Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Government Rejects All Opposition Amendments to Public Holidays Bill

ZAGREB, November 13, 2019 - Government representative Darko Nekić in Parliament on Wednesday rejected all opposition amendments to the public holidays and memorial days bill, accepting only two amendments put forward by the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

One of the amendments endorsed is nomotechnical, while the other proposes that the Day of Adoption of the Resolution on the Secession of Međimurje from Hungary be renamed the Day of Unification of Međimurje with Croatia.

All the amendments will eventually be put to a vote.

MP Arsen Bauk of the opposition of Social Democratic Party (SDP) said that the purpose of the bill was to reinforce the position of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković as the HDZ leader. He added that the bill was also intended for the presidential and parliamentary elections and for the elections within the HDZ.

The SDP claims that by proposing that Statehood Day should again be marked on May 30 the HDZ actually wanted to mark its coming to power.

Bauk said that Independence Day, observed on October 8, should remain a national holiday, while Statehood Day, currently observed on June 25, should be called the Day of Proclamation of Sovereign and Independent Croatia. "Until October 8 Croatia was still part of Yugoslavia, and only thereafter has it been independent," he said.

Zlatko Hasanbegović of the Bloc for Croatia insisted that Antifascist Struggle Day, observed on June 22, should be abolished as a national holiday. "It marks an invented event that cannot be confirmed by any relevant historical source," he said, adding that that day had so far been used for "verbal outbursts and restoration of Yugoslav communism", notably by the SDP mayor of Sisak.

"This holiday is an integral part of the anti-Croatian and anti-democratic, Yugoslav communist legacy and as such it is contrary to the constitutional values," Hasanbegović said, calling for a vote on his amendment "so that no one can say they did not have a chance to state their opinion on the matter."

MOST's Miro Bulj resented the fact that the names of national holidays and memorial days did not include a reference to Greater Serbia aggression. "It's a fact that all the victims and all the war crimes were on account of the Greater Serbia aggression," he said.

More news about national holidays in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Veterans Committee Withdraws Amendment on Antifascist Struggle Day

ZAGREB, November 8, 2019 - The parliamentary group of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) decided on Friday that the Committee on War Veterans would withdraw an amendment proposing that Antifascist Struggle Day should no longer be observed as a national holiday but as a memorial day, the group's chairman Branko Bačić said after their meeting.

The amendment will be withdrawn after the government rejects it, Bačić said.

He said that the chairman of the Committee on War Veterans, Josip Đakić, explained at the meeting how the amendment had been proposed and that they agreed to fully support the government bill amending the Holidays, Memorial Days and Non-Working Days Act.

"Đakić was explicit in saying that he would support the bill. There is still time until November 14, and the group's position is that it will support the bill and the decision of the party, which has taken a clear stance on this bill," Bačić said.

Asked to comment on the announcement by an HDZ member of the Committee, Stevo Culej, that he would not back the government bill, Bačić said that it was his business, adding that there was still time before the bill was put to a vote on November 14.

Speaking of the amendment put forward by the Committee on War Veterans, Bačić said that the proposal was obviously made by some of the Committee members, "I think external ones."

"We in the HDZ have made clear our position on June 22 as Antifascist Struggle Day and we stand by it. This bill is harmonised with the Constitution, in which President Tuđman clearly wrote that Croatia's sovereignty is founded on the resolutions by the ZAVNOH (State Antifascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia) in contrast to the NDH (Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia) and on the Homeland War," Bačić said.

"Those who do not understand this obviously do not understand the Constitution or the HDZ's programme. In the afternoon, the Presidency and National Council of the HDZ will once again reinforce the policy of the party's present leadership which strongly follows the doctrine of Dr Franjo Tuđman," he said, adding that he expected every HDZ member to implement the party's doctrine and programme.

The Committee on War Veterans later said it had withdrawn all five amendments to the holidays bill, including one proposing that Antifascist Struggle Day become a memorial day and a workday.

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

Friday, 8 November 2019

Parliamentary Constitution Committee Doesn't Endorse Government Public Holidays Bill

ZAGREB, November 8, 2019 - The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System did not endorse on Thursday a government bill on public holidays, with five members for, four against and one abstaining.

The bill did not get the necessary number of votes because of the one abstention and the fact that a committee member from the ruling coalition did not attend the session.

Parliament will debate the bill on Friday and the committee's negative opinion does not oblige it to reject the bill.

The government has proposed nine changes of public holidays, memorial days and non-working days. The most heatedly debated by the committee, with regard to its historical and state significance, was the proposal to mark Statehood Day again on May 30, instead of June 25, and to mark Independence Day on June 25, instead of October 8, and to relegate it from a public holiday to a memorial day. October 8 would be marked as Croatian Parliament Day, a memorial day.

The parliamentary group of the SDP said it disagreed with the bill. "We believe this bill is being adopted solely for political motives related to upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections," said Peđa Grbin.

Branko Bačić of the ruling HDZ said the elections were not the reason and that May 30 had been the date that made all subsequent important events possible. He said the proposal was a return to the views of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman.

Milorad Pupovac of the ruling coalition's Independent Democratic Serb Party said only two public holidays were constitutionally political in nature and that the others were religious or commemorative. He asked what kind of message was being sent to young people.

As to which one was more important, Statehood Day or Independence Day, he said Croatians always had their statehood in one form or another in the past and that they only did not have full independence.

As for the initiative of the parliamentary war veterans committee to relegate Antifascist Struggle Day, June 22, from public holiday to memorial day, the committee on the constitution said anti-fascism had a basis in the constitution and in history and that Antifascist Struggle Day should remain a public holiday.

The committee turned down an SDP bill of amendments to the law on the election of the president of the republic in line with the rule not to change election legislation in an election year.

More news about public holidays in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Government Against Abolition of Antifascist Struggle Day as Holiday

ZAGREB, November 7, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he would not allow the de-Tuđmanisation of his HDZ party because Franjo Tudjman, the first president of the HDZ and Croatia, included June 22, Antifascist Struggle Day, among public holidays.

He was responding to the proposal by Josip Đakić, chairman of the parliamentary committee on war veterans, that Antifascist Struggle Day no longer be a national holiday.

"I don't know if that's his idea... It's necessary to put an end to the policy of de-Tuđmanisation also within the HDZ. This means that I, as HDZ president and prime minister, say that June 22 is a holiday which was included in the law on public holidays by the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman and so it will be," Plenković told reporters.

He said everything that was said at Wednesday's session of the veterans committee was not the policy of the either the HDZ National Council or Presidency or the government, and that party bodies had clearly supported and formulated amendments to the law on public holidays, memorial days and non-working days which the government sent to parliament and "which will be adopted as such."

"I'm telling (Đakić) and everyone else who wants to de-Tuđmanise the HDZ: I won't allow it."

Asked if there would be sanctions, Plenković said the HDZ National Council or Presidency would meet on Friday and that it was necessary to clearly say, "enough with the policy which tears apart the foundations of what Tuđman created and what the HDZ should be."

"Who doesn't understand that, doesn't understand either Croatia's past or present, and sees Croatia's proper future even less. They should clear their heads," he said, adding that the possibility of sanctions would be discussed.

War Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved told the press, while coming to a government meeting on Thursday, that the government-sponsored bill on public holidays was a well-prepared legislative solution, and that the cabinet would give its opinion to a suggestion that Antifascist Struggle Day, observed as a national holiday, should be a memorial day.

"In my opinion, the government has forwarded to the parliament a very good legislative proposal. During the preparation of the draft act, we have analysed all circumstances and I believe that the solution tabled to the national parliament provides best answers," said Medved of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)

On Wednesday morning, the parliamentary War Veterans Committee, chaired by HDZ MP and HVIDRA disabled war veterans association head Đakić, put forward an amendment to the government-sponsored bill on holidays proposing that October 8, Independence Day, should remain a national holiday while Antifascist Struggle Day, June 22, currently a national and non-working day, should become a memorial and working day. The government's proposal of the new calendar of holidays will be discussed by the parliament on Friday.

The committee's proposal was criticised as unacceptable by Social Democratic Party (SDP) parliamentarian Arsen Bauk on Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday mornings, several ministers in the HDZ-led government, including Transport Minister Oleg Butković, Environment Protection and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić, said that they did not think that the Anti-Fascist Struggle Day should be relegated to a memorial day.

Butković said that the HDZ leadership had not at all considered a possibility that this national holiday should become a memorial day. Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman also said that such proposal had not at all be considered by the government.

In the meantime, the Croatian People's Party (HNS) a junior partner in the ruling coalition also stated that it found it unacceptable that the Anti-Fascist Struggle Day be relegated to a memorial day.

More info about events related to the Second World War can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Concert Held in Belgrade for Croatia's Independence Day

ZAGREB, October 8, 2019 - The Dubrovnik Piano Trio on Monday held a concert in Belgrade's Church of St. Anthony of Padua to mark Croatia's Independence Day, and the event was also attended by Croatian Embassy staff headed by Ambassador Gordan Bakota and Zagreb City Assembly chair Drago Prgomet.

Bakota said the event provided an opportunity to recall Croatia's path from a country fighting for its independence to a country that was a member of all international organisations and would soon be chairing the EU.

Warning against both national and social populism, Prgomet called for building a state that would provide equal opportunities to all, regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity or religion.

"I believe that we will continue to build (Croatia) as a country which is tolerant and open to all who accept it as independent - both those who live in it and its neighbours," said Prgomet, who earlier in the day visited Subotica and Tavankut in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, which have sizeable Croat communities.

Bakota and Prgomet said they would like the Belgrade city authorities to soon fulfil their promise and provide premises for the Croatian Cultural Centre, which exists as an association but does not have premises where to hold cultural events such as the concert by the Dubrovnik Piano Trio.

More news about Croats in Serbia can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

State Delegations Lay Wreaths on Independence Day

ZAGREB, October 8, 2019 - High state delegations on Tuesday laid wreaths at Zagreb's central cemetery of Mirogoj on the occasion of Independence Day, October 8.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, and the envoy for President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Anamarija Kirinić, laid wreaths in front of the central cross in the Alley of Fallen Croatian Defenders, at the grave of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman and at the common grave of unidentified victims of the 1991-95 Homeland War.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, President Grabar-Kitarović, PM Plenković and Parliament Speaker Jandroković attended mass for the Homeland in St. Mark's Church.

A changing of the Honour Guard outside the government and parliament offices in St. Mark's Square is expected to take place at noon.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević today issued a message of congratulation to all Croatian citizens, notably defenders and families of defenders killed or gone missing in the war, stressing that it was because of them that Croatians today lived in a free and independent country.

"Today we have a duty to build Croatia's future based on the values of the Homeland War, which is the foundation of the modern Croatian state," the minister said in the message, among other things.

Independence Day is observed in memory of 8 October 1991 when the Croatian parliament unanimously decided to sever all state and legal ties with the other republics and provinces of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), whereby Croatia became an independent state.

The parliament also decided that it no longer recognised as valid any legal act of anybody acting on behalf of the former federation, which no longer existed as such, and voted in 15 laws required to bring to life an independent and sovereign Republic of Croatia.

Previously, the parliament adopted a constitutional decision on independence and sovereignty on 25 June 1991, but its entry into force was postponed for three months based on the Brijuni Declaration of July 7, adopted at the initiative of the European Commission in an effort to help peacefully resolve the Yugoslav crisis.

After the moratorium expired, in the afternoon of October 7, planes of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) bombed Zagreb and the Banski Dvori in St. Mark's Square, the residence of the then state leadership headed by President Franjo Tuđman, killing one person and wounding four. Other buildings in St. Mark's Square were damaged as well.

Due to security reasons and possible new attacks on Zagreb, the parliament was relocated to the basement of the oil company INA's building in Šubićeva Street, where the historic decision on independence was adopted.

More on history can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Officials Issue Messages for Independence Day

ZAGREB, October 7, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Monday congratulated Croatian citizens on Independence Day, observed on October 8, saying that over the past 28 years many things had been achieved, "we have demonstrated that no goal is unreachable if we are committed to it."

In her congratulations, the president said Independence Day honoured parliament’s historic decision on Croatia's final and irrevocable independence. Every Croatian patriot is proud and grateful to all known and unknown individuals who made sacrifices for this historic goal, she added.

"Today, Croatia is a State that is known and respected... We know and sense that we can do more and better for Croatia. We wish to create a society and a State tailored to the needs of the Croatian man. I believe that we shall succeed because I believe in the Croatian people, because I believe in Croatia."

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Monday issued a message for Independence Day, which is observed on October 8, saying that the future of Croatia depends on its citizens and that Croatia can be a country each Croatian citizen will be proud of.

October 8, 1991 will remain forever written in Croatian history as the day when the Croatian parliament decided to sever constitutional and legal ties with the other republics and provinces of the Yugoslav federation, he said.

"With this decision, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Croatia, which the Croatian Sabor adopted on June 25, 1991, Croatia became a sovereign, autonomous and independent state, setting in motion the process of international recognition.

"With these acts the Croatian Sabor confirmed the long-running aspirations of the Croatian people to build their future in a free, sovereign, autonomous, independent, democratic and pluralist Croatia. For such a Croatia, many Croatian defenders and their families, patriotically and honourably, made great sacrifices in the Homeland War and for that we will forever be grateful to them," Jandroković wrote.

"Today, as we strengthen the future of our homeland, we must be aware that it depends on ourselves alone, on our self-awareness, strength, patriotism, determination, responsibility and harmony. With this awareness, and with coordinated action between citizens and all levels of government, Croatia can permanently move forward and be a country of which each Croatian citizen will be proud," Jandroković said.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

President Holds Reception on Statehood Day

ZAGREB, June 26, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Tuesday evening held a reception on the occasion of Statehood Day, celebrated on 25 June throughout the country, and on that occasion, the head of state underscored that she firmly believed in the future of Croatia which "has great people, and the nation with many virtues which are demonstrated when it is most essential and necessary."

"Long live our only and eternal Homeland Croatia!" she said and then specified some of tasks which should be done to ensure the further development of the country.

The president says that the demographic issue is the issue of all issues, which cannot be resolved by one generation but that it requires systematic, comprehensive and persistent action of all social stakeholders from the politics, economic life, culture and religious communities.

"I do not doubt that we will resolve that issue. We have already achieved many epochal successes in a high number of fields," the president said.

In reference to 25 June 1991 when the Croatian parliament adopted the constitutional decision and declaration on Croatia's independence and sovereignty, the president said that "the adoption of the Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Croatia and the Declaration on the Proclamation of the Sovereign and Independent Republic of Croatia not only marked the ultimate State-legal severing of ties with the republics of the former State (Yugoslavia), but also Croatia’s departure from its centuries-old attachment to complex State communities."

"At last, the name of the Croatian State is forever inscribed on the political map of the world," she emphasises.

Grabar-Kitarović says that Croatia remembers, with utmost respect, its first president Franjo Tuđman who decisively led the Croatian people in the creation of an independent state in complex internal and international circumstances.

Despite the fact that democratically elected authorities in Croatia provided constitutional guarantees for the exercise of human and minority rights, Croatia was exposed to the Great Serbian aggression, she said recalling that the country was defended by the courage of Croatian defenders and the prudent statesmanship of President Tudjman.

Simultaneously, we assisted in the defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which the Croats are the constituent people, she added

Grabar-Kitarović also says that Croatia's symbols, flag, anthem and other insignia are displayed in centres of international institutions and at sports events, nevertheless, having one's own state is not only pride but also obligation, she added.

In this context she called for unity and for making use of Croatia's potential and advantages.

She also recalled that Croatia is a member of the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, which paves the way for other opportunities such as the project of the Three Seas Initiative.

In attendance were Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and cabinet ministers, representatives of the judicial authorities, high-ranking military officers, and prominent figures from the public life as well as religious dignitaries.

More news about Croatian history can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Officials Send Messages for Statehood Day

ZAGREB, June 25, 2019 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković underscored in his congratulatory note on the occasion of Croatia's Statehood Day that 25 June 1991 will be permanently inscribed in the nation's history as the day when the Croatian Sabor, as the Croatian people's legitimate representative legislature that has preserved Croatian sovereignty for centuries, unanimously adopted two decisions essential for Croatia's present-day sovereignty and independence.

On 25 June, Croatia observes Statehood Day in memory of the parliament's decisions to adopt the Constitutional Decision on the Sovereignty and Independence of Croatia and the declaration proclaiming the country's sovereignty and independence.

The public holiday commemorates 25 June 1991 when the Croatian Parliament adopted a historic resolution initiating the process of disassociation from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia based on the results of a referendum held on 19 May 1991.

Jandroković said in the message, released on Monday that the process of international recognition of Croatia and the country's disassociation from the Yugoslav federation were preceded by the referendum at which the large majority of the Croatian people opted for building their future in "a free, sovereign, independent, democratic and pluralistic Croatia."

He recalled that unfortunately many Croatian people gave their lives for that cause and for the defence of the homeland against the Great Serbia aggression.

"We must always be grateful for the unselfish sacrifices of our soldiers and their families."

"We must never forget that the Homeland War is the foundation of present-day Croatia in which we live, enjoying peace and freedom and whose values are bequeathed to us forever," says Jandroković.

Croatia is celebrating its birthday as a democracy whose values are peace, freedom, pluralism, the rule of law, the respect for human dignity and human rights, equality and inclusion.

It is the permanent duty of all of us to make those values stronger, he said pointing out the role of the parliament and its contribution to creating a positive political climate conducive to the further progress of the Croatian nation and society.

"In a world faced with rapid changes and numerous challenges, the Croatian Parliament and its deputies are supposed to resolutely take responsibility and address many demands and needs of Croatian citizens, primarily through the adoption of legislative frameworks as a guarantee for the implementation of responsible, true, viable and lasting policies for the future development of Croatia."

He also urged for further strengthening the stability of institutions, the safety and security of citizens, economic growth, legal certainty, social sensitivity, justice and solidarity as well as demographic revival, paving the way for enhancing living standards.

We can build our common future only by our joint and concerted action and mutual respect as well as true patriotism and strong self-confidence, he added.

Until 2001 Statehood Day was observed on 30 May to commemorate the inauguration of the first multi-party Croatian Parliament in 1990. Today 30 May is observed as Croatian Parliament Day.

Statehood Day might again be celebrated on 30 May as of next year, as announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who said that that date was more popular among citizens.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday extended his congratulatory message on the occasion of Statehood Day underscoring that 25 June 1991 is one of the most important events in the recent history when the national parliament declared Croatia's independence and sovereignty.

We particularly thank and pay tribute to Croatian soldiers, notably those who gave their lives for the defence of the homeland, thus making it possible for us to live in a free and democratic Croatia, he said in a press release issued by the government.

This national holiday is also an opportunity for us to remember the visionary statesmanship of the first Croatian President, Franjo Tuđman, and to remember all who have contributed to efforts that Croatia's dream of independence comes true, the premier says.

Croatia is nowadays a modern and well-functioning state and a reliable and committed member of the European Union and NATO, and a state that is achieving results in many fields of the social and political life. Nevertheless, many goals are ahead of us which we strive to accomplish so as to make our homeland better and more developed, Plenković says.

In the recent period, in parallel to ensuring political stability, the government has been continuously implementing reforms and making the national economy stronger. The unity we demonstrated 28 years ago gives us an incentive to continue creating together conditions for a better and more prosperous life for all Croatians, reads the message.

"We are committed to building a society marked by developed democracy. freedom, equality and solidarity as well as human rights and social responsibility," the premier said.

More news about Croatia’s history can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Croatia to Celebrate Statehood Day on Tuesday

ZAGREB, June 24, 2019 - Croatia celebrates Statehood Day on Tuesday, the 28th anniversary since declaring independence from Yugoslavia.

On this occasion, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will hold a formal reception in her office, and the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, will celebrate the Holy Mass for the Homeland in St Mark's Church.

Statehood Day commemorates 25 June 1991 when the Croatian Parliament adopted a historic resolution initiating the process of disassociation from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia based on the results of a referendum held on 19 May 1991.

Until 2001 Statehood Day was observed on 30 May to commemorate the inauguration of the first multi-party Croatian Parliament in 1990. Today 30 May is observed as Croatian Parliament Day.

Statehood Day might again be celebrated on 30 May as of next year, as announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who said that that date was more popular among the citizens.

The Declaration of Independence was announced by the first President of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman, in an address broadcast by radio and television on 25 June 1991.

"It is with undisguised satisfaction and pride that we are notifying all republics and federal bodies of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the whole world about the sovereign will of the Croatian people and all citizens of the Republic to declare the Republic of Croatia an independent and sovereign state on this day, and we are inviting the governments and parliaments of all states to accept and recognise the free decision of the Croatian people, an act of freedom whereby one more nation wants to become a full member of the international community of the free world," Tudjman said then.

Through the mediation of the international community, the entry into force of the constitutional decision of 25 June 1991 was delayed for three months to facilitate disassociation negotiations among the former Yugoslav republics.

At that time, namely since August 1990, Croatia was subjected to military aggression by Serb extremists and the Yugoslav People's Army. A quarter of its territory was under occupation, and the Croatian people rose in defence of their homeland. The country suffered extensive destruction and heavy casualties during the war.

Most of the occupied territories were liberated in 1995 in combined military and police operations known as Storm and Flash, and the remaining territory under Serb occupation, Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem, was peacefully reintegrated in 1998.

Croatia joined NATO on 1 April 2009 and the European Union on 1 July 2013.

More news about Croatian history can be found in the Politics section.

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