressed willingness to visit the Risiera compound in Trieste where thousands of Slovenians, Croats, Jews and Italian anti-fascists were killed in the last two years of WW II.

More news on the relations between Italy and Croatia can be found in the Politics section.