Thursday, 16 January 2020

Plenković: Young People Migrating for Financial Reasons, Not Because of Corruption

ZAGREB, January 16, 2020 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has told the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that many of the young people who are leaving Croatia to work abroad are migrating for financial reasons and not because of corruption and nepotism.

"It's true we must step up the fight against corruption on every level, but the main reason for the emigration is the desire of young people to improve their financial situation in a short time," Plenković is quoted as saying in the newspaper's issue of Thursday, dismissing claims that the young are leaving Croatia because they are fed up with corruption and nepotism.

Plenković says half the EU member states are faced with declining populations and that Croatia is fighting at EU level for the problem to be taken seriously.

"The topic of demography was included in the European Union's 2019-24 Strategic Agenda at Croatia's explicit request. We are also happy that Commissioner Dubravka Šuica is in charge of demography in the new European Commission," he says, adding that he will discuss demography with German Chancellor Angela Berlin in Berlin today.

"In order to stop the population decline, we have significantly raised maternity and parental allowances, and we have exempted young people under 25 from income tax and those under 30 pay 50%," Plenković says about his government's measures to stop emigration.

In the interview, he dismisses the possibility of further opening the Croatian market for workers from non-EU countries, including from Southeast Asia. "That's not a topic for us now. Our quota system for issuing work permits is completely sufficient for current needs."

He also commends Croatia's economic development, saying that "thanks to positive development" his government has raised pensions and salaries in the public sector on three occasions.

Plenković is on a two-day working visit to Germany during which he will hold talks with Merkel and attend the opening of the International Green Week Berlin 2020 fair at which Croatia is the partner country.

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

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Right-Wing MP to Protest Against Global Migration Compact in Marrakesh

ZAGREB, December 5, 2018 - Hrvoje Zekanović, the sole MP of the HRAST party, announced at a press conference in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday that he and two of his colleagues from the civil society organisation Hrvatski Bedem would be in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on December 10-11 to protest against the adoption of the UN Global Migration Compact.

Zekanović said they were angry because the Marrakesh agreement had not been discussed in the Croatian parliament and that they did not know the President's position on it either. He added that they would express their dissatisfaction at press conferences and in street protests, linking up with similar initiatives from other countries.

Željko Sačić of Hrvatski Bedem (Croatian Rampart) said they were travelling to Marrakesh to be "the voice of disenfranchised and totally democratically silenced Croatian people, champions of sovereignty who didn't have a chance to speak in the state institutions about this agreement."

"We couldn't speak about it in the cabinet, in parliament and before a parliamentary committee, we have been silenced. Zekanović is travelling to Marrakesh to say that we Croats, like our neighbours Hungarians, Italians, Czechs, Slovaks, our friends from the US, Japan and many other countries, are against the Marrakesh agreement and that we will do all in our power to ensure that this agreement, even if illegitimately adopted by Croatia, is not applied," Sačić said.

He said that the agreement would only put additional financial obligations on Croatia, which is already in a great demographic, social, economic and financial crisis, and that the adoption of the Marrakesh agreement could result in "an irreparable national disaster."

"We will do all we can to raise awareness of the Croatian people, despite the current ruling elite, to show what a great danger this globalist idea is to us," Sačić said.

For more on the migration issues in Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Government Defends Global Migration Compact Before Parliament

ZAGREB, November 29, 2018 - The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Marija Pejčinović Burić, presented to the parliamentary foreign affairs committee a report on the Global Migration Compact on Wednesday, reiterating that this was a set of measures that promote cooperation between countries with regard to regular migration and that it was not a binding document by which states diminish their sovereignty or according to which migration was considered as a human right, however critics claimed that endorsing the document also meant accepting certain political obligations.

Pejčinović Burić together with Interior Minister Davor Božinović answered to criticisms by almost all parties regarding the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) that is supposed to be endorsed in Marrakesh in early December.

The process was launched by the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants by 193 UN member states. The minister said Croatia had participated in forming the EU's joint stance on this matter.

Countries like the USA, Israel, Australia, the entire Visegrad Group and Austria have announced that they will not adopt the Global Compact.

Critics claim that the non-binding document declares economic migration as a human right which means giving up a state's sovereignty while supporters of the Compact claim that it will improve international management of migrant waves and strengthen the protection of human rights.

Pejčinović Burić addressed the parliamentary committee and said that the document was a reaction to 258 million people leaving their countries and that the UN took on the responsibility to prepare a document with the intention of controlling that phenomenon which is almost impossible to control without international cooperation.

"Countries independently decide on the application of those measures according to national legislation and migration policies," she said and reiterated that this is an unbinding document aimed exclusively on regular migrants. "The Global Compact is not an international legal agreement and it is not a legally binding document. It isn't something that is signed," she said.

Minister Božinović welcomed the fact that the international community had realised at the level of the UN that the migrant issue was something that finally had to be dealt with. "With this document, for the first time, the international community is realising that this issue needs to be regulated," and it wasn't dealt with before because developed countries had a lot of benefit from migrations.

MOST leader Božo Petrov said that the interested public should have been informed of this issue much earlier and not "ten days" before the document is to be adopted in Marrakesh. He expressed concern that countries in Croatia's neighbourhood had rejected the Compact and called for a vote that the issue be debated in parliament however, that motion was denied by the committee's chairman Miro Kovač (HDZ).

Branimir Bunjac from the Živi Zid said that his party would not support the Compact because it was unclear and ambiguous.

Joško Klisović (SDP) said that "the document doesn't undermine sovereignty in any way. He claimed that the issue of migrations is something that can only be handled at a global forum like the United Nations, adding that he regretted that Croatia would not represented in Marrakesh by the President nor the foreign minister but would be represented by the interior minister.

For more on Croatia’s migration policies, click here.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Who Will Represent Croatia at Migration Conference in Marrakesh?

ZAGREB, November 11, 2018 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Saturday that the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs should send someone to Marrakesh to attend an intergovernmental conference on adopting the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adding that this was not the first time that she couldn't respond to an invitation and that she had cancelled her attendance at events for a variety of reasons before.

"I have estimated that in the circumstances that have emerged in the meantime and because of the theme of the conference itself, it would be better if someone else attended the migration conference, someone from departments that are directly involved in this matter, possibly the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, which was in charge of the process of negotiation of this convention. Prime Minister Plenković has said that the government will discuss this and decide accordingly," Grabar-Kitarović told reporters in Paris, where she had arrived to attend a ceremony marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

This week disputes emerged between the president and the government, notably the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, over the president's decision to cancel her attendance at the Marrakesh migration conference. The president had confirmed her attendance to the UN secretary general in August.

Grabar-Kitarović said in Paris that the cancellation of the trip was not the first or last time that she would refuse an invitation for some reason and that during her term in office she had cancelled her attendance at many events for a variety of reasons. "My assessment at this point is that it is better for someone from the relevant department to attend, and I should emphasise once again that this migration convention is not signed and is not binding. Any country can choose that part that suits its organisation. I don't want it in any way to be a matter of dispute either in Croatian society or in international relations," the president said.

She noted that she had made the decision on her own and that she had considered it since August. "As you could see, I publicly spoke about it in New York because I had reservations already then and I suggested to my advisers then that in their statements they should indicate that my opinion is that we should attend at department level, but the government will decide on that," Grabar-Kitarović said.

The main ceremony commemorating the end of the Great War will be held on Sunday and will be attended by many heads of state or government, including French President Emmanuel Macron as the host, US and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

"Unfortunately, Croats also fought in the First World War, defending the Austro-Hungarian monarchy which they didn't like. A lot of people were killed, and for us the end of the war is an event that should be celebrated. However, economic and political circumstances in Croatia didn't improve much after the end of the First World War, and the Second World War followed. Obviously, issues had not been resolved at international level," Grabar-Kitarović said.

The ceremony in Paris is symbolic and will unite a large part of the world in paying tribute to the war dead. It will also have a concrete dimension, primarily at the Peace Forum which has been launched by President Macron. A lot of resources and energy have been invested and it could result in good projects because people from around the world have been invited, Grabar-Kitarović said.

Also attending the ceremony will be representatives of international and non-governmental organisations, corporations, trade unions and religious groups. Introductory remarks will be made by Chancellor Merkel together with President Macron and UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres.

Grabar-Kitarović began her visit to Paris by visiting Croatian photographer Davor Rostuhar's exhibition at the Louvre, entitled "Croatia, Full of Colours".

For more on the migrant crisis as it relates to Croatia, click here.

Monday, 19 December 2016

About 30,000 People Left Croatia in One Year

At the same time, around 11,000 people moved to Croatia.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Tens of Thousands of Croats Move to Germany

According to German statistics, over 30,000 Croats emigrated to Germany last year.

Monday, 24 October 2016

More Slavonians Than Dalmatians Moving to Zagreb

People from Međimurje, Varaždin and Istria are at the bottom of the list.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Government Abandons Plans to Punish Providing Humanitarian Aid to Illegal Aliens

Initial plans included a 23,000 kuna fine for giving humanitarian help to illegal aliens.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Milanović: I Do Not Believe in Border Fences to Stop Refugees

The Croatian Prime Minister talks about taking in refugees.