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.

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).

Friday, 18 January 2019

Croatia to Be Partner Country of Green Week Agricultural Fair in Berlin

ZAGREB, January 18, 2019 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić and Berlin Fair CEO Christian Goecke on Friday signed a partnership agreement as part of International Green Week, the exhibition of the food, agriculture and gardening industries in the German capital.

Under the agreement, next year Croatia will be the partner country of this fair, the largest of its kind in the world.

"Being the partner country of Green Week is not only a great honour but also a great challenge for our agricultural producers and for Croatia as a country that is strategically committed to sustainable, ecologically friendly agriculture," Tolušić told reporters after the signing ceremony.

Tolušić said that his ministry would present "the best Croatia has to offer" and would ensure Croatian enterprises access to new markets.

Earlier on Friday, Tolušić met with German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner, who visited the Croatian stand during a tour of the fair grounds. After that he met with Finnish Agriculture Minister Jari Leppa and Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea. Finland is this year's partner country of Green Week, and Finland, Romania and Croatia currently make up the EU Troika.

In the afternoon, Tolušić is scheduled to attend a meeting of ministers from participating countries with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Croatian stand, organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), features 13 exhibitors of agricultural products.

"International Green Week is one of the most important events for the agricultural sector. This is an exceptional opportunity for Croatian producers to present their quality and expand to new export markets," HGK president Luka Burilović said.

The exhibition is open until January 27 and features nearly 1,700 exhibitors from 68 countries. Over 500,000 people are expected to visit the show.

More news on Croatia’s agriculture sector and plans for its further development can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Croatian Profanity Heard in German TV Commercial?

Marco Reus, the captain of the Borussia Dortmund football club, which is currently the best in the German Bundesliga, is one of the top German footballers, a member of the national team and a German born in Dortmund. Still, in difficult moments, his likes to express his anger and frustration in the language and in the way that everyone from "our region" can understand in more ways than one. He has proved this in the latest TV commercial for Opel, which is a sponsor of his club, in which he used a Croatian profanity, reports on December 31, 2018.

Reus had to prove his skills and hit a small area of a screen stretched over the open car door, a few metres from him. But he did not manage to hit the ball through the hole, which was followed by a swearword (about what he would do to someone’s mother – you can guess what it is), in a language easily understood by anyone living in the territory of former Yugoslavia.

The video can be seen on Twitter.

There is little doubt that Reus has learned the profanity from his teammates and coaches that came from the region to play in Germany. He shared the dressing room in Dortmund with Croat Ivan Perišić, and Serbs Neven Subotić and Željko Buvač.

It is well-known that the first thing that players from this region do when they move overseas is to introduce their hosts to the incredibly rich and lavish vocabulary of some of the most creative and brutal profanities and swearwords used by the people on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Foreigners, whose corpus of profanities is minuscule when compared to the Balkans, are generally fascinated by the swear words and start using them. There are numerous examples, from Kwadwo Asamoah from Ghana, who has enriched his vocabulary thanks to Croat Marcelo Brozović, to US basketball player Kobe Bryant, whose teacher was Serbian Vlade Divac.

The only issue here is why did the profanity end up in the material posted on Twitter: is it possible that no-one understood what Reus said or was this perhaps a prank by someone who knew very well what was said?

More news on the Croatian language can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Translated from

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Former Yugoslav and Croatian Intelligence Officials to Serve Prison Sentence in Croatia

ZAGREB, December 5, 2018 - Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence officials Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač could be brought to Croatia in January to serve their prison sentences, Perković's attorney Anto Nobilo said on Wednesday after the Croatian judiciary received the German ruling which convicted them to life for involvement in the assassination of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković.

The ruling must be adjusted to Croatia's legal system. Zagreb County Court will decide on Perković's punishment and Velika Gorica County Court on Mustač's, said the Zagreb court spokesman Krešimir Devčić.

Since there is no life imprisonment in Croatia, Nobilo said the law most favourable to the convicts should be applied that was also valid at the time of the Đureković assassination in 1983. Although the maximum sentence at the time was 20 years, it was handed down only as a replacement of the death penalty, so no more than 15 years can be given for murder, he added.

Upon arriving in Croatia, Perković and Mustač will first be placed at Zagreb's Remetinec prison and then to another penitentiary.

This past May, the German supreme court in Karlsruhe upheld life imprisonment for Perković and Mustač for their roles in the Đureković assassination.

In August 2016, a Munich court sentenced Perković and Mustač to life imprisonment finding them responsible for the murder of Đureković, who was killed by still unidentified perpetrators in Wolfratshausen, outside Munich, in July 1983.

It was proved during the trial that Perković and Mustač, senior officers of the Yugoslav secret service, had organised Đureković's assassination.

The main motive for the murder was the elimination of a political opponent of the communist regime, the trial chamber of the High Regional Court in Munich said in the reasoning of the conviction.

For more on the former Yugoslavia and Croatis status in it, click here.

Friday, 30 November 2018

German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Trade Marks 15th Anniversary

ZAGREB, November 30, 2018 - The German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Trade celebrated its 15th anniversary on Thursday evening.

The event also addressed the president of the Chamber, Ralf Blomberg, and German Ambassador to Croatia Robert Klinke and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Blomber said that the inauguration of the Chamber in 2003 had opened a new chapter in the two countries' economic cooperation.

The chamber has 416 members and it has made a significant contribution to the positive development of the German-Croatian economic relations, he stressed.

Klinke said the economic component was an important part of the two countries' overall relations, adding that Croatia and Germany had a long-standing economic cooperation.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković underlined the importance of the Chamber for the establishment of quality economic cooperation between the two countries.

Plenković stressed that Germany was Croatia's number one foreign trade partners, adding that Croatian exporters were very interested in being present on the German market.

He also stressed that the issue of trust and partnership was exceptionally important.

For more on relations between Croatia and Germany, click here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

President Attends Economic Summit in Berlin

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is attending the Economic Summit organised by the Sueddenutsche Zeitung daily in Berlin, on Wednesday presented her vision of Croatia's economic growth, underlining the need for improving the investment climate, 're-branding' Croatia, implementing tax reform and reducing labour costs.

"We want to improve the investment climate to help Croatia become competitive within the European Union. I believe Croatia could be one of the most developed countries in the world," Grabar-Kitarović said at the end of the three-day conference.

She also mentioned the success the Croatian national football team achieved at the World Cup in Russia, saying that Croatia could benefit from that. "This had an impact on Croatia's image in the world. You can work as a politician for years and then suddenly, because of a World Cup, you become famous," Grabar-Kitarović said.

She also said she wanted to re-brand Croatia so that it could be recognised as an investment-worthy country. As one of the main objectives, the Croatian president underscored tax reform and lower labour costs, saying this would help prevent brain drain.

"That is our problem because we are losing people who are leaving to places that offer better conditions," Grabar-Kitarović said and concluded that reforms should be aimed at increasing salaries, expressing confidence that higher wages would keep the workforce in Croatia.

Grabar-Kitarović also mentioned the Three Seas Initiative which, according to her, is aimed at reducing wealth gaps between east and west European Union countries. "This initiative was misinterpreted as an initiative of discord, when in fact it is aimed at achieving cohesion within the European Union," the Croatian president said.

With more than 60 speakers, the 2018 Economic Summit is focusing on the major issues moving today’s economy, politics and society. The participants are discussing where Germany and Europe are headed, what the future of money holds and whether the breakthrough in artificial intelligence will cost people jobs as well as how leaders can master these challenges.

The event, which was opened on Monday evening with a speech by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, was also attended by the prime ministers of Iceland, Estonia and Serbia. Ahead of the summit, Grabar-Kitarović attended a dinner reception during which she spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For more on Croatia’s president, click here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

President Talks with German Chancellor in Berlin

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday during a dinner given on the occasion of an economic conference organised by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, after which she refuted Croatian media speculation that Franjo Varga, the main suspect in a fake texts scandal, was involved in her 2014 presidential campaign.

"We talked about the position of women in politics as well as many other topics in international politics, including US President Donald Trump and his relationship with Europe," Grabar-Kitarović told Croatian reporters after the dinner during which she also talked with Prime Ministers Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland and Ana Brnabić of Serbia.

She announced that in her speech on Wednesday, when the economic conference ends, she would talk about the Three Seas Initiative and the need to erase differences between old and new Europe.

She said that she would not talk about the Global Compact on Migration. "I said everything there was to say about it. Now it's up to the Foreign Ministry to continue the job."

Asked about her national security advisor Vlado Galić and the text messages scandal, the president said Varga had not worked on her election campaign and that Galić told her he had been in contact with Varga twice "during the campaign when various trolls and websites which promoted hate speech appeared."

"But Varga didn't work for the campaign. No services were asked of him nor did we create any trolls. Frankly, I was too busy with the programme at the time to think about logistics. I only know that I told my associates at the start of the campaign that I wanted everything to be clean, no dirty deals. As you know, during the campaign I never condemned anyone but talked about work and performance and I never let anyone be personally attacked," Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that she would discuss this matter with Galić again.

Nacional weekly speculates in its latest issue that Varga was involved in her 2014 presidential campaign because, by his own admission, he was brought to the ruling HDZ party, which nominated Grabar-Kitarović for president, by Galić, her current advisor on defence and security.

For more on the so-called fake messages scandal, click here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Two Former Yugoslav, Croatian Intelligence Officials Sue Germany

ZAGREB, November 13, 2018 - Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence officials Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač have sued Germany at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, alleging that a German court did not give them a fair trial for their involvement in the 1983 murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković, and although the two convicts should have already been transferred to Croatia to serve their sentences, neither their lawyers nor Croatian institutions know when that may happen.

Germany has not forwarded any documents to Croatia regarding Perković and Mustač, whose transfer was made conditional on their serving their sentence in Croatia. According to unofficial sources, the Croatian Justice Ministry has no information on the case either.

Perković's attorney Anto Nobilo has told Hina that he was told by a German judge in charge of the enforcement of sentences that the German Justice Ministry had been instructed to transfer Perković and Mustač to Croatia to serve their sentences. "We have a document to that effect, but no one is acting on it. I have written to the German Justice Ministry to expedite the matter but have not received any reply yet," said Nobilo.

Once the requested documents arrive in Croatia, the Zagreb County Court will align the sentence with Croatian laws, which means that Perković and Mustač should receive the highest sentence under the law that is most favourable for them, and such a law dates back to the time of the murder for which they were convicted.

Even though the highest sentence at the time was 20 years' imprisonment, it was delivered exclusively to replace the death penalty so a sentence of not more than 15 years' imprisonment can be delivered for murder, said Nobilo.

He recalled that under the German court's verdict "despite the declarative life imprisonment, Perković should be released on 20 January 2028,” and that he did not expect a Croatian court to be any harsher.

Attorneys for intelligence officials Perković and Mustač, who have been warning from the start that their clients' rights have been violated, expect a possible new trial in Germany, if the European Court of Human Rights rules that their right to a fair trial was breached.

Mustač's attorney Lidija Horvat said the recently filed lawsuit was received by the European Court of Human Rights and that she expected it to pass the first triage. She added that it would be known in a few months' time if the lawsuit would be rejected, and that if it was accepted, a first-instance ruling would be known in two years at the earliest.

The defence believes that the main argument that intelligence officers Perković and Mustač did not have a fair trial lies in the fact that the same judges who tried them had first tried Krunoslav Prates, who was sentenced to life in prison for the same crime, the same sentence delivered in the case against Perković and Mustač.

They also underline that presiding judge Manfred Dauster did not give a statement about his involvement in the previous case even though he was obliged to do so under German law, and that he was personally biased, showing benevolence towards witnesses for the prosecution and having an aggressive attitude to the witnesses for the defence.

For more on relations between Croatia and Germany, click here.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Chancellor Merkel to Help Solve Slovenia-Croatia Border Dispute

ZAGREB, October 12, 2018 - After talks with Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec in Berlin on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany was willing to contribute to the resolution of the Slovenian-Croatian dispute over the border and the border arbitration decision.

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