Friday, 20 May 2022

President: It's Time to Draw Up Final Balance on Benefits from EU Membership

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović, who on Friday attended ceremonies celebrating the Day of the City of Zabok, said Croatia should now draw up a final balance on its 10-year-long EU membership and see what benefits it has had.

"Now is the right time after our first ten years of the EU membership, marked by our hopes, expectations, anticipations, premonitions, joys, and frustrations, to draw up a final balance sheet and see what has been good and what is not good for us."

As for the absorption of EU funds, Milanović said that Croatia was still at the bottom.

The president called for permanent attentiveness in defining and identifying Croatia's interests.

I say this in order to introduce "creative restlessness" necessary for progress, said Milanović.

"This is not the time for revolutions and big decisions. This is the time for us to exercise permanent attentiveness in defining and identifying our interests," said Milanović.

In the coming period and in the years to come, Croatian politicians should observe what is going on around us, what our interests are and how much progress we make, and whether we are coming closer to the most prosperous countries in the European Union, said Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

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.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Milanović Sees Constitutional Court's Decision as Coup D'Etat

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Monday that the Constitutional Court's ruling on the Bridge party's two referendum questions was "trampling on the Constitution and an act of a coup d'etat!".

Earlier on Monday, the Constitutional Court concluded that the questions in the two referendum petitions launched by the opposition Bridge party - to abolish mandatory COVID passes and transfer the powers of the national COVID response team to Parliament - failed the test of constitutionality. 

"What these ten judges did today is a coup d'etat. That court needs to be abolished by a referendum so they can see what the will of the people means when 400,000 people consciously sign a petition. They dared check the mental state and sobriety of 400,000 Croatian citizens who clearly called for amendments to the Constitution," President Milanović said in the town Petrinja.

Milanović recalled that former President Ivo Josipović gathered constitutional experts in 2015 to recommend changes to the Constitution and that one of them was that the notion of epidemic should be entered into the Constitution.

The current president added that today that issue is no longer relevant because the epidemic has passed.

"The Constitutional Court does not have the right to question the constitutionality of the question to amend the Constitution if conditions stipulated by Articles 86 and 87, paragraph 3 are met regarding the number of signatures. That has been met! The Constitutional Court needs to be informed of that. Anyone who requests the opinion is violating the Constitution and that is the parliament belonging to the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) ," said Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Leaders of 3 Minor Croat Parties Support Milanović's Policy for Croats in BiH

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The leaders of three Croat parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Monday supported President Zoran Milanović's policy considering the issues burdening Croats in that country, including his idea to block Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO unless the election law in BiH is amended.

Earlier on Monday Milanović called on representatives of Croats in BiH to clearly state if they agree with his policy so that he can continue pursuing it.

"I support President Milanović's policy and call on institutions in Croatia to help in finding a solution to the Croat issue in BiH and to take all the necessary steps, regardless of how difficult they may be," the leader of the HDZ 1990, Ilija Cvitanović told the Bild.ba web news portal.

He added that this was a 'historic moment' for Croats in BiH and that it has to be utilized.

The leader of HSS BiH, Mario Karamatić posted on Facebook that he can see "the point, interest and advantage' in what Milanović is doing and asked that he continued doing so.

"Mr. President, please do not give up from us too, like many others who have done so for whatever reason," Karamatić wrote.

Leader of the Republican Party Slaven Raguž said that "over the past 15 days, Zoran Milanović has done more to internationalize the Croat issue in BiH than HDZ has in the past 20 years."

Milanović has been repeating for days that Croatia should block Finland and Sweden's accession to the alliance until the election law in BiH is amended in an attempt to prevent the more numerous Bosniaks to outvote Croats in that country at the October election.

However, Croatia's Prime Minister and leader of the HDZ, Andrej Plenković, has accused Milanović's rhetoric saying that it has damaged attempts for an agreement to be reached over the election reform.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Croatian President Congratulates French President on Re-Election

25 April 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Monday sent a letter to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, congratulating him on his re-election and noting that Croatia and France are "friends and allies."

In the second round of presidential elections on Sunday, Macron defeated his rival Marine Le Pen.

"I am confident that in your new term in office you will continue to work for the overall progress of your country and the wellbeing of all its citizens," Milanović wrote in the letter.

"Croatia and France are friends and allies and our countries share a number of interests and cooperate successfully both bilaterally and within the EU, NATO and other international organisations," the Croatian president added.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Milanović Says He's Honoured to Be Boycotted by Cabinet Ministers

ZAGREB, 21 April 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday he was honored to be boycotted by such people as cabinet ministers after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said his cabinet would sever all communication with the president for the rest of his term, except in writing, due to a stream of invective from him.

"Unfortunately, it so happened that I had to call them a gang, which they are because they have been sentenced for it," Milanović said during a visit to the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery in Zagreb.

Commenting on Plenković's statement that Milanović had done damage to Croatia's foreign policy, the president today wondered why Plenković, who, he said boasts of his own great influence in Brussels, had not used that influence for the benefit of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Milanović also retorted that by doing nothing for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are currently in an unenviable situation, PM Plenković committed high treason.

As for the commemoration in Jasenovac, Milanović said he would go there with his aides rather than with government officials, whom he accused of encouraging Ustasha-related outbursts and then pretending to be liberals.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Milanović Visits Technical Museum Exhibition About Women

ZAGREB, 8 March 2022 - On the occasion of International Women's Day, Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday visited the exhibition titled "Women and Technology – Exhibition of Gender Inclusive Themes", staged in Zagreb's Nikola Tesla Technical Museum.

The exhibition was opened on 13 November 2021 and will run through 15 March.

It is dedicated to the promotion of women who contributed to the development of science and technology.

"The exhibition made use of permanent exhibits from the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum and includes women that are not necessarily scientists, but professionally carried out work that is typically associated with men. Furthermore, the purpose is not to single out the contributions of individual female scientists and inventors, but to strive to give a broader perspective," according to a press release issued on the website of the Office of the Croatian President.

The exhibition presents information and the destiny of prominent women "who broke down socially imposed barriers and made a name for themselves in male stereotype occupations, and the anonymous women to whom science is indebted."

The exhibition shows that in the late 19th century and 20th century there was a total of 5,280 women employed in Croatia, with almost 2,000 being maids and 1,500 in trades and industry.

Between the two world wars, women accounted for 20% of those employed in industry. In textile industry, every second worker was woman, and most of those female workers were without any qualifications or with semi-qualifications and from rural areas.

In the 1970s they accounted for more than 30% employees in industry while the process of de-industrialisation in the 1990s first affected industries that employed women.

The idea of equal pay appeared in the mid-19th century, however, the pay gap still exists in corporations.

President Milanović noticed that similar pay gaps exist in the public sector too.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Milanović Talks with Chile President-Elect Boric

ZAGREB, 4 March (2022) - Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Friday spoke on the phone with Chile's President-elect Gabriel Boric on the centuries-old ties between the two countries and accepted Boric's invitation for a visit, Milanović's office said in a press release.

Milanović once again congratulated Boric on the election victory and regretted that he will not be able to attend the March 11 inauguration.

The two said the Croatian community plays an important role in the social and the political life of Chile. Thanks to that community, Croatia and Chile have had centuries-old close ties, they added.

Milanović and Boric exchanged views on the current situation in the world, with emphasis on the crisis in Europe.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Croatian President Says Sanctions Against Russia Necessary

ZAGREB, 25 Feb 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Friday that he supported the sanctions which the EU had decided to impose on Russia over its aggression on Ukraine, explaining that there was no other alternative, however, he does not believe that the sanctions will be efficient.

The sanctions are necessary, no other alternative has existed, he told a news conference, and then added that "unfortunately, sanctions do not work" and will not stop the Russian army from continuing to invade Ukraine.

After a month ago he stated that the crisis in Ukraine "is happening in the antechamber of Russia" and that "one must reach a deal that will take account of the security interests of Russia," which was interpreted as Milanović's understanding for Russia's demand that Ukraine should not apply for the membership of NATO, Milanović today said that Ukraine in NATO "is not a topic".

Had that been made clear in the past, perhaps, the situation would have been better now, however, all that is not the justification for Russia's aggression, he said.

Developments in Ukraine serious but not dangerous for Croatia

Concerning the interests of Croatia, the president said that the situation in Ukraine was serious but not dangerous for his country.

"This is an unpleasant situation, but you can stay calm," Milanović said at the news conference.

Concerning the proposal of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for convening a meeting of the Croatian Council for National Security on Friday before Milanović took part in the video summit meeting of NATO so as to inform the president about the relevant topics, Milanović said that one should wait for a few more days and see how the situation could unfold. Therefore he said that the session of the council could be later held.

"I do not need instructions before the (NATO) meeting. He (Plenković) and I are in permanent contact, and it is sufficient for the time being," Milanović said.

Milanović also said that for him the alliance's decision to schedule a video summit meeting does not show the necessary level of seriousness and insisted that NATO should have organised a face-to-face meeting in Brussels.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Croatian President Opposed to NATO's Enlargement to Ukraine

ZAGREB, 18 Feb 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Friday said that NATO should not expand to include Ukraine.

"While I'm the president, I will be opposed to NATO expanding anywhere," Milanović told reporters on Friday.

The statement, which is contrary to NATO's "open door policy", comes at a time when tensions between Russia, which has been amassing troops on the border with Ukraine, and Western countries, which are warning against a possible invasion of that country, are coming to the boil.

To withdraw its troops, Russia is asking, among other things, for guarantees that NATO will not expand to include Ukraine.

"I think that anyone advocating NATO's enlargement to Ukraine threatens also Croatian interests. We are in NATO and tomorrow someone could order our people to be deployed there," explained Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

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