Sunday, 17 July 2022

Croatia Slams Vučić's Plan for Impromptu Visit as Being Against Protocol, Malicious

ZAGREB, 17 July 2022 - Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić's intention to come on an announced, private visit to Jasenovac is against the protocols, because a head of state is a protected person, and visits by presidents require official preparations, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Sunday.

The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry sent a protest note to Belgrade on Friday over this case, the minister told the press outside the ministry's building today.

The protocol has been violated, said Grlić Radman elaborating that visits by presidents and office-holders must be announced to the host country and require planning for weeks and months.

Making an appointment for a visit by foreign officials implies that the time frame, the character, and program of the visit should be a subject matter of official communication and the outcome of the agreement by both sides, the minister said reading excerpts from Croatia's protest note.

Following Croatia's demarche, Serbia's authorities tried to hand their protest note to the chargé d'affaires in Croatia's embassy in Belgrade, however, she refused to receive it, the Croatian minister said.

He said that Croatia had invested a lot of effort in the improvement of the dialogue with Belgrade, however, there has been no sincere response from the other side.

Croatia's refusal to allow Vučić to pay a private and impromptu visit in such a way to Jasenovac caused an uproar among Serbian officials, who are close aides to Vučić.

Grlić Radman believes that the issue of Vučić's possible visit to Jasenovac, a WW2 concentration camp, had been made topical in Belgrade for the sake of the ongoing talks on forming the new Serbian government. 

He also sees this as Belgrade's attempt to blur unresolved issues stemming from the Homeland War and Croatia's insistence on answers from Serbia about what happened with 1,834 unaccounted-for people who went missing in that war.

The Jutarnji List daily reported that Vučić had contacted Croatian Serb leader Milorad Pupovac to tell him that he would arrive in Jasenovac from Bosnia and Herzegovina where he planned to visit the Serb entity.

According to the Zagreb-based daily newspaper, Pupovac conveyed that information to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and the government found Vučić's plan to dodge the appropriate protocols outrageous.

Grlić Radman today declined to confirm or refuse the claims about Vučić's attempt to implicate the SDSS party leader Pupovac in this affair.

The Jutarnji List daily also comments that Vučić's intention to come on such an impromptu visit to Jasenovac and Pakrac, without official notification to Croatia's authorities and circumventing the embassy is perceived as his attempt to play a role of a victim, who is allegedly denied access to Croatia, ahead of the anniversary of the 1995 Operation Storm and to provoke Croatia's authorities.

Croatia criticizes Serbia's authorities for avoiding the official channels for providing information about plans for Vučić's arrival.

"We see it as ill-intentioned and not as a sincere visit or sincere act of paying respect to victims," Grlić Radman said.

Ex-president says Vučić is lying for propaganda purpose

Following this entanglement about Vučić's plans for paying a visit to Jasenovac and his claim that not any of the previous Serbian presidents had ever been to Jasenovac, former President Boris Tadić told local media outlets that this was a morbid lie made by Vučić. 

Tadić recalled that in 2010 he had visited Jasenovac and Jadovno, two sites of the suffering of ethnic Serbs in World War Two in Croatia, and accused Vučić of exploiting war victims for his propaganda purposes and for satisfying his personal ambitions.

Tadić said that the difference between Vučić and him was the fact that he had not made use of his visits to such sites for one-upmanship or for inciting hatred and fake patriotism.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 22 April 2022

JANAF Resumes Oil Delivery to Serbia's NIS

ZAGREB, 22 April (2022) - Croatia's oil pipeline operator JANAF said on Friday it was allowed to resume the delivery of crude oil to the Serbian oil company NIS, adding that it had concluded storage contracts with the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency and the Delta Oil International company.

JANAF reported on 29 March that its contract with NIS was covered by EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić then said that the problem of oil delivery would be addressed together with Croatia and the European Union.

JANAF said on Friday that the EU Council regulation of 8 April amending a regulation concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine allows JANAF to continue performing its obligations under the contract on crude oil transport with NIS.

JANAF also said it had concluded storage contracts with the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency and the Delta Oil International company.

The contract with the Hydrocarbon Agency provides for the storage of 20,000 cubic metres of diesel fuel and the same amount of unleaded petrol at the Omišalj Terminal on Krk island from 1 July to 31 December 2022.

Under the contract with Delta Oil International, 169,000 cubic metres of crude oil will be stored at Omišalj from 15 April to 15 August 2022.

JANAF's CEO Stjepan Adanić said that the new contracts were yet another confirmation of JANAF's strength and importance as a key component of the energy market in the European Union, Croatia and this part of Europe.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 28 January 2022

Serbian Ombudsman Requests Withdrawal of Textbook Negating Croatian Language

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - Serbian Ombudsman Zoran Pašalić has requested the withdrawal of a Serbian language textbook for eighth-graders which denies the existence of the Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin languages, Croatian language-media in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina reported on Friday.

The media quoted leaders of the ethnic Croat community as describing the recommendation as encouraging.

A definition on the division of South Slavic languages in the contentious textbook, written by a group of authors, says that Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian and Bulgarian belong to the South Slavic group of languages while "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak and Montenegrin."

Ombudsman Zoran Pašalić said in a statement the approval of the textbook violated the rights of ethnic minorities because it negated the existence of their languages, with Croatian and Bosnian being in official use in Serbia.

Pašalić called on the Education, Science and Technology Ministry to take the necessary steps and withdraw the textbook before the start of the school year 2022/2023 as well as to report to him within 60 days of the action taken.

The ombudsman's decision was welcomed by the Croat National Council (HNV) and the DSHV party of Vojvodina Croats, which in October 2021 said that Serbian eighth-graders were taught that Croatian did not exist.

Croatian President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, too, have protested over the negation of the Croatian language.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Obuljen Koržinek Calls on Serbia to Stop Laying Claim to Croatian Cultural Heritage

ZAGREB, 17 Jan 2022 - Croatian Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Sunday that the recent adoption of the Cultural Heritage Act by Serbia, which lays claim to old literature from Dubrovnik, was scandalous, calling on Serbia to refrain from usurping Croatia's territory and cultural heritage.

"We will react through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our embassy has already been contacted in this regard," Obuljen Koržinek said in an interview with public television HTV.

The Cultural Heritage Act, passed by Serbia two weeks ago, says that old literature from Dubrovnik belongs to both Serbian and Croatian cultures.

"This is mythomania, this need to usurp Croatian cultural heritage, notably literature from Dubrovnik. That is unacceptable and professionally unfounded. They included in their law provisions according to which the Dubrovnik literature predating 1867 has some sort of dual affiliation, both Croatian and Serbian, which of course is complete nonsense," Obuljen Koržinek said.

She said she expected Serbia to do away with such legal provisions and to "stop once and for all laying claim to our territory and our cultural heritage."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Attacker of Croatian Family From Subotica Convicted

ZAGREB, 6 Jan 2021 - A man who attacked a Croat family from Subotica has been convicted to three months house arrest, the Croatian National Council (HNV) said on Thursday, underscoring that this is the first conviction for an ethnically motivated crime against members of the Croat minority in Serbia.

HNV recalled that the incident occurred on 2 August 2021 in downtown Subotica when the man, identified as B.P., hurled several insults based on ethnic grounds and then physically attacked Zoran Brajković, throwing him to the ground.

HNV welcomes the professionalism of the High Court in Subotica, underscoring that this is the "first conviction that has had a positive result related to the prosecution of an ethnically-motivated crime against members of the Croat community in Serbia."

HNV recalled that after the incident occurred, local media and officials in Subotica reacted with untruths, denying that the crime was ethnically motivated.

The police too then did not qualify the incident as being ethnically motivated which hampered the entire investigation, HNV added.

HNV hopes that now, after this conviction, other ethnically motivated attacks against the Croat community will be resolved positively.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Milanović Meets with Dodik

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday held talks with Milorad Dodik, the representative of the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the president's office said in a press release.

The meeting with the Serb member of the tripartite BiH Presidency was part of Milanović's activities that are aimed at achieving the stability and functioning of BiH as well as the legitimate representation of all three constituent peoples in line with the Dayton peace agreement, the press release said.

For that purpose, the president already met with Bakir Izetbegović, the representative of the Bosniak people, and with Dragan Čović, the representative of the Croat people, it added.

For more, follow our politics section.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Serbian Textbooks' Negation of Existence of Croatian Language Outrageous

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that Serbian textbooks' denial of the Croatian language was outrageous and unacceptable.

"The embassy, the foreign ministry and all the relevant institutions have a clear duty to send protest notes to Serbia," Plenković told the press after he met junior partners in the ruling coalition in Zagreb.

"We consider it a shameful policy," he added.

On Monday, the political leadership of Croats in Serbia condemned the denial of the Croatian language in grammar books for eighth-graders. According to the local Croat-language weekly "Hrvatska riječ", a grammar book for eighth-graders by a group of authors says that the Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian and Bulgarian languages are South Slavic languages while "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak or Montenegrin." The textbook was approved by the Serbian Institute for the Promotion of Education, the weekly said.

Plenković said today that Croatia expected Serbia to rectify such anomalies in its grammar books.

He added that he would also convey Croatia's position on the matter to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić who is expected to attend a two-day EU-Western Balkans summit, which begins on Tuesday afternoon in Slovenia.

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

Monday, 20 September 2021

Verdis Republic: New Self-Proclaimed Neighbour of Croatia

September 20, 2021 - Just like Liberland, another state entity saw an opportunity in unclaimed territories between the borders of Serbia and Croatia. Meet the Verdis Republic.

Despite defending its territory and sovereignty in an armed conflict back in the '90s, Croatia still has some unclear territorial issues. 

Back in 2015, a Czech citizen, Vit Jedlicka, used a piece of territory that was claimed neither by Croatia nor Serbia to good use and made himself a president of Liberland. 

„We now have 40 future embassies, a working government, a stable source of income through voluntary taxation, and a clear vision about the development of Liberland. I just finished interviews with Huffington Post and Prague Post, so there is a large ongoing interest from people, as well as from the media, in Liberland“, Jedlicka told TCN in 2015.

After only six months of existence justified by the Terra Nullius law (the first person to lay claim to unclaimed sovereign land has rights to it), Liberland allegedly had 300,000 citizenships applications, and Jedlicka granted 130 of them to people who actually managed to come to the territory of the land

„The reason why neither side had claimed the waterfront plot was simple. When discussing borders, Serbia declared it wanted everything to the east of the Danube and had no interest in anything to the west. Croatia, by contrast, wanted to stick to the land register borders of the 19th-century map when the Danube flowed differently. As there was more land on the Serbian side, they laid claim to that, meaning they did not take up any claim on what was soon to become Jedlicka's Liberland“, explained Paul Bradbury in 2019 when he wrote about four years of Liberland's existence.

But as the Liberland territory isn't the only no-man's land around the Danube region, a new state most recently wants to get the land for itself. 

„Verdis, officially the Free Republic of Verdis, is a sovereign-state claiming an uninhabited parcel of disputed land locally named as pocket 3 of the Croatia-Serbia border dispute on the western bank of the Danube, close to 'Liberland', between Croatia and Serbia. It plans to be a largely environmentally conscious and humanitarian state in Europe. The Free Republic of Verdis is currently aiming for international recognition and a permanent inhabitance on its land claim. With Verdis being the first entity to lay claim to its land-claim, it makes the land-claim legally belong to Verdis even after the Croatian-Serbian border dispute ends. This is due to international law“, says the website of the new neighbor to Croatia and Liberland.

Verdis currently only exists as a website (which tries to get as much attention as possible by contacting various news outlets such as Večernji List) but already has 1,040 citizens. Most of them are Croats and Serbs. So far, nobody lives in the territory, but there are already big plans and ideas of how the state will function. 

verdis_flag.jpg

Verdis Flag © Free Republic of Verdis
„The population of Verdis is to be divided into Representative groups, each of these groups will have 150 people in them, and there will be 100 groups in total. Every two years a representative elected by their group will sit at the House of Representatives. Here laws and regulations are voted upon. Laws that a majority of the House of Representatives agree to pass are sent to the President to sign. If the President signs the proposed law it will come into effect. If the president does not choose to sign the law, the House of Representatives might have to change parts of the law or persuade the President to pass it“, says the Verdis website.

With the plan so far, Verdis will have 13 ministries and the department of the president. As Večernji List learns, the current president is Daniel Jackson, who, despite the fact you can't vote until you are 18 neither in Croatia or Serbia, is currently 16.

„16-year Daniel Jackson that presented himself as a temporary president hopes that in five to ten years, Verdis will achieve international recognition and have enough money to settle on territory which he claims permanently“, says Večernji List. They add that in order to get citizenship, you need to pay 16 dollars. Jackson also told Večernji List that he has never been to the Verdis territory so far, only negotiated to sail through Dunav, but that the coronavirus pandemic slowed down the whole thing. He also pointed out that all his current endeavors are done with respect to international law. Verdis has also issued several passports.

 The aforementioned environmentally conscious republic has several ideas on how to make this new country eco-friendly right from the start.

„The Government of Verdis has shown increased interest in establishing hydroelectric whirlpools. Although these HW's are small, a single one can power up to 60 homes. They are small, cheap, easy to manage, and are harmless to the environment. This is the most positive plan for Verdisian electricity. As it will take time for Verdis to establish its self-sustained electricity, the government plans to rely on neighboring sovereign-states by paying for essentials until further established“, says the Verdis website.

They add that buildings themselves will be done in a modern and environmentally-conscious design. They will be built as high-rises to ensure more space on the ground.

„This will allow a large population in such a small area while also allowing a normal and decent life in such a small area similar to Monaco“, the new government promises as the president collects money to actually come and visit his country to be.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Branko Bačić: Vučić's Call is a Provocation, Illegal to Hang Out Another Country's Flag

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that the call by Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić to "Serbs in all Serb lands" to hang out their Serb flags on 15 September, wherever they may be, is inappropriate, unacceptable and a provocation.

"I consider that to be a provocation and inappropriate, all the more so, because it is in violation of the law," Bačić told reporters in the Croatian Parliament, citing the Public Law and Order Act which says that displaying other countries' flags is not allowed.

I expect the Serb community to respect the law

"I expect that our fellow citizens and members of the Serb community in Croatia will respect its laws," said Bačić, underscoring that it is inappropriate and unacceptable for the "president of Serbia to call on citizens of Croatia, notably members of the Serb community in Croatia, to hang out Serbian flags in Croatia on 15 September."

Asked if the police would monitor that, Bačić said that the Croatian police perform their duties according to the law and that he believes that this will be the case tomorrow too.

"It is not particularly hard to check if someone has displayed the flag of another country in their window," said Bačić.

He rejected claims from the opposition that the government should have reacted more sharply to Vučić's call and that it did not do so because of the cooperation with its coalition partner, the Independent Serb Democratic Party (SDSS).

He underlined that HDZ is cooperating properly with its coalition partners. "The ruling majority is stable but that does not mean that we will pass over this kind of call, merely because we are in a coalition with members of national minorities," he said.

Bačić would not comment on a statement by SDSS MP Milorad Pupovac that all Serb minority institutions should hang out the Serbian flag alongside the Croatian flag and that he saw Vučić's call as an encouragement and not as an imposition.

Ruling majority is stable

Ahead of the autumn sitting of the Sabor, Bačić said that the ruling majority is stable and that the government has full support in addressing numerous challenges, from economic recovery and the fight against the pandemic to the reconstruction of earthquake-struck areas.

He expects the government to adopt amendments to the Reconstruction Act by the end of the month to accelerate the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and the Banovina region.

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

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Croatian World War 1 Memory: Research Project Investigating Memory and Heritage

September 7, 2021 - In a pool filled with social research supported by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, Liljana Dobrovšak leads a project to explore the Croatian World War 1 Memory. The heritage and sites of memory of this horrible historical event as well as political and social background interpreting those events will be displayed on an international round table on September the 9th and 10th, 2021.

As the past always keeps inviting us back to learn something new the history books overlook, events such as World War 1 require revisiting.

Enter ''The First World War in the Culture of Memory. Forgotten Heritage'', a scientific project led by Ljiljana Dobrovšak to dig deeper into the collective memory of this dreadful war.

''The aim of the research is to initiate a scholarly debate on the ''cultural memory'' of WW1 in Croatia based on newly acquired knowledge in order to determine its causes and why it contributed to the contemporary social phenomenon of ''forgetfulness'' related to WW1 in Croatia.

The objective of this research is to examine WW1's ''cultural memory'' in Croatia back during the time of the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs/Yugoslavia (and in relation to the wider region and the rest of Europe) through the systematic investigation of ''memory politics'' (legal framework), ''sites of memory'' marking practices and ''commemorative practices’' ''during the war and in the interwar period,'' explains the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute on its website.

This piece of research had two goals. The first is concerned with investigating and recording what the research calls ''sites of memory'', and to fully determine circumstances of their creation, establishment or even, in some cases, the disappearance of those places. This was done by analysing and studying actions and/or attitudes of the Croatian institutions, military and civilian associations next to the central Belgrade institutions, military and civilian organisations towards ''sites of memory'' related to the WW1 in Croatia.

The second goal concerns situating these ''sites of memory'' in a wider socio-political context. This way, researchers can investigate how, at the time, the Yugoslav legal framework of memory politics is developed towards its formation through commemorative practices on its territory, as well as, attitudes of the Yugoslav state and central institutions in Belgrade towards Croatian citizens as members of the Austro-Hungarian Army who died fighting for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

''The overall result of this predominantly historical research project which is multidisciplinary in character is not only expanded knowledge about neglected and insufficiently researched Croatian cultural and historical heritage but more importantly; the acquired knowledge which enables the scientific and cultural integration of the Croatian WW1 memory, more precisely cultural memory, and its valorised historical heritage into the wider socio-historical European context,'' concludes the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

The project started in 2020 and will last until 2023. However, even now, the research has moved far enough to hold an international scientific round table regarding the matter.
The round table lasting from September 9-10 will see lectures from scientists from Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and Croatia.

The event will be held at Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute's multimedia hall in Zagreb, at Marko Marulić Square 19. However, due to the current epidemiological measures, the number of seats at the hall is limited. But never fear, as you can follow the discussions and lectures live via a Zoom meeting (Meeting ID: 892 6457 0158 Passcode: 316547).

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

Page 1 of 40

Search