Saturday, 24 April 2021

Minister: It's Unseemly for President to Announce Show for Commemorations

April 24, 2021 - Transport Minister Oleg Butković said on Saturday that it was unseemly for President Zoran Milanović to announce a show for commemorations marking important Croatian historical anniversaries.

Asked by the press while he attended a campaigning event of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) mayoral candidate in the City of Rijeka about Milanović's latest statements, including his claim that that the coming commemoration of the 1995 military and police operation "Flash" would turn into a show, Butković commented: "That says about him!"

"I think that it is unseemly for the head of state to announce shows at any events commemorating important events from the Croatian past," Butković said, adding that the 1995 Flash operation was important for the defense of Croatia.

Butković dismissed Milanović's claim that the recent presentation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) was insufficiently transparent.

The whole Croatian public is informed that the work on the plan started in August last year. All the ministerial departments were included in the elaboration of the document, Butković explained.

He went on to say that one could not like the document, but the claims about insufficient transparency in the adoption of the plan did not stand.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Wreaths Laid for Victory Day

ZAGREB, May 8, 2020 - On the occasion of Victory Day, May 8, and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Zagreb, delegations of the Office of the President, the Government and the Parliament, as well as a delegation of the City of Zagreb, laid wreaths at the Tomb of National Heroes at the city's Mirogoj cemetery on Friday.

On the occasion of the two anniversaries, the Alliance of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABH) issued a statement, saying that Croatia must and should celebrate Victory Day, while the Network of Antifascist Women of Zagreb (MAZ) issued a statement warning about historical revisionism.

"The Croatian antifascist movement was very important and was actually the strongest (along with the Bosnia and Herzegovina movement) part of the Yugoslav antifascist movement, and consequently it was the strongest antifascist movement in Europe, not taking into account the occupied parts of the Soviet Union. Croatia can and should celebrate that day for many reasons," SABH said.

It noted that the antifascist coalition was a short-lived alliance of very heterogeneous and antagonised states, political movements and ideologies, temporarily united in "a bitter self-defence against aggressive Nazi-fascist states and their satellites."

The Axis states equally threatened to destroy parliamentary democracy, communism and many achievements of modern civilisation, SABH added.

MAZ issued a statement warning about the activities of historical revisionists and organisations which violated the rights of women and the LGBT community and the active incitement of intolerance towards ethnic minorities.

Intolerance is being fomented "as police mistreat and illegally deport refugees," it said.

"While we await a new beginning after the crisis caused by the pandemic, with the reconstruction of the city being the most important task, we must not allow the dregs of society to continue freely implementing reactionary policies. They cannot take away our history, which is a history of resistance and struggle for a better tomorrow," says the association.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Zagreb to Host Conference on Anti-Fascism and Fascism

ZAGREB, February 17, 2020 - The SABA RH antifascist alliance in Croatia will organise an international conference on fascism and anti-fascism in the present-day Europe in Zagreb on 20 and 21 February.

Presenting the goals of the conference, the association's leader Franjo Habulin said at a news conference in Zagreb that the event would be part of the efforts to counter the strengthening of extreme right wing politics and more and more aggressive attacks on the values of the anti-fascist struggle, which, he said, were the biggest values of the present-day Europe.

Habulin said that the victory against the fascist regimes in 1945, after they had caused the Second World War, did not mean that fascism had disappeared from the historical scene.

He also pointed out that there were "more refined appearances" of fascism in a great number of European countries.

He criticised Resolution 1481 adopted by the Council of Europe in 2006 which underlined the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes as a document that equates fascism and communism. He added that that historical revisionism also originated from that document.

In the resolution 1481/2006 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), issued on 25 January 2006 during its winter session, the Council of Europe "strongly condemns crimes of totalitarian communist regimes". The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1096 (1996) on measures to dismantle the heritage of the former communist totalitarian systems. The paper condemned "the massive human rights violations committed by totalitarian communist regimes". It also "calls on all communist or post-communist parties in its member states which have not yet done so to reassess the history of communism and their own past, clearly distance themselves from the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes and condemn them without any ambiguity."

Habulin told the news conference that the rise of neo-fascism was accompanied by the process of degrading and vilifying anti-fascist fighters from the Second World War and their contemporary followers.

The organisers of the Zagreb conference have invited representatives of anti-fascist associations from 25 European countries, including 15 EU member-states.

Some of the guests will be Vilmos Hanti, the head of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters - Association of Anti-Fascists also known by its French initials FIR, as well as Dan-Viggo Bergtun, the president of the World Veterans Federation.

More history info can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Croatia to Showcase Its Maritime Culture in France

SPLIT, February 9, 2020 - Croatia will showcase its rich maritime culture and heritage at two festivals in France from 3 to 13 April, it was said at a press conference in Split earlier in the week.

The presentation is organised by the Cronaves Association from Split.

Croatia will be presented at the festival Escale a Sete, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and is taking place in the largest fishing port of the Mediterranean, Sete, as well as in the nearby village of Marseillan in southern France.

"Four old Croatian vessels will travel to France by land in trucks: the Komiža gundula and sandula boats, the gajeta boat 'Foranka' from Hvar and the gajeta boat 'Mila' from Šepurine on the island of Prvić. The lugger 'Nerezinac', which the Ministry of Culture included in the List of Protected Cultural Goods in 2010 as a valuable example of traditional shipbuilding, will travel to Sete by sea from the port in Mali Lošinj," said the president of the Cronaves Association, Plamenko Bavčević, adding that in the five years of the association, this was the sixth project representing Croatia at European maritime festivals.

He said Escale a Sete comprised the maritime heritage of the entire Europe, including ethno, tourist and gastronomy products, as well as workshops on boat and fishing net making in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

The biggest attraction from Croatia to be presented is a 22-metre sailing ship with two masts, the lugger 'Nerezinac', built in the 19th century, which was last year renovated and turned into a interpretation centre for navigation. It is the first sailing ship of its kind to be renovated in the Adriatic region. It is moored at a pier in Mali Lošinj in front of the Museum of Apoxyomenos, and it displays and interprets the long and rich maritime history of Lošinj in a modern, interesting and interactive way.

Escale a Sete is the largest festival of maritime heritage in the Mediterranean, with participants from most European countries. About 300,000 people visit it each year.

More news about relations between Croatia and France can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Re-Enactment of "1573 Peasant Revolt" to Be Held on 8 February in Stubica

ZAGREB, January 28, 2020 - The 12th annual educational and historical re-enactment of "1573 Peasant Revolt" will be held on 8 February at Golubovec Castle in Donja Stubica and the event will be followed by the "Buna party", where Croatian rock groups will perform, the organiser said on Tuesday.

"The battle of all battles, a realistic re-enactment of the biggest battle of the Croatian peasants for justice, will be recreated for the 12th time on the hills of Zagorje. It is a memory of the peasant uprising in the 16th century against the nobility who had been oppressing them, and the event was attended by 20,000 people last year," Ivan Štefek told reporters.

In this year's most magnificent edition, adds Štefek, the highest number of battle participants, more than 250, will gather. The programme will take place in two locations with special effects, and in addition to exhibitions and presentations there will also be a medieval fair.

The director of the tourism board of Donja and Gornja Stubica, Kornelia Vnučec, underscored that the "1573 Peasant Revolt" re-enactment was the winner of the "Simply the best" tourism award for the best historical display and tourist event.

"The Museum of Peasants' Uprisings in Gornja Stubica will be open on 31 January for Museum Night. There will be a video mapping 'Gubec Theatre' at the monument to the Peasant Revolt and Matija Gubec, the exhibition Jan Vitovac - Czech knight, Zagorje Count will be opened, and there will be a promotion of the comic book by Nik Titanik called '1573'", she said.

More festival news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

75 Carnations Laid in Zagreb's Square on Occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day

ZAGREB, January 26, 2020 - The Anti-Fascist League of Croatia organised a rally in Zagreb's Victims of Fascism Square on Sunday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on 27 January, and on that occasion activists laid 75 carnations on the wall of building in the square in which Ustasha police and Gestapo used to operate during WW2.

The 75 flowers were laid to mark 75 years since Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated on 27 January 1945.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial day on 27 January commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War, was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution in 2005. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews and 11 million others, by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

During today's rally, activists recalled that the Holocaust had been also performed in Croatia during the Ustasha regime in the so-called Independent State of Croatia from 1941 to 1945.

The lessons about the Holocaust teach us that in the societies hit by the evil of anti-Semitism, also the doors are open for the persecution of other minorities, said the Anti-Fascist League's leader, Zoran Pusić, adding that anti-Semitism lurks in "some obscure part of the society and is potentially always present."

He said that in Croatia, some 3,000 monuments, which had been erected during the Socialist Yugoslavia in memory of the Tito-led Partisans had been destroyed in the meantime. Pusić said that the national resistance movement (NOB) in the country had been the biggest resistance against Nazi forces and local Nazi collaborators in Europe.

He also warned of the rising anti-Semitic mood in the present-day Europe recently.

More news about Croatia and Holocaust can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Croatian Parliament Pays Tribute to All Holocaust Victims

ZAGREB, January 24, 2020 - The Croatian Parliament on Friday observed a minute's silence for all Holocaust victims, with Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković saying that the victims must remain in the collective memory of humankind so that those atrocities are never repeated.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is marked on January 27 when the entire world pays deep respect to the victims of Nazi persecution and genocide of the Jewish people and to all victims of the Nazi and fascist regimes during World War II, Jandroković recalled.

"It is with special respect that we also remember all those who survived the Holocaust and their families," he underscored, noting that earlier in the morning a delegation laid wreaths in the Jewish section of the Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.

Jandroković said that this is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, adding that Croatia was participating in that commemoration at the highest level.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović attended the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem memorial museum while Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will participate in the official commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland on Monday.

"That camp of death, terror and cruelty symbolises other places where genocide of the Jewish people occurred along with the systematic annihilation of other unwanted groups during the Nazi and fascist regimes in which atrocities were committed against six million innocent people whose only fault - according to the monstrous Nazi ideology - was that they were different from the chosen ones," underscored Jandroković.

"We permanently pledge that we will never forget the Holocaust and the names of all the victims, as well as all those courageous people who opposed the Nazi and fascist regimes and helped the Jewish people - including 118 Croatians who are Righteous Among the Nations," he added.

"As a country with a painful historical experience of a totalitarian and criminal regime, today we remember and pay our respects to Jews and other people and their families who were killed during the Criminal Ustasha regime."

"Today we also accept the responsibility that we will always prevent antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination in our societies and that we will permanently promote the democratic ideal of respecting every person and their inviolable dignity," Jandroković said.

Addressing lawmakers in the Sabor, Jandroković said that for some time now there has been an obvious increase in Europe of hate speech and hate crime, racism, xenophobia and intolerance toward minorities and other vulnerable groups - including the Jews.

The growing antisemitism is contrary to the fundamental values and respect for human rights that any democratic society is founded on and is a threat to peace, freedom, pluralism and democracy, he added.

As a result, numerous European institutions have adopted documents that call for the promotion of awareness of the need for prevention and continuing fight against anti-semitisim.

In 2005 Croatia joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance particularly among the young but also to promote awareness of the need to combat growing Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

In 2016 the alliance adopted a working definition of antisemitism recommending that all countries use that non-binding document as a guideline on how to recognise antisemitism and as educational material about the holocaust.

The Croatian Parliament's Education, Science and Culture Committee on Thursday adopted a conclusion encouraging state institutions and civil society organisations to promote the working definition of antisemitism, concluded Jandroković.

More news about Croatia and the Holocaust can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Croatia Has Politically Established Itself Internationally in Less Than 30 Years

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Croatia's international recognition, that the political legacy of the first president, Franjo Tuđman, was that in less than 30 years Croatia had politically established itself internationally and was now chairing the Council of the EU.

"Twenty-eight years ago, Croatia was internationally recognised and today is also the 22nd anniversary of the completion of the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube River Region into the constitutional order, which is Croatia's success and president Tuđman's political legacy," Plenković posted on Twitter.

"In less than three decades, Croatia won the Homeland War thanks to Croatian defenders, it politically established itself internationally as a member of the European Union and NATO, and today presides over the Council of the European Union at a crucial time for the future of Europe."

Twenty-eight years ago, Croatia was recognised by the EU member states. Germany, which together with the Vatican played a key role in that, established diplomatic relations with Croatia on 15 January 1992. At the time, the war was on and almost a third of the country was under occupation by the Yugoslav army and Serb rebels. On the same day in 1998, Croatia completed the peaceful reintegration of the Danube River Region, reclaiming its recognised borders.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Anniversaries of International Recognition and Reintegration of Danube Region Marked

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 - On this day, 28 years ago, the then member-states of the European Union recognised Croatia and on this day 22 years ago, the country completed the peaceful reintegration of its Danube region.

On 15 January 1992, Croatia's independence was recognised by the members of the EU and Germany as well as the Vatican were perceived as protagonists in those developments, while 15 January 1998 saw the completion of the peaceful reintegration of the until then occupied Danube River Region into Croatia's constitutional and legal order.

On 15 January 1992, Croatia was in the midst of the Homeland War and nearly one third of the country was occupied by the former Yugoslav army and Serb insurgents. Croatia's president Franjo Tuđman told his associates in the evening of 15 January 1992: "We have created the internationally recognised Croatia. Let's celebrate tonight and then roll up our sleeves and build a new democratic state."

Croatia's international recognition followed after it declared independence from Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991. On the same day, Slovenia too declared its independence from Yugoslavia and the next day the two newly- created states recognised each other.

At that time, the Soviet Union was disintegrating too, and although they were not internationally recognised yet, several of its former republics recognised Croatia during 1991 - Lithuania on July 30, Ukraine on December 11, Latvia on December 14 and Estonia on December 31.

Iceland - the first internationally recognised state that recognised Croatia

Iceland was the first internationally recognised state that recognised Croatia, on 15 December 1991, followed by Germany on the same day, although it decided that its recognition would go into force on 15 January 1992, together with the other EU member states.

On January 13, Croatia was recognised by the Holy See, which had announced that it would recognise Croatia and Slovenia the previous December 20. On January 14, Croatia was recognised by San Marino.

After being recognised by the EU on 15 January 1992, Croatia was recognised on the same day by Great Britain, Denmark, Malta, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Norway, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg and Greece. On January 16, Croatia was recognised by Argentina, Australia, the Czech Republic, Chile, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Slovakia Sweden and Uruguay.

By the end of that January, Croatia was recognised by Finland, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Russia recognised Croatia on 17 February 1992, Japan did so on March 17, the US on April 7, Israel on April 16, however, the two countries established their diplomatic relations five and a half years later, and China on April 27.

The first Asian country that recognised Croatia was Iran on 15 March 1992, while Egypt was the first African country on 16 April 1992.

On 22 May 1992, Croatia joined the UN.

Croatia is observing on Wednesday the 22th anniversary of the peaceful reintegration of its Danube region. The process was completed during the term of the United Nations Transitional Administration of Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) on 15 January 1998.

It was the Erdut Agreement, which was signed on 12 November 1995, that enabled the peaceful restoration of Croatian sovereignty over the Croatian Danube region which was under the control of Serb paramilitaries and rebels since the launch of the Great Serbian aggression against that part of Croatia in 1991.

The Erdut Agreement on eastern Slavonia, Baranja and western Srijem was signed on 12 November 1995 in Erdut and Zagreb by the then presidential chief-of-staff, Hrvoje Šarinić, the head of the Serb negotiating team, Milan Milanović, and by the then US Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, and UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg as witnesses. The treaty marked the beginning of the UN's two-year transitional administration in the area during which Croatia restored its sovereignty over the temporarily occupied parts of Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties, which enabled reconstruction in the area ravaged in the Great Serbian aggression on Croatia and the return of refugees.

The Erdut agreement was reached by Croatian President Franjo Tuđman and Serbian President Slobodan Milošević at a peace conference in Dayton, Ohio. The 14-point document provided for a two-year transitional period under UN supervision, a transitional administration, formation of a multi-national police force, local elections, and demilitarisation 30 days after the deployment of international peacekeepers. Seven provisions of the agreement dealt with human rights, refugee return, and property restitution or compensation.

The UNTAES mission was created under UN Security Council Resolution 1037 of 15 January 1996 and ended on 15 January 1998.

Two Croatian military operations in 1995 – Operation Flash which was conducted in May that year in western Slavonia and Operation Storm that liberated the largest portion of the occupied territories – paved the way for the Erdut agreement and subsequently for the UNTAES mission.

On 1 January this year, Croatia, which was admitted to the European bloc on 1 July 2013, assumed the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The presidency over the EU is seen as an opportunity to promote the country-in-chair and making the local society more sensitive to EU-related topics.

"A strong Europe in a world of challenges" is the slogan Croatia has chosen for its presidency. The programme of its EU presidency is based on four themes or pillars - A Europe that develops; A Europe that connects; A Europe that protects; and An influential Europe.

In Croatia, a total of 161 events in relation to the presidency will be held. One of the major events will be a summit meeting between the EU and the Western Balkans, set for 7 May in Zagreb.

Apart from that, eight informal gatherings will take place in Zagreb, three in the biggest Adriatic city of Split and one in the coastal resort of Opatija.

Nine ministerial conferences will be organised in Croatia: five in Zagreb and four outside the capital city. A few expert-level meetings will be held in the eastern city of Osijek.

The accession of Croatia to NATO took place in 2009.

More info about the history of Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Kristallnacht Commemorated in Zagreb

ZAGREB, November 10, 2019 - A ceremony commemorating Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, and the Nazi pogrom of Jews in Germany and Austria on 9 November 1938 was held in Zagreb's Square of Victims of Fascism on Saturday evening, organised by the Croatian Antifascist League.

Addressing those gathered, the head of the coordinating committee of the Jewish communities in Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, said: "We are here to remember the Night of Broken Glass, to pay tribute to the victims of racial laws, not to allow equating Ustashism with antifascism, and to warn of the danger of xenophobia and nationalism which is on our doorstep."

Kraus warned of rising antisemitism in Europe, saying that armed Nazis had attacked a synagogue in the German city of Halle last month during the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur and that similar incidents were recorded elsewhere in Europe.

Kraus said that in Germany and Austria, or in any other Western European country, it was not possible to downplay or deny the existence of concentration camps during World War II and equate the victims of Nazism and antifascism, the Axis powers and the Allies, while in Croatia that was possible.

"The antifascist movement and the Ustasha movement, the victims and butchers, continue to be equated, and pseudohistorians continue to write a new history of Croatia, rehabilitating the NDH (Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia). On the other hand, they are inventing crimes and the President is calling for a recount of the victims of the Jasenovac death camp. Why?" he said.

Kraus called the Croatian reality a disgrace, saying that the history of the children's concentration camps in Sisak and Jasenovac was being changed to portray them as reception centres where children were looked after, and adding that senior state officials attended a commemoration for victims of totalitarian regimes at a cemetery where Ustasha and German troops had been killed.

He drew attention to NDH and Nazi Germany symbols and hate graffiti that could be seen across Croatia and to physical attacks. He also mentioned the initiative to abolish Antifascist Struggle Day as a national holiday.

"This day was not mentioned in any of the television or radio programmes today. The event of global significance which actually marked the beginning of the Holocaust, or Shoah, and the Second World War, the worst thing that happened in the history of humankind," Kraus said.

In the Night of Broken Glass, over 1,300 people were killed, 1,400 synagogues and more than half of the buildings in the Jewish communities in Germany and Austria were destroyed or severely damaged, and 7,500 shops were ravaged. The next day, 10 November, over 30,000 men were taken to concentration camps, he recalled.

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Ombudsman Lora Vidović, Independent Democratic Serb Party leader Milorad Pupovac, Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mori and activist Rada Borić.

More info about events connected with the World War II can be found in the Politics section.

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