Friday, 20 May 2022

Milanović: Special Forces Are the Elite and Must Have a Spotless Reputation

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - President and Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović said on Friday on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the Special Forces that members of these units are the elite and their reputation has to be spotless.

"We need to remember that of the 75 of your friends, combatants, Croatian knights, who were killed, thirty of them were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and half of the remaining 45 probably had their roots in BiH," Milanović said.

"That was a time when Croatia was defended by sons from small communities and towns and the least of them came from downtown Zagreb and other large cities," he claimed. "We must not forget them. We must not forget their children and descendants. They are a part of us in another country and we must not betray them." 

We are not in alliances for them but for us

Milanović said that excellent skills can best be gained in cooperation and interaction with others. "Small nations and small armies cannot advance if they aren't in constant contact with what is on the outside, with what is different and open. That is the fate and imperative of small nations because a small nation that is closed within itself degenerates," he added.

"We aren't in all those alliances for their sake but our own," the president stressed.

National policy and security are an important priority and they are defined by the democratically elected government, concluded Milanović.

The president laid a wreath and lit a candle at a cross in front of a memorial room in the barracks in Delnice in honour of the members of the Special Forces who were killed. Tribute to the fallen soldiers was also paid by Brigadier General Perica Turalija on behalf of the Defence Ministry and Hungary's military attache to Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Croats Trust Police and Army the Most, the EU More than Their Government

April 14, 2022 - Croatian citizens have the greatest trust in the army and police, according to a survey of political scientists for whom data have been collected for more than two decades. Croats trust the European Union more than their own government.

While citizens of organized and developed EU member states have high trust in the institutions of their countries, Croatian citizens have the greatest trust in the army and police. Croats trust the Church more than NGOs and, for many perhaps unexpectedly, trust the EU more than Croatian public administration, reports tportal.hr. This is shown by the research "Stability and/or change? Trust in institutions in Croatia from 1999 to 2020." by political scientist Kosta Bovan from the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb and Nikola Baketa from the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, published in the scientific journal Revija za sociologiju.

They analyzed data collected in surveys in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2020, conducted by the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, in which citizens were asked to 1 to 5 assess the degree of trust in political and social institutions.

It turned out that the army and the police enjoy the most stable trust of the citizens.

Thus, in 1999, citizens' trust in the army was rated at 3.64, and in 2020 at 3.62, while trust in the police in the same period reached 3.15 and 3.22, respectively. Trust in political parties in 2020 was 1.89, and in 1999 at least 2.52.

While the trust in the Parliament in 1999 was 3.15, in 2020 it dropped to barely 2.03. The situation is similar to the decline in confidence in the Government, in 1999 it received a score of 2.97, and in 2020 2.19. NGOs cannot boast of trust either, because in 2020 the trust in them was rated at 2.41, and in 1999 it was 2.82.

The Church enjoys greater trust than non-governmental organizations, in which the trust of citizens was 2.75 in 2020 and 3.36 in 1999. Croats' trust in trade unions in 2020 was lower (2.27) than in the media (2.45), although neither of them can be satisfied because from 1999 to 2020, trust in them fell.

Croats trust the EU more (2.72) than the Croatian public administration, which in 2020 was barely 2.19. Confidence in the courts is even lower, so in 2020 it was 2.04, while in 1999 it was still 2.90.

Political scientists conclude that the analysis showed that in the period from 1999 to 2020, citizens' trust in representative institutions decreased, which suggests the alienation of citizens from these institutions and poses a problem for the functioning of representative democracy in Croatia while trust in security institutions, army, and police extremely stable, wrote Večernji list journalist Dijana Jurasić.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

President: Current Situation Doesn't Require Raising Level of Army's Preparedness

ZAGREB, 1 March 2022 - The government has not proposed nor has President Zoran Milanović ordered raising the level of preparedness of the Croatian Armed Forces, the Office of the President said in a statement on Tuesday, stressing that the current security situation in Croatia does not require raising the level of the army's readiness.

"The President of the Republic is in close contact with the commanders of the Croatian Armed Forces and the chiefs of security and intelligence. The current security situation in Croatia does not require raising the level of preparedness of the Croatian Armed Forces. The government has not proposed and President Zoran Milanović has not ordered raising the level of preparedness of the Croatian Armed Forces," the Office of the President said.

Under the Defence Act, orders putting the Croatian Armed Forces on alert are issued by the President of the Republic following a proposal to such effect by the government.

The Office of the President issued its statement after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday night made a statement about Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

"In order to provide the public with accurate information and avoid alarming Croatian citizens, the Office of the President considers it necessary to comment on the statement by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković who said last night that 'the Croatian Army has raised the level of preparedness from the usual level,'" the Office of the President said.

Under the Defence Act, putting the army on alert implies mobilisation, organisation, security and other measures and procedures necessary to prevent and remove a threat of attack on Croatia and other threats to the country's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, its citizens and property, the President's Office said.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

First Croatian Volunteers Arrive to Join the Ukrainian Army

February 26, 2022 - The fighting continues in Ukraine, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made it clear that they will not lay down their arms. He also called for volunteers in Europe to join the defense of the country, and the first Croatian volunteers have reportedly arrived on Ukrainian soil.

Fighting has been going on in Ukraine for three days since Russia invaded to "carry out the demilitarization and denazification" of the neighboring country. And while Ukrainian forces are fighting fiercely in several cities, Croats will soon join them.

Today, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that they will not lay down their arms and the Ukrainian army will continue to contain the Russian invasion in Kyiv. Additionally, in a televised statement, he urged volunteers in Europe to join the fight, who would be given weapons.

The first Croatian volunteers are going to the battlefield in Ukraine to fight on the side of the Ukrainian army, Dnevnik Nova TV writes.

As they have reported, a larger group of volunteers should join the Ukrainian army in a few days, and they have military experience from before and are full of desire to help the Ukrainian army.

Croats are not the only ones who will help Ukraine. Numerous countries have announced they are sending weapons, but also financial aid. On the other hand, ordinary citizens have made it clear what they think of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to go to war.

Protests against the Russian invasion took place in many European cities this Saturday, especially many citizens at the protests in the countries bordering Russia. Solidarity with Ukraine has been expressed around the world. In Zagreb, hundreds demonstrated against the Russian aggression that has so far claimed the lives of nearly 4619 Ukrainians.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

 

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Croatia Plans To Send Up To 10 Soldiers To NATO's Rapid Response Force

ZAGREB, 24 Feb 2022 - The Croatian government has adopted a draft decision on deploying up to 10 Croatian soldiers in the NATO Response Force (NRF), the defense ministry stated on Thursday when Russia started invading Ukraine.

The draft decision has been forwarded to President Zoran Milanović, the supreme commander of the armed forces, for adoption, the press release reads.

According to Defence Minister Mario Banožić, Croatian troops will be part of the "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force" (VJTF) within the alliance's Response Force.

That means that they will be ready within a few days.

During the Prague summit in 2002, NATO decided on the establishment of its Response Force, and the Wales summit in 2014 decided on the set-up of VJTF.

In 2015, Croatia's parliament adopted decisions that paved the way for the deployment of Croatian soldiers in those units.

Earlier today, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance had activated its defense plans on the deployment of additional forces in NATO's eastern members.

"Today, the North Atlantic Council decided to activate our defense plans, at the request of our top military commander, General Tod Wolters," Stoltenberg said and added that he has "called a virtual Summit of NATO leaders tomorrow, to address the way forward."

 For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Milanović: Citizens and People Respect and Love Croatian Army

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - The President of the Republic and Armed Forces Commander in Chief, Zoran Milanović, said on Monday that the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy was created amid the war and nation-building, underscoring that the Croatian Armed Forces served to defend the country and were respected and loved by the people.

"I've arrived from an institution that has marked its 30th anniversary this morning -- the Croatian National Bank (HNB). That 30th anniversary isn't actually real because that institution had existed before. This one, yours and ours, hadn't existed, it was created amid the war and state-building process. And it's completely new and in that sense completely ours," said Milanović at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy and a graduation ceremony.

He added that after 30 years of the Croatian state, the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy and the HNB were the only two institutions that had done their job well and with honor and had never disgraced themselves.

"One of these two institutions is financial and it enjoys a good reputation but doesn't inspire love. The other one, your and our Croatian army is special, it is only ours, it serves to defend our country and did so when it was hardest, and it's respected and loved by the citizens and the people. These two institutions, these two pillars, do what is good in the Croatian state," he said.

He announced that he would visit the Republic of Kosovo in two days, where he would also visit Croatian soldiers who are there as part of NATO's KFOR operation. He stressed they were there "because that is our decision".

"No solidarity, no force made us go there, that is our decision and our assessment that it is good for us and the region. We will increasingly have to be guided by our interests and then solidarity," Milanović stressed.

You have something to be proud of, you've chosen a difficult job

He told the military academy graduates that they had something to be proud of and that they had chosen a difficult job of being a Croatian soldier in a country that is a NATO and EU member.

In addition to President Milanović, the event was attended by his adviser on war veterans, Marijan Mareković, the Commander of the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy, Lt. Gen. Mate Pađen, and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Siniša Jurković.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Banožić: Defence Ministry Won't Cover for Incompetence of President's Office

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Monday responded to accusations from the president's office that soldiers were not receiving per diems, telling the head of the president's office and the president's defence advisor that the ministry "will not cover for their incompetence".

"Instead of holding unconvincing press conferences and shifting responsibility to others, the gentlemen from the Office of the President should be more responsible in spending their office's budget, so there would be no problems they had mentioned. While I am minister, the Ministry of Defence will not cover for their incompetence," Banožić wrote on Facebook.

The head of the president's office, Orsat Miljenić, and presidential defence adviser Dragan Lozančić said today that Banožić's abuse had spread to soldiers who supported the president because they had not received their per diems.

Miljenić said Banožić decided a month ago not to pay per diems to soldiers who supported President Zoran Milanović in any way, specifically soldiers who recently were lined up in Vukovar and carried wreaths in Škabrnja.

Miljenić said the military chief-of-staff warned the president's office about dozens of such cases in the past month. He added that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was notified but has taken no action.

Miljenić said this situation was unacceptable and hoped that Banožić would rescind his "unconstitutional and unlawful decision" and resume paying people what they had earned.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Minister Worried About Drugs in Military

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Wednesday expressed concern about narcotics in the military, saying they should be eradicated after a member of the special forces commands tested positive for cocaine.

"A clear instruction about zero tolerance has been given. Constant checks are being done. In that way, there are certain results every week and I am sure that we will eradicate this thing from the Croatian Army," the minister told Nova TV.

He said this was not a new problem and that no one wanted to tackle it seriously until now.

The latest case was discovered on Monday during extraordinary testing at Lora Naval Base in Split as part of the month of combating addiction.

It was not the first time that cocaine was discovered among members of the special forces command and Banožić said the whole situation worried him.

"As soon as you have any form of addiction in the environment, of course, it's not healthy and as such, it can't be part of the Croatian Army, as a moral message to society as well as for the development of Croatian soldiers in the system."

Earlier this month, police discovered five kilos of marijuana in the family house of an active serviceman in Dalmatia.

Asked if the drugs were for personal use or if this was something bigger, the minister said "there are certain conclusions based on the investigation done by the military criminal police that it's a larger quantity, just as the marijuana case we had last week. It seems there were five kilos. It suggests that it was not only for personal consumption."

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Croatian Contingent Given Send-Off to Kosovo Without Presence of Media, Minister

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - The 36th 130-strong Croatian Army Contingent, including six servicewomen, is being given a formal send-off on Monday to join NATO's KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. The media and the defence minister are not present at the ceremony.

The ceremony is taking place in the barracks of the 132nd Croatian Army Brigade in the eastern city of Našice without the presence of the media. It is being attended by President Zoran Milanović in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces, while Defence Minister Mario Banožić has canceled his attendance.

The Defence Ministry said that Banožić had canceled his attendance because neither he nor the contingent commander was scheduled to address the ceremony and because the media were not allowed into the barracks to cover the event.

"The Croatian Army is above all of us politicians. We are all transient, and it will exist as long as there is Croatia. I did not go to Našice for the send-off ceremony because I wanted no part in a show by the gentleman who unfortunately does not understand the first two sentences in this post. I wish the members of the 36th Croatian Contingent a safe journey and a successful mission. See you soon," the defence minister wrote on Facebook.

Although the Ministry's press office on Sunday invited the media to cover the event, the President's Office later said that the ceremony "does not envisage the participation of the media," adding that the public would be informed about the event in a press release which would include photographs.

Representatives of the media gathered outside the barracks gate on Monday morning but were denied entry.

The President's Office said that the sole purpose of the send-off ceremony was to show the commander in chief, military commanders, and the defence minister the contingent's readiness for the mission. "Such an important event for the military cannot and will not be used for anyone's daily political interests," it said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

FM Expects "Constructive Dialogue" With President at Meeting on Tuesday

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Saturday he expected a constructive dialogue between the president of the republic and the prime minister at a meeting of the Defence and National Security Council on Tuesday in the interests of the functioning of the state, its institutions, and national interests.

President Zoran Milanović has proposed a meeting of the Defence and National Security Council because of the escalation of his conflict with Defence Minister Mario Banožić, whom he accused of politicizing the Armed Forces. The government proposed three dates for the meeting and Milanović chose 9 November.

"I expect a constructive dialogue, an exchange of views and proposals because we politicians and officeholders are accountable to our citizens. Everything that is in the interest of the functioning of the state and its institutions, national interests, will be on the table," Grlić Radman told reporters during a visit to his ministry's stall in Zagreb's Cvjetni Trg square as part of events marking the 25th anniversary of Croatia's membership of the Council of Europe.

"We are facing a serious task ... because Croatian citizens deserve what they need, and that is social stability, economic growth, a higher vaccination rate, and security. The government will provide an appropriate answer in that regard," he added.

Ambassadors are a priority

Speaking of filling ambassadorial positions, Grlić Radman dismissed Milanović's claim that he did not want an ambassadorial nominee because he was an ethnic Serb. "I never said that," Grlić Radman said, calling Milanović's claims "empty talk" and "base insinuations".

Grlić Radman said that ambassadors were a priority to him. "We have three important positions - Paris, Vilnius, and the Vatican, and they need to be filled. This will also be discussed" at the Defence and National Security Council meeting, he added.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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