Saturday, 20 March 2021

Committee Chair Says President Should Have Requested Constitutionality Review

ZAGREB, 20 March 2021 - The chair of the parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System, Dražen Bošnjaković (HDZ), on Saturday dismissed President Zoran Milanović's claim that the ruling HDZ party was obstructing changes in the judiciary.

"If anyone has introduced changes in the judiciary, that's the government led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković," Bošnjaković said, adding that numerous changes had been introduced and that a change at the helm of the Supreme Court alone did not mean a reform.

Milanović's statement was prompted by the parliament's decision on Friday to confirm the opinion of its Constitution and Standing Orders Committee that Speaker Gordan Jandroković did not make a mistake when he asked President Milanović to supplement his motion on the nomination of Zlata Đurđević as the Supreme Court president.

Asked if Milanović was in breach of the Constitution, Bošnjaković said that he believed he was because he did not respect the institution of public call, nor had he stated his opinion on the proposed candidates.

The issue drew public attention after Milanović decided not to nominate any of the three candidates who had applied for Supreme Court president after the State Judicial Council (DSV) advertised a public call.

Milanović said that his candidate, Zlata Đurđević, who did not participate in the public call, was a good choice, reiterating that the public call was not transparent and that he as the president had the power under the Constitution to nominate a candidate.

Bošnjaković said that the dispute regarding the appointment of the Supreme Court president did not make much sense and that the president should have submitted a request to check the constitutionality of the Courts Act, which stipulates the procedure of the appointment of the Supreme Court President, which some other people recently did.

"I am surprised by the opinion of some legal experts who claim that the president directly applies the Constitution," Bošnjaković said, wondering if this meant that he did not have to respect the law.

Asked if he expected applications for the post of Supreme Court president to be invited again, Bošnjaković said that it would be good to defuse tension and that there was time until 15 July, when the term of the current Supreme Court president expires.

Regarding the latest developments and claims that the HDZ was to blame for the situation in the judiciary and judges socializing with indictees, Bošnjaković replied, "What does the HDZ have to do with that?"

Judges are elected in an independent procedure, and the State Judicial Council decides about their appointment, and the HDZ most strongly condemns the conduct of some judges, he said.

"We want mechanisms to be launched so that they are prosecuted and so that eventually, if necessary, the most difficult decisions are made. This undermines trust in the judiciary, but there are mechanisms to counter and sanction that," he said.

There are around 1,700 judges in Croatia, and a vast majority of them do their job responsibly and conscientiously. At the same time, those who tarnish that reputation should be subjected to disciplinary proceedings within the DSV, Bošnjaković said in a comment on some judges having socialized with former Dinamo football club boss Zdravko Mamić, recently sentenced for siphoning money from the club, and businessman-turned-politician Željko Kerum from Split.

Judges socializing with persons against whom criminal proceedings are underway is unacceptable, Bošnjaković said.

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

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Milanovic: Croatia Must be Country with Great Climate Ambitions

ZAGREB, Dec 12, 2020 - Although it is a small country, Croatia must be a country with great climate ambitions, President Zoran Milanovic wrote on his Facebook account on Saturday, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement.

"The climate crisis is still our biggest challenge, and taking urgent and ambitious measures is the only guarantee for the preservation of health, progress and prosperity," the Croatian president writes.

In this context he called for great climate ambitions and for raising awareness of that climate protection and economic growth can go hand in hand.

The head of state also appealed for making courageous strides towards energy transition.

"In the years to come we can make Croatia a leader in energy transition in southeast Europe."

I see the climate crisis as a test to the credibility, humanity and solidarity which we must pass, since the future of all of us is green or we will not have it, he added.

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Friday, 4 December 2020

President Ready to Get Vaccinated in Public to Show Importance of Vaccination

ZAGREB, December 4, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic thinks that all Croatian citizens should get vaccinated against COVID-19 and is himself ready to do so in public to show the importance of vaccination, his spokesman said on Friday.

"President Milanovic is of the view that everyone should get vaccinated. He counts on civil responsibility and awareness, and is himself ready to get vaccinated in public to show by example the importance of vaccination," presidential spokesman Nikola Jelic said in response to Hina's query.

Milanovic said on November 24 that, if necessary, he will be the first to get vaccinated because it is important that Croatian citizens understand that vaccination is good and necessary, and that in that way we protect ourselves collectively, Jelic recalled.

Earlier in the day, the members of the national COVID-19 response team also expressed their readiness to get vaccinated in public.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Croatian President Says we All Should Get Vaccinated

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that the he was in favour of vaccinating the whole population against COVID-19, and that he counted on principles of public mindedness in that regard.

Before the ceremony of opening an exhibition in Zagreb's Museum of Arts and Crafts, Milanovic was asked by reporters to comment on the efficiency of vaccines that are currently being developed against COVID-19.

In response to media reports on that topic, Milanovic said that he trusted the results published after the trials of anti-COVID vaccines in world laboratories.

"I trust that. I get vaccinated when it is necessary, my children get vaccinated," Milanovic said adding that no one should circumvent that.

"In my mind, everyone should get vaccinated, and I count on public mindedness," the president said underscoring that vaccinations have saved millions of lives in the last 70 years.

He said that he did not know the government's position on the issue.

The government is going to procure nearly three million jabs. Whether the vaccination will be mandatory, this is a very serious topic, Milanovic said.

He said that he had raised this issue at Monday's session of the National Security Council (VNS).

Commenting on that VNS session, Milanovic said that it "was o.k." considering his premonitions.

Asked whether the relations between him and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic were mended, the president said that one should not look at that personally.

As for the national COVID-19 crisis management team, Milanovic said that the body "gets legally rather curved" , however, he underscored, that he had not criticised any of the measures adopted by that body. The president added that he had criticised the situation in which this level of measures had been adopted without "a green light" that is approval from the parliament.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Croatian Ex-President Faces Long Recovery After Surgery

September 11, 2020 - Today, the Croatian media has reported that the former Croatian President and the current International Olympic Committee member, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, underwent surgery on her spinal cord on Friday.

Jutarnji list reports that the surgery has been a complete success and that the Croatian ex-president will be released from hospital on Saturday. It is expected that her full recovery will take several months. 

Although it's obvious that nobody wants to spend time in hospitals, especially so during an infectious disease epidemic, the former president obviously had reasons to undergo surgery. She underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with instrumentation on her C4 and C5 vertebrae.

It's a kind of surgery that releases the pressure put on the nerve roots and/or spinal cord by a herniated disc or bone fragments. The disc gets removed during the surgery through an incision made in the front of the neck, thus releasing the pressure created by a slipped disc, as they remove the pressure surface. The space between the bony vertebrae is empty after a disc is removed. To prevent the vertebrae from collapsing and rubbing together, a spacer bone graft is inserted to fill the open disc space. The graft serves as a bridge between the two vertebrae to create a spinal fusion. The bone graft and vertebrae are fixed in place with metal plates and screws.

We'd like to wish the former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović a speedy and successful recovery! 

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Monday, 16 December 2019

Croatian President Will Debate Presidential Candidates Tomorrow

The incumbent Croatian president has accepted the HRT invitation to debate with the other presidential candidates. We have learned that HDZ candidate, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will nevertheless come face to face with the other presidential candidates in a debate, which is being coordinated by HRT (Croatian Radio Television) tomorrow night December 17, 2019 at 21:05h.

Grabar-Kitarović confirmed the news and stated that "each candidate who has collected 10 thousand signatures must have an equal opportunity and no one should be underestimated or favored before the first election round takes place."

All Eleven Croatian Candidates Expected to Attend

According to unofficial reports, all eleven presidential candidates are expected to show up at HRT studios on Tuesday at 21:05h. The debate will be televised on HRT1, as reported by Jutarnji List/Zadarski on December 16, 2019.

The eleven presidential candidates are:

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović – Current President | HDZ
Zoran Milanović – Former Prime Minister | SDP
Miroslav Škoro – Folk singer and former Croatian Parliament Representative | Independent
Mislav Kolakušić – Former Judge and EU Parliament Representative | Independent
Dario Juričan – Legal name: Milan Bandić. Filmmaker and Performance Artist | Independent
Dejan Kovač – Economist and Princeton graduate | HSLS
Dalija Orešković – Former Chair Conflicts of Interest Croatian Parliament | Independent
Ivan Pernar – Member of Croatian Parliament | Party of Ivan Pernar
Anto Đapić – Former Osijek Mayor and Former Member of Croatian Parliament | DESNO
Nedjeljko Babić – Regional party candidate | HSSČKŠ
Katarina Peović – Former member of Zagreb assembly | Workers’ Front

Milanović Sought Guarantee for President’s Appearance

Earlier on Monday, SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović spoke about the debate, saying that he had sent an official memo to HRT seeking a guarantee that the current president would appear - otherwise he would not participate.

“Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović will participate in the debate organized by HRT on December 17, 2019 if President of the Republic, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running as a candidate and defending her term, agrees to participate in the debate. If HRT, as organizer of the debate, can confirm and guarantee the arrival of President Grabar-Kitarović, Zoran Milanović is also ready to participate. Please confirm that she will attend,” the memo reads.

“However, we are still waiting for HTV's response. The day before the much-publicized debate, they don't want to reveal on public television whether Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is coming to the debate? Give us an answer and let us know because we’ll continue to think that HTV is negotiating with the HDZ behind our backs. You're not going to bring Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović through the back door, in the dark, to Prisavlje (location of HRT headquarters), are you? We expect a response by 10am on Tuesday,” Milanović wrote on Facebook.

A response from Grabar-Kitarović's headquarters has arrived in the meantime.

"Finally, we were able to get a confirmation that the current president is coming to the debate. I'll respond. I know what I've been doing for the last 10 years and I know I'll be the target of criticism for those who want to celebrate through the night. My goal is for a normal Croatia and it starts on January 5th," read his Facebook update on December 16, 2019.

Earlier Debates Abandoned Due to President’s Non-participation

Zoran Milanović and Miroslav Škoro had refused to participate in debates among the four most popular candidates, which other TV stations had tried to coordinate, since Grabar-Kitarović chose not to participate. As she did not consent, planning for those debates failed. Mislav Kolakušić was the only candidate who had given his consent.

Be sure and watch the debate tomorrow December 17, 2019 on HRT1 at 21:05h. Follow our Politics page for updates on the 2019/2020 presidential elections.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

VIDEO: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and UFC Champ Stipe Miocic Face Off in Cleveland

September 21, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic set aside some time to spar with UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic in Cleveland.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's visit to the United States began in Cleveland, Ohio, where the fourth largest Croatian community in the United States lives.

However, what Croatians know most about Cleveland is that it is home to UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic, a mixed martial artist, part-time firefighter, and the son of Croatian immigrants. 

It is only fitting, then, that the Croatian president made sure she set aside some time for a one-off training session with a top sparring partner - Cleveland's most famous Croat - Stipe Miocic, reports HRT.

Thus, Miocic hosted the Croatian president at the gym where he has spent the last 20 years training and introduced her to his family members and his team.

Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 08.26.16.png

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Stipe Miocic even exchanged gifts! The president was given boxing gloves with Stipe’s signature, while Kolinda gifted the UFC champ a Croatian football jersey featuring Stipe’s name. 

Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 08.27.15.png

Stipe Miocic demonstrated some martial arts moves to the president, who proved to be a very enthusiastic student.

The training was followed by Croatian and American journalists, to whom both the President and Stipe Miocic spoke about the beauties of Croatia. The president asked Stipe Miocic to tell the Croatian youth the importance of sports and healthy living.

Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 08.26.26.png

Finally, Kolinda and Stipe faced off - and the extraordinary effort by the Croatian president sent Stipe to the ground! 

View this post on Instagram

Društvo pobjednika! ??? @stipemiocic

A post shared by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (@predsjednicarh) on

The president then went on to visit the Cleveland Clinic, one of America's best hospitals, headed by Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic from Zagreb.

You can view all the videos on HRT here

Recall, the Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) is hosting their fourth annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio from Sept. 19 to 22, 2019. The ACAP conference will bring together professionals from all facets of the U.S. and international professional community—such as diplomats, scientists, artists, engineers, medical professionals, attorneys, journalists, business executives, social media specialists, accountants, and a delegation from Croatia’s Chamber of Commerce.

Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia, gave the keynote address at the gala dinner on Friday, Sept. 20.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

One Year On: a Tale of 2 Croatian President Kolindas by The Guardian

July 16, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic makes international headlines exactly a year after her exploits in Russia. A symbol of the change in Croatia from last year's euphoria. 

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Something feels very wrong. 


A year ago, Croatia was throwing a party like no other, and even though the national team had eliminated my native England in the semi-final, I could not help get caught of in the euphoria of the moment. 

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic became one of the most recognised faces on the planet and searches for 'Croatian president bikini' skyrocketed (you can find out why here) as she hugged the players in the pouring rain in Moscow as President Putin looked on from under his sole umbrella. 

And while her performance in Russia (like most things in this country) was met with a mixed reaction back home, President Kolinda was an international hit, however, and The Guardian named her the real star of the World Cup

And just when you thought nothing could eclipse those incredible scenes, the next day Croatia did it again. Some 550,000 fans packed the streets of Zagreb to welcome home their heroes. 

Quite incredible. 

The tiny nation which dared to dream had won tens of million hearts all over the globe. Tourism chiefs were salivating at the benefits which would come from this unexpected gift. A few days later, Croatian National Tourist Board director, Kristjan Stanicic, provided an upbeat assessment of the tourism dividend for the 2019 season.

It was great to be alive, and Croatia was definitely the place to be.

And then... nothing. 

Things started to change. The football heroes of Moscow did not last long, and Croatia lost to England in the Nations Cup just three months later. 

Despite Stanicic's upbeat assessment, media and social media reports of the 2019 season is that it is heading for disaster - Croatia certainly feels a lot emptier, and the Ministry of Tourism decided to take their award-winning, transparent tourism statistics software away from public scrutiny to delay the inevitable bad news. 

Corruption scandals dominated the domestic scene, with two ministers resigning in the last couple of weeks, with more potentially to follow. 

It just did not feel quite like the tiny country which dared to dream just a year later. 

But a year to the day since Kolinda was hailed as the real hero of the World Cup, she was making the headlines again in The Guardian - this time for very different reasons, as you can read in The Guardian piece - Croatian police use violence to push back migrants, president admits

It doesn't quite give off the same vibes as that crazy night in Russia, does it?

A bit like many things in Croatia this summer - something is not quite right. 

When is the next World Cup again?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Croatian President Awards World Cup Finalists in Zagreb

The Croatian president, who was one of the biggest fans at the World Cup in Russia this summer where Croatia became finalists, presented the Croatia national team with medals for their contribution to sports and the promotion of Croatia.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Traffic Chaos and Protests – Serbian President Visits Zagreb

If at all possible, try and avoid going to the city centre in Zagreb with your car today and tomorrow.

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