Monday, 18 March 2019

2nd International Conference on Croatian Diaspora Tourism in Split Announced

March 18, 2019 - Tourism and business links between Croatia and its diaspora are improving, with the latest diaspora conference set to take place in Split in May. 

A nice thing is happening with the complicated relationship between Croatia and its diaspora - the younger, business-minded generation from the diaspora and the Homeland are busy exploring ways they can cooperate, strengthen their bonds and move Croatia forward. 

Those bonds are getting stronger, as Croatia's entrepreneurial class are forging links with like-minded diaspora businessmen and entrepreneurs. 

There have been a series of great diaspora conferences in recent times, some of which it has been a pleasure to be a foreign fly on the wall (if you have ever wondered what a diaspora conference looks like through foreign eyes, it is something like this), and the latest is going to take place in on May 17-18 in Split, the 2nd 2nd International Conference on Croatian Diaspora Tourism.

"With the new trend in tourism appearing, Diaspora tourism, along with reports from sources such as the UN World Tourism Organisation predicting continued growth in world tourism, focus is turning towards how communities can cater for the tourism needs of their Diaspora cohort. Diaspora tourism includes experiences which focus on the study of culture, art, folklore, sports games and pilgrimages, to name a few. Immigrants and descendants of immigrants from countries that maintain close relations with their Diaspora, such as Israel, Mexico, China, Ireland, Portugal, the Philippines, Polish, Czech, Italy and Croatia along with others, are taking on a multitude of roles in the Diaspora tourism market. They not only have the role of consumer in this market but they are also the investors and creators of opportunities. The Diaspora tourism, international conference aims to bring together scientists and tourism experts from different countries of the world, especially the Mediterranean, in order to share their experiences from their countries and collaborate in developing new understandings and approaches around Diaspora tourism."

Proposed Themes

Experiences of diaspora tourism, a general overview

Investment Foundation in tourism (investment, the possibility of buying real estate…)

Promotion of Diaspora tourism by emigrants in the countries where they live

Cultural tourism (the museum, archives, etc., music, folklore, theater and other festivals and events)

Sports tourism (young people, recreation, etc.)

Art and Tourism (and the possibility of linking exposure to emigrant artists)

Health tourism and the ageing population 

For more information on the conference and to reserve your place, visit the official website

For an overview of the Croatian diaspora, check out the new Total Croatia information site and its introduction to the Croatian diaspora.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Croatian Diaspora Remittances Higher than Foreign Investments

The investment climate in Croatia is improving, but other countries are growing faster than us, and they are becoming more desirable and more competitive for investors. Currently, the Croatian diaspora remittances are higher that foreign investments in Croatia, it was said at the panel "How to attract new investments" held in Zagreb, reports on February 24, 2019.

Jako Andabak, a member of the Executive Board of the Croatian Employers' Association and chairman of the Sunce Group Supervisory Board, said that some problems are actually changing for the worse. But what is constant is the non-functional bureaucracy and unresolved land-legal issues.

Goran Pauk, president of the Croatian County Association, believes that the state is too centralised and that it should work toward decentralisation. But he also warned that there is a need for constant communication between the central government and local self-government units in order for the legislation to meet the needs of people.

“Building permits are issued quickly, within eight days, if all the documentation is in order. However, many of the Adriatic counties are burdened with unresolved property issues, legalisation and similar problems that make it difficult to enforce a quick administrative procedure,” said Pauk.

Mladen Fogec, the president of the Association of Foreign Investors in Croatia, warned that Croatia was reforming very slowly. “We have long ago transformed from socialism into a market economy, but socialism has not left our heads even after 30 years. The fact that the current focus of our economy and politics is the shipbuilding problem, and not what will happen in 5 or 10 years, is enough to tell us where we are. And with regards to the investment climate, it is enough to say that the remittances sent by Croatian diaspora are higher than foreign investments. The remittances reach the amount of two billion euro annually, while the investments do not exceed 1.7 billion,” said Fogec.

Christoph Schoefboeck, the CEO of Erste Bank, pointed out that Croatia has progressed and that they see it through cooperation with their clients, mostly small and medium businesses. “The problem is that Croatia is growing, but too slow. Other countries are growing better and faster. I am sure that Croatia could rise by 15 to 20 positions in the investment rankings in just a year or two,” said Schoefboeck. One of the measures proposed is that all investors in Croatia should be treated as strategic investors.

Translated from (reported by Darko Bičak).

More news about Croatian diaspora can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

President Meets with Croatian Diaspora in Berlin

ZAGREB, February 20, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović concluded her two-day visit to Germany on Tuesday by meeting with representatives of the Croatian diaspora in the country, noting an important role of Croatian citizens in the German economic success.

"I take immense pride in what you do in Germany and in your contribution to Germany being among the strongest countries in world," Grabar-Kitarović said at the meeting in the Croatian Embassy in Berlin.

She said that meetings with Croatian emigrants were important to her because for the most part of her career she had dealt with the issue of Croatian emigrant communities.

"I understand your problems and will do all I can to have the obstacles to your return to Croatia removed," the president said, expressing hope that Croatian citizens would return to their homeland in large numbers.

Grabar-Kitarović said that her two-day visit was successful. On Monday evening she addressed an annual reception given by the German Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, and on Tuesday morning she opened a German-Croatian business forum. Later in the day she met with the parliamentary group Northern Adriatic and Bundestag President Wolfgang Schauble.

More news on the diaspora can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Plenković Tells Croat Diaspora about Advantages of EU Membership

ZAGREB, February 17, 2019 - Thanks to European funds, Croatia can carry out projects for which it has not enough money, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday at a meeting with Croat diaspora in Munich, speaking about the advantages of European Union membership.

Croatia joined the EU in 2013 and next year it will chair the EU for the first time.

The next goals are joining the Schengen and euro areas, and the 2021-27 budget offers big opportunities for building roads, airports and railways, and for investing in rural development and agriculture, said Plenković.

"We would have a hard time finding the money for all that in the national budget without borrowing, and here we get it as grants," he said at the meeting at the Croatian Consulate. "That's why this added value of our EU membership, which you live every day, knowing very well how useful it is, is one of the fundamental goals in the years ahead."

About 100,000 Croats live in Bavaria, including 50,000 in its capital of Munich. Half of all the German tourists vacationing in Croatia come from Bavaria, as do large investments in the Croatian economy.

Croatia has had close relations with Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg for years. Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder is set to visit Zagreb in May.

Plenković was in Munich to attend a security conference at which 600 officials, diplomats and experts from all over the world discussed current security problems.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Sarajevo Political Parties Condemn Bosnian Croat Declaration

ZAGREB, January 27, 2019 - The biggest political parties based in Sarajevo on Saturday strongly condemned conclusions adopted at a convention of the Bosnian Croat National Assembly (HNS) held in Mostar earlier in the day, which rejected the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the case against Jandranko Prlić and other senior officials of the former Herceg-Bosna, which established the existence of a joint criminal enterprise designed to separate parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the rest of the country and annex them to Croatia.

Earlier in the day, the HNS convention adopted a declaration calling for constitutional reforms and for the territorial and administrative reorganisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure the equality of ethnic Croats in relation to the other two constituent peoples and guarantee the country's integration with the EU and NATO.

The part of the HNS declaration which challenges the ICTY findings drew a response from the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the Social Democratic Party (SDP BiH) and the Democratic Front.

The HNS's positions only deepen the divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and hamper the process of post-war reconciliation, the SDA said. "No act of rejection can change the final verdicts of the Hague-based tribunal or historical facts, but it does send a clear and unambiguous message about the policy pursued by the HNS, towards others in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire international public," the biggest Bosniak party said.

The HNS's call for the administrative and territorial retailoring of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on "the glorification of the joint criminal enterprise" constitutes a conscious effort to obstruct the dialogue necessary to implement the reform of the election system, the SDA said, stressing that HNS leaders had previously demonstrated their attitude to Bosnia and Herzegovina by attending a commemoration of the unconstitutional day of the Bosnian Serb entity on January 9.

The SDP BiH said that the denial of the ICTY rulings was a continuation of "the HDZ's retrograde policies", noting that the biggest Croat party was holding Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens hostage to its incorrect interpretations of the country's constitution and election law.

The DF, the party led by Željko Komšić, the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, called on representatives of the international community to condemn the HNS's "uncivilised act of glorification of crimes and denial of court findings."

The declaration of the HNS BiH, the body that coordinates activities of most Croat political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, rejected the ICTY's findings on the joint criminal enterprise, which, it said, "is attributed to Croatia, the Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna and the Croatian Defence Council in an unfounded and unfair way".

"The ill-intentioned assertion is unfortunately used for the accomplishment of wartime goals of one of the formerly warring parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the elimination of the Croat people as a political entity in the country. In the "Prlić and others" case, the ICTY was not qualified, nor is it at all qualified, as it itself ruled in 2007, to decide about the accountability of states because it is a criminal court which prosecutes only individuals," the HNS said in the declaration, among other things.

More news about the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Diaspora section.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Croats in Serbia Encouraged by Messages from Croatia's Leaders

ZAGREB, January 24, 2019 - The leader of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), Tomislav Žigmanov, said that the messages and promises by the prime minister and president of Croatia during his visit to Zagreb this week were encouraging and stimulating for Croats in Serbia, Croatian-language media in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina said on Thursday.

Žigmanov said his delegation was encouraged by the readiness of the Croatian leadership to support, both politically and financially, their major projects.

He said that they had discussed several projects of great importance for the Croatian minority in Serbia, including the opening of the birth house of Ban Jelačić in Petrovaradin, an educational and recreational centre on the Croatian Adriatic coast, office space for the Hrvatska Riječ publishing house in Subotica, and the opening of regional offices of the Croatian National Council.

He said they had also talked about Croatian-Serbian relations and concluded that they were stagnating.

"These relations are currently almost at a standstill. We are suffering the consequences of that, but we cannot make them better," Žigmanov said, adding that expectations for 2019 are not optimistic because of an expected early election in Serbia and the ongoing instability over Kosovo.

More news on the status of Croats in Serbia can be found in the Diaspora section.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

2017 Saw Decline in Number of Croatian Emigrants to Germany

ZAGREB, January 23, 2019 - The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) on Wednesday released a migration report for 2016 and 2017, showing that 110,526 Croatian emigrants had immigrated into the country in those two years.

A total of 57,476 Croatian nationals settled in Germany in 2016 and 53,050 in 2017. It was the first time since 2006 that the number of Croatian immigrants into Germany had decreased from the previous year.

In 2006, 8,543 Croatian nationals took up residence in Germany and their number has been increasing since. Particular increases were recorded in 2013, when Croatia joined the European Union, when the number of newly-arrived Croatian immigrants was 25,200, and in 2015, when Germany lifted restrictions on access to its labour market for Croatian workers, when 57,412 Croatian immigrants settled in Germany.

Between Croatia's EU entry in July 2013 and the end of 2017, a total of 189,633 Croatian nationals emigrated to Germany. Statistics for 2018 are not available yet.

The number of Croatian nationals who have been granted German citizenship has also increased sharply since Croatia joined the EU. This can be explained by the fact that Germany allows dual citizenship for EU citizens.

In 2017, a total of 2,896 Croatian nationals were granted German citizenship and all of them retained their Croatian citizenship.

Compared with the number of immigrants from other EU member states, Croatians were the fourth largest immigrant group in Germany in 2017, after Romanians, Poles and Bulgarians.

More news on the Croatian diaspora can be found in the special section.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Deputy Parliament Speaker Visits Ireland to Discuss Emigration

ZAGREB, January 22, 2019 - Croatian Deputy Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner, who is on a two-day official visit to Ireland, met with Irish political and Church leaders for talks on Croatian emigrants, the economy and the situation in Croatia's neighbourhood, read a press release issued by the Croatian Parliament's public relations office on Tuesday.

Reiner held talks with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the First Vice President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinnes, and the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, according to the press release.

The talks focused on excellent relations and good bilateral cooperation and cooperation within EU institutions.

Reiner thanked Archbishop Martin on his assistance in setting up the Croatian Catholic Mission in Dublin, underlining the importance of spiritual leadership for numerous Croats who have found a new home in Ireland.

The archbishop said Ireland had also had the experience of its citizens leaving abroad, adding however that a large number of them had returned with new experiences and knowledge. Reiner said he too hoped that Croatian emigrants would return to their homeland.

The talks also focused on Brexit, trade and the political situation in Croatia's neighbourhood, the press release said.

They cited tourism as the sector with the largest cooperation potential.

More news on the Croatian-Irish relations can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Traditional Burgenland Croat Ball Held in Vienna

ZAGREB, January 20, 2019 - The 72nd traditional Burgenland Croat Ball was held in Vienna's Schoenbrunn Hotel on Saturday evening, featuring a programme of folk songs and dancing specific to the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia.

This most important annual cultural event of the Croats of Burgenland attracted nearly 1,300 Croats from Burgenland and Vienna as well as their guests from elsewhere in Austria, Croatia and neighbouring countries.

Among those attending was Gernot Bluemel, Austria's minister of culture, arts, media and EU affairs. "Austrian-Croatian bilateral relations are excellent, especially in the area of culture. Croatia is an important EU member and we cooperate very well," he told Hina.

"The Croatian ball is a nice tradition with a wonderful atmosphere and I am glad to be among its guests again," Bluemel said.

The ball was opened by the president of the Croatian Centre in Vienna, Tibor Jugović, who said: "The Croats of Burgenland are proud of this event showcasing their tradition, culture and customs, which they have been fostering for nearly five centuries in Austria."

Mijo Marić, director of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, said: "This ball shows that Croatian identity has been preserved for centuries and in it we recognise Croatian culture and customs integrated into Austrian tradition."

The programme featured performances by 12 music ensembles from Croatia, Austria and Italy.

More news on the Croatian diaspora can be found in the special section.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Croat Scores Big on German Game Show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"

German volleyball coach Michaela Barišić, whose parents are from Croatia, won 250,000 euro, or more than 1.8 million kuna, on the German version of the TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, reports on January 19, 2019.

Michaela decided she would not risk her prize, so she gave up on the 13th question out of the possible 15, and went home with the previously won 250,000 euro. If she answered the question worth 750,000 euro, she would get an opportunity to play for the maximum amount – an incredible two million euros.

The question that made her give up was: What is officially listed as having the maximum weight of 25 grams? The possible answers were: German postal letter, a dart arrow, a Nürnberger sausage and a fine ounce of gold. If she did not give up, Michaela would offer the dart arrow as the answer. The right answer was the sausage, so her decision not to answer was wise.

Michaela has lived in Germany for a long time, more precisely in Baden-Württemberg, and she came to the show together with her mother Vera. The mother of two impressed everyone with her great general knowledge. The game show host Günther Jauch told Michaela that she had very good nerves, like a real gambler.

“I will have to get used to having won so much money. I don't have any major plans. This may sound strange to you, but the TV set I have at home is 12 years old, so I will probably buy a new one,” said Michaela for Slobodna Dalmacija. “Of course, we plan a nice holiday and vacation in Croatia. My parents are from Slavonia; they are now retired and live in Pula. We have a lot of relatives in Đakovo. I try to come to Croatia at least once a year. In Germany, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has been broadcast for 20 years, and I've always dreamed of sitting in that hot chair,” Michaela said.

Michaela lives in Baden-Württemberg with a partner and two children, and she applied for the show primarily because she wanted to use the prize to give a holiday to her parents as a present. "They are Croats who used to work in Germany, and the only thing they ever saw was the A8 motorway towards Salzburg and Croatia,” she said.

More news on the Croatian diaspora can be found in our special section.

Translated from (reported by Višnja Kragić Mahmutović).

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