Wednesday, 22 September 2021

President Milanović: "I think Serbian President Vučić is Proud of His Wartime Role"

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović reiterated in New York on Tuesday that his current Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić, had incited to war and that he was probably proud of that.

In a talk at Columbia University on Monday, Milanović said Vučić had been a warmonger, which set off a storm in Serbia.

"You can't ignore which roles some people had in our region in the last 30 years. Blood was spilt, there was arson, killing, and some people incited to that," he told the press on Tuesday, adding that "Croatia has gentlemanly let it go but won't bury its head in the sand as many in Serbia are doing."

"I think Vučić was proud of what he was doing. This is something that should be said from time to time, especially when someone... sends on a daily basis his political holograms, spokesmen and agitators to say on his behalf whatever pops into their heads. That's dirty and methodologically cheap," Milanović said.

Vučić said on Monday that Milanović was saying such things about him, "shallow and low insults", because Croatia is jealous of Serbia's economic success. He said Milanović was bothered by the fact that this year Serbia would surpass Croatia in GDP "by a 300 to 600 million euro margin."

"Serbia has a bigger total GDP even than Luxembourg. But Croatia's and Serbia's GDPs per capita are not even close. Serbia is much closer to Albania there," said Vučić. "In terms of general development, Serbia is not at Croatia's level. Life in Croatia is better and richer than in Serbia by all parametres."

Friendly talk on Bosnia with Erdogan

Milanović spoke to the press after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying they had a friendly talk on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"What I say in public, I say at such meetings," he said, adding that Turkey's foreign and defence ministers were also at the "quite open and very pleasant" meeting.

"What I underlined to Mr Erdogan is that there is no one in Croatia who will throw around stories that Mostar and Herzegovina will separate, which we hear from some others about some other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And that's not smart nor necessary. In Croatia, no one advocates such a policy and such outcomes nor thinks that," Milanović said.

While in New York, he was to have met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, but the meeting was cancelled because Milanović had more important commitments.

That wasn't even supposed to be a meeting but a photo op and a five-minute talk, Milanović said. "At that moment, I assessed that I had something more productive, an informal meeting concerning the region, state business."

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


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

United Nations: On Average, Serbs Are Happier Than Croats

Finland is a very happy country, according to the United Nations' survey of happiness, while Croatia is placed in the middle of the rankings, behind Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia and Montenegro. Finland is followed on the list of the happiest countries of the world by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands, reports Express on May 1, 2019.

The United Nations have published a report on global happiness for the last seven years. It tracks the situation in 156 countries according to six key factors contributing to the level of happiness – income, freedom, trust, life expectancy, social support and generosity. Croatia is ranked 75th, while Serbia and Montenegro are 70th and 73th.

The particularly surprising data is the fact that Serbia has seen an increase in the feeling of happiness in the last several years, while Croatia has seen a decline in most years, although it did progress slightly compared to the previous year, jumping from 82nd to 75th position. Still, this is a significant drop compared to 2016 when Croatia was 58th. While our neighbours are becoming more positive and more satisfied, Croats are becoming more dissatisfied and unhappy.

Kosovo is at the 46th position, Slovenia at 44th and Hungary at 62th, while neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina is placed three positions behind Croatia.

Citizens say the biggest problem is corruption, which hampers the feeling of happiness and satisfaction with the current situation. That is why many are leaving the country, which shows that the dissatisfaction has gone beyond the limits people can handle. "In Croatia, we live in a grotesque that resembles the Alan Ford comic, and this is ultimately unfavourable for the mental health of individuals. The recipe for happiness, apart from going abroad, includes personal effort. It is important to point out positive examples. Everyone can do something to make our surroundings better and more beautiful. We can be more kind to each other, less jealous, focus on what we can change, including voting in the elections,” explained Nebojša Buđanovac, a social worker and psychotherapist.

It seems that the feeling of happiness in neighbouring countries is not linked to the amount of money people have, because average Serbian citizen has just a third of assets compared to the average Croat. Credit Suisse says that the average Serb had about 10,700 dollars last year, while Croats had 35,900 dollars, Hungarian 37,500 dollars, and Slovenians 79,000 dollars. This includes money, shares, bonds and other financial assets.

It is interesting that residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina had 14,000 dollars, making them richer than the average Serb. The survey also states that this is an average wealth per capita, which means that the figures do not show differences in income.

According to this data, the average Serb is at the financial level which the average Croat had 15 years ago. Even though Serbia has almost twice as many inhabitants, the total financial assets of Serbia amount to just 100 billion dollars, 20 billion less than Croatia. Bosnia and Herzegovina has financial assets of only 51 billion dollars.

Translated from Express.

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

Monday, 25 March 2019

Croatia Ranks in the Middle of UN World Happiness Report

ZAGREB, March 25, 2019 - Finland is the happiest country in the world, shows an annual UN World Happiness Report covering 156 countries. Croatia is ranked 75th.

The report, published on March 19, is based on three years of research by the Gallup analytics and advisory company on how happy citizens of the 156 countries perceive themselves to be.

This is the second time Finland ranks first.

It is followed by its Nordic neighbours Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

The first ten countries also include the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.

Croatia is ranked 75th, which is seven places higher than in the previous ranking. Despite this, Croats seem not to perceive themselves particularly happy.

Countries that consider themselves happier, for example, are Kosovo (46th), Serbia (70th), and Montenegro (73rd).

Italy ranks 36th, Slovenia 44th, and Hungary 62nd. Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks three places below Croatia.

Some of the factors going into the assessment include gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption.

South Sudan is at the bottom of the ranking, accompanied by Rwanda, Afghanistan and Central African Republic.

The five countries that have seen the biggest decline in the last ten years are Yemen, India, Syria, Botswana and Venezuela.

More Lifestyle news can be found in the dedicated section.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Croatian President Discusses Violence Against Women

ZAGREB, March 14, 2019 - The danger of violence against women is omnipresent and is not decreasing, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said in New York on Wednesday, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the mandate of the Special UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women, wishing Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović a lot of success and a fruitful continuation of her work on improving the status of women.

Speaking of the danger of violence against women, Grabar-Kitarović said that the topics that were discussed pointed not only to the size of the problem but also to the importance of raising awareness of the problem in order to deal with it, her office said in a statement.

In that regard, Grabar-Kitarović mentioned the Femicide Watch Initiative and other important initiatives and projects by the Special Rapporteur, such as cooperation between global and regional mechanisms for women's rights, as well as efforts aimed at stopping violence against women in politics.

The president stressed that Croatia was proud that the Croat Dubravka Šimonović was the current Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.

Croatia supports the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and the Special Rapporteur herself. I admire and deeply respect your work because this is a particularly difficult matter that affects the very core of our values and beliefs, said Grabar-Kitarović.

More news about the status of women in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Croatian President Meets with UN Secretary General, Gives Speech

ZAGREB, March 12, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Tuesday held a bilateral meeting with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the fringes of the UN Conference "Women in Power," the Office of the Croatian President said in a press release.

The two officials talked about the situation in Southeast Europe, with a special emphasis on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the position of Croats in that country, as well as about current global challenges, the press release said.

Grabar-Kitarović said Croatia supported the continuation of the EU enlargement process to include all six Southeast European countries.

She expressed satisfaction with the policy of human resources, which for the first time in history resulted in gender equality in the IN group of senior staff and commended progress made in revival of the work of the UN General Assembly, according to the press release.

Earlier, Grabar-Kitarović participated in the United Nations Conference "Women in Power". She said that just as most other women in politics and all walks of life, she had to persist and fight for her place – in life and in politics.

She pointed out that in the public, often inappropriate questions are posed to female politicians and women in power, and in many situations, they face threats and insults. Although women have accomplished much, they still don’t have an equal value to men and this applies not only to female politicians, but to all women, no matter where they come from, how old they are or what position they hold, Grabar-Kitarović underlined.

The Croatian president reasserted the fact that countries with a higher share of women in executive and non-executive positions are more prosperous, adding that there is a huge positive impact on the GDP and increased productivity. In view of this, the president highlighted that in Croatia efforts by the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality have resulted in the creation of a unique Data Base of Business Women who can lead successful companies and be in managerial positions based on their professional qualifications and achievements.

Furthermore, Grabar-Kitarović said that women are needed in the maintenance of peace and security, in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and politics in general, because when given full and equal access to resources and opportunities, and when included in decision-making, women drive the world forward. She emphasised that education has to be among the priorities of all development programs.

“Just outside this building stands Croatia’s gift to the United Nations and one of the symbols of the Organization – the “Peace Monument” by the famous Croatian sculptor Antun Augustinčić. It is a horsewoman carrying a globe in her hand and leading the world to peace. She is the one to aspire to. Let’s make her symbolism our reality and every girl empowered enough to know that she too can have the world on the palm of her hand,” Grabar-Kitarović said in her address at the UN.

The goal of the conference is to show how important it is for women to stand up for themselves and never give up, and the responsibility of women who are policymakers is to show other women and girls worldwide, through their own deeds, to believe in themselves and to be determined in overcoming all obstacles standing in their way.

The conference is being attended, among others, by the presidents of Lithuania and Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaite and Kersti Kaljulaid respectively, prime minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdottir, and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

More news on Croatia and the United National can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Croatian President Attending UN Conference "Women in Power"

ZAGREB, March 12, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is attending the UN conference "Women in Power" in New York on Tuesday.

The goal of the conference is to show how important it is for women to stand up for themselves and never give up, and the responsibility of women who are policymakers is to show other women and girls worldwide, through their own deeds, to believe in themselves and to be determined in overcoming all obstacles standing in their way, the President's Office said in a press release.

The conference is being attended, among others, by the presidents of Lithuania and Estonia, the prime minister of Iceland, and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

The Croatian president is scheduled to meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

Grabar-Kitarović met with Colombian Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez, and the two leaders concluded that Croatia and Colombia have traditionally good bilateral relations without open issues, the press release said.

In reference to projects between EU member states and Colombia, it was emphasised that the Croatian non-governmental organisation the Society for Psychological Assistance is implementing the educational programme “Capacity Building for Psychosocial Support – Empowering Colombian Experts to Provide Psychosocial Services” together with the European Union delegation in Colombia.

The purpose of the project is to assist Colombian experts in more successfully addressing the psychosocial consequences of the long-standing conflict in Colombia for the victims, using the experiences of Croatian experts gained during the 1991-1995 war in Croatia and elsewhere.

Following bilateral visits and contacts in 2017 and 2018, the Croatian Ministry of Defence and Colombian partners established cooperation in setting up a comprehensive model for finding missing persons and identifying wartime remains.

More news on Croatia and the United Nations can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 25 February 2019

NGO Says UN Wants Croatia to Stop Violation of Reproductive Rights

ZAGREB, February 25, 2019 - After the Roda nongovernmental organisation in November 2018 reported violations of women's reproductive rights to UN human rights bodies, based on testimonies collected in a campaign focusing on women's negative hospital treatment experiences, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked Croatia to urgently take action to prevent violation of women's sexual and reproductive rights.

"We are appalled by the testimonies given by women, following the launch of the campaign #BreakTheSilence in October 2018, which showed a pattern of abuse and violence against women undertaking medical procedures related to their reproductive health,” reads a statement by a group of experts released on the website of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

Noting that the violence ranged from surgical treatments carried out without anaesthesia to humiliation, verbal abuse and the refusal to give painkilling medication, the experts say that Croatia should adopt measures to prevent violence and insist on the accountability of those who commit it.

"We are deeply concerned about women being subjected to painful treatments without anaesthesia, including surgical miscarriage procedures, uterine scrapes, removal of placenta, stitching after birth, episiotomies being conducted against their will and disrespectful treatment of women by health personnel," the experts stress.

They note that in spite of the testimonies, some politicians and heads of health institutions have denied the allegations, questioning the credibility of the women’s stories and their perception of pain. At times, even women’s intelligence was questioned.

“A woman who is receiving reproductive health care, including giving birth, accessing medically assisted reproduction services and undergoing surgical miscarriage procedures, must have her rights respected.

“Health personnel should apply the highest standards of professionalism and ethical codes in delivering reproductive health care, and they must respect the dignity, privacy, autonomy, integrity and security of women,” the experts emphasize.

“We encourage the Government of Croatia to conduct an independent investigation into those allegations, to publish its results and to elaborate a national action plan for women’s health,” the experts conclude.

During the campaign BreakTheSilence, in only two and a half days, activists collected more than 400 testimonies of women who have experienced some kind of violence and abuse in Croatian hospitals during gynaecological procedures.

More news about women’s issues can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Dubrovnik - A Scarred City Exhibition to be Staged at UN

ZAGREB, December 9, 2018 - A multimedia exhibition called "Dubrovnik - a Scarred City, 1991-2000" will be staged at the UN on December 17 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Dubrovnik's inclusion of the World Heritage List and the 20th anniversary of its removal from the List of Endangered Sites.

Mayor Mato Franković said this would be the first exhibition at the UN focusing on Croatia's 1991-95 Homeland War. "We want to show the world how Dubrovnik suffered in the Homeland War, but also how it was rebuilt after the war."

Julijana Antić Brautović, one of the authors of the exhibition together with Mato Brautović and Goran Cvjetinović, said two historic precedents were related to Dubrovnik. "For the first time in history, UNESCO sent envoys to a war-affected area and they arrived in Dubrovnik in November 1991, recording the damage. Thanks to them, Dubrovnik was included on the List of Endangered Sites six days after extensive destruction on 6 December 1991. Together with Croatian experts, they developed a reconstruction methodology and priorities and oversaw everything," said Antić Brautović.

The other precedent was that Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) General Pavle Strugar and Vice Admiral Miodrag Jokić were the first people to be convicted by an international tribunal of crimes against the cultural heritage as crimes against humanity, she said.

Dubrovnik lived under siege for 240 days, mostly without electricity or fresh water. The JNA swept through surrounding villages looting houses and razing them to the ground. December 6, 1991 will be remembered as one of the worst days in Dubrovnik's history, when Serbian and Montenegrin soldiers targeted the medieval walled town with all types of weapons weapon, killing 19 defenders and civilians and wounding another 60 people. Thousands of shells fell on the historical centre, nine palaces were burnt to the ground and 461 buildings were severely damaged that day.

During the war in the area, 116 civilians and 430 Croatian soldiers were killed and several hundred were injured.

The exhibition is organised by the City of Dubrovnik and Croatia's Permanent Mission to the UN under the auspices of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the government. After New York, the display will be staged in Dubrovnik's twin cities.

For more on the Dubrovnik news, follow Total Dubrovnik.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Rights Groups: Croatia Breaking Its Promise On Disability Rights

Oct. 10, 2018 — A trip to a psychiatric hospital coincides with human rights organizations decrying Croatia’s habit of cordoning off the mentally ill.

Friday, 28 September 2018

President Underlines Importance of Integrating SE Europe with EU

ZAGREB, September 28, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović told a meeting held on the margins of the ongoing UN General Assembly session in New York on Thursday that Southeast Europe had become a testing ground for different countries and their interests, that there were tensions between countries in the region and that it was important to ensure the integration of that part of Europe with the European Union.

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