Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Croatian President Extends Condolences to Turkish Counterpart Over Wildfires

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has offered his condolences to Turkey, where forest fires have led to deaths and material damage, and invited his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Croatia.

I spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this evening and he thanked Croatia for sending the Canadair CL415 plane and two crews to help put out wildfires in Turkey. I extended my condolences to him and the entire Turkish nation for the suffering of people in the wildfires," Milanovic wrote in his Facebook post on Monday evening.

He said that sending the firefighting airplane to Turkey was a token of friendly and partner-like relations between the two countries, saying that the decision to send the plane was made together by the Croatian government and him as the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces.

"I invited president Erdogan to officially visit Croatia so that we can continue to build and develop friendly relations between our two countries.

Turkey is suffering the worst fires in at least a decade. The fires in Turkey began last week and now threaten the cities of Antalya, Bodrum and Marmaris, where hundreds of tourists and residents were evacuated from their hotels and homes.

Eight people have been killed by the fires.

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

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Croatian President Zoran Milanović Meets With EU Military Committee Chairman

ZAGREB, 27 July, 2021 - Croatian President and Armed Forces Commander in Chief Zoran Milanović met on Tuesday with General Claudio Graziano, the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, the President's Office said in a press release.

Graziano thanked Milanović for the participation of the Croatian Armed Forces in EU-led missions and operations.

They talked about the Strategic Compass document which is expected to give the EU clear security and defence guidelines in the coming period.

The talks also focused on battle groups, operations and missions led by the EU, cooperation between the EU and NATO, and the development of the Union's defence and security capabilities, the press release said.

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

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Economy Minister Ćorić on EC Plan to Reduce Gas Emissions

ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić on Wednesday spoke of an informal EU meeting of environment ministers in Slovenia on new legislation on climate and the European Commission's recommendation to reduce greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.

He explained at a press conference that this refers to 12 legislative proposals from various areas that are being considered by EU member states in reference to the set objectives.

Ćorić said that this was an important step towards strengthening the EU as a leader in the fight against climate change.

Tax on carbon is a novelty - legislation is very ambitious

Ćorić explained that the new legislation envisages a carbon tax that should protect production in the EU compared to countries that export to the EU but are not encompassed by EU standards and mechanisms.

We are aware that if nothing is done in the next ten years, the potential costs of the damage could be much higher than the costs of transforming economies, he said.

With reference to financing that transformation, Ćorić said that Croatia has more than HRK 60 billion available over the next ten years to be spent in various commercial segments to reduce carbon emissions.

He underscored that the new legislation is very ambitious and a step towards Europe's economic transformation.

Price hikes to be eased with absorbed funds

He said that transition is a huge challenge and is being disputed by some but that it is also a huge opportunity for economies like Croatia through generous allocations of EU funds.

He recalled that Croatia's energy sector has a very small portion reliant on carbon, considering the significant share of hydro-power and potential for renewable sources.

Referring to the announcement for the construction of a new block at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) in Slovenia, Ćorić said that that project could take up to a decade to be achieved, adding that Croatia has still not been officially informed of that project.

He recalled that obligations existed under international conventions for projects of that nature with a cross-border impact. Croatia has been advised of extending the lifespan of NEK to 2043.

He underscored that NEK is a stable source of energy and believes that it will continue to be so. He added that his ministry is interested in seeing more formal proposals to see whether Croatia would enter into a partnership with Slovenia regarding the construction of a new block at the Krško plant.

He added that Croatia was monitoring the situation with the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary because Croatia imports 30 to 45% of energy needs from abroad, depending on the hydrological situation.

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

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Croatian Defence Minister and Chief-of-Staff on Official Visit to USA

ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić and the Croatian Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff , Admiral Robert Hranj are on an official visit to the USA to mark the 25th anniversary of cooperation with the Minnesota National Guard, as part of the State Partnership Programme, the Defence Ministry reported on Wednesday.

This is Minister Banožić's first official visit to the United States since stepping into office.

Banožić and Hranj visited the Sikorsky helicopter factory in Connecticut on Monday where they met with the company's executives and president Paul Lemmo.

The company is a subsidiary of the Lockhead Martin company which also producers UH-60 Black Hawk and SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. 

The Defence Ministry (MORH) points out the importance of military and technological cooperation with the USA which includes donations and the procurement of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the armed forces. During the meeting, Minister Banožić said that a US donation in 2019 was an important support to Croatia's national policy aimed at transitioning to equipment originating in the West.

"After that donation, we decided to procure two more Black Hawk helicopters and have allocated $85 million for that purpose. Our ambition is to continue developing this investment because, being a reliable and credible member of the NATO alliance, the transition to Western technology is the only possible and correct path," Banožić said. He expressed his satisfaction that at the moment Croatia's military pilots and aviation technicians are attending various training courses in the US, specialising in particular on the  Black Hawk helicopter.

"We also have two pilots gaining additional flying hours in Minnesota in cooperation and assistance of the Minnesota National Guard. This is important for us, not only in the context of buying equipment but in the context of security because we will obtain the necessary support in training," added Banožić.

Black Hawk helicopters can be used to support civilian institutions - in fighting wildfires, search and rescue missions, and emergency medical transport.

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

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

European Comission Publishes Rule of Law Report on Croatia

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - A series of alleged ethical breaches and disciplinary violations by judges led to proceedings against them, public procurement procedures remain a high-risk area for corruption, and lawsuits against journalists give rise to concern, the European Commission says in a report on the rule of law in Croatia.

The Commission on Tuesday published its second annual report on the rule of law in the EU member states, a new instrument that should help in early detection and prevention of problems relating to the rule of law.

The report covers four key areas: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media freedom and pluralism, and institutional issues relating to checks and balances.

The Commission noted that the report only provides a description of the situation without giving any recommendations and is not designed as a ranking. Its purpose is to raise public awareness and promote open discussion between the member states on rule of law issues both at national and at EU level.

The justice system

The Commission says that the Croatian justice system has seen improvements in reducing length of proceedings and backlogs, but that further improvements are still needed to address serious efficiency and quality challenges.

"The ongoing process for appointing the new Supreme Court President has given rise to controversy and to repeated disparaging public statements against judges", and "the Constitutional Court stressed the importance of cooperation between state authorities" in addressing different views on the appointment of the Supreme Court President.

"The State Judicial Council made proposals to strengthen its role in selecting judges – an issue already raised in the 2020 Rule of Law Report."

Without naming any names, the report says that "a series of alleged ethical breaches and disciplinary violations by judges led to proceedings before the State Judicial Council and Judges’ Councils, as well as to a criminal investigation."

"The level of perceived judicial independence remains very low. Shortages in human resources of the State Judicial Council and the State Attorney’s Councils remain, even if some limited reinforcements have been allocated to verify the newly published asset declarations of judges and state attorneys," the Commission says.

The anti-corruption framework

The reports notes that a new Strategy on the Prevention of Corruption for 2021-2030 is in the public consultation process, envisaging the strengthening of the legal framework on prevention of conflict of interest, which is currently being drafted. Codes of Ethics for members of the Government and for members of Parliament are still missing, while “revolving doors” are only partially regulated.

"Detailed rules on lobbying activities remain to be introduced. While changes to the framework of political immunity of the members of Government were announced, the legislative action has yet to follow. Public procurement procedures remain a high-risk area for corruption, and several cases have been discovered due to reporting by whistleblowers. The prosecution and investigation of high-level corruption continues, but due to protracted proceedings convictions are often delayed."

Media freedom

"Croatia is updating its media legislation to transpose the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, with the revision of the Electronic Media Act to be adopted still in 2021. Concerns about the political independence of the Agency for Electronic Media persist," the Commission says.

"Croatia has a solid framework on transparency of media ownership information and envisages further improvements. While state advertising is partly regulated by the Electronic Media Act, stakeholders report it often undermines the political independence of media outlets which are economically dependent on such funding, notably at local level.

"A legal framework for the protection of journalists is in place, but they continue to face threats. In particular, the high number of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) targeting journalists continues to be a serious concern. Access to information is ensured by law, but delays in the processing of requests from journalists persist."

Checks and balances

The Commission says that although public consultations are embedded in legislative procedures, stakeholders perceive citizen participation to be rather formalistic than substantive.

It notes that Croatia did not declare a state of emergency, and COVID-19 pandemic measures were based on the twice-mended law regarding infectious diseases. "The Constitutional Court has reviewed these measures, finding that they were compatible with the Constitution and also ruled that Parliament should find ways to guarantee its functions during the pandemic."

"The People’s Ombudsperson’s access to the information required to undertake investigations
needs further improvement. The National Plan for Creating and Enabling Environment for
the Civil Society Development 2021-2027 remains in drafting phase since 2016 – an issue
raised in the 2020 Rule of law Report," the Commission says.

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

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Croatia FM Grlić Radman For Shedding Light on Fate of Missing, Killed Bugojno Croats

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday he expected light to be shed on the fate of missing and killed Croats from Bugojno, central Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he laid wreaths and attended Mass in a church destroyed in the 1990s war.

"It's very important to shed light on the dark past so we can live together, so we can open a new chapter of coexistence. It's important to shed light on the past, on the fate of the missing, the killed. Their families are still alive," Grlić Radman said in Kandija.

Croats in Bugojno are commemorating the 28th anniversary of suffering during the war with the Bosniak Army of BiH. In the summer of 1993, about 16,000 were driven out and about 300 were killed, while 15 top military and political officials, who were captured, taken to concentration camps and then killed, are still being traced.

Tomorrow, the search for their bodies will continue with excavations at Rostova, where the remains of four missing Bugojno Croats were exhumed last year.

In Kandija, Grlić Radman laid a wreath for the Croat victims of the Homeland and other wars.

He said Bugojno was a test for all in BiH in "bringing back the spirit of unity, tolerance, multi-ethnicity."

The minister said it was sad that 16,000 Croats lived in Bugojno before the 1990s war and only 2,500 today.

"It's necessary to create the prerequisites for their return. The Croatian government and all its institutions will help with appropriate crossborder cooperation projects and through EU funds. I'm sure the Croats of Bugojno will be able to return home and that the Croatian identity will be cultivated and shown here again, while respecting all other faiths and nations as it used to be."

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

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Jehan Arulpragasam New World Bank Country Manager for Croatia and Slovenia

ZAGREB, 14 July, 2021 - Economist Jehan Arulpragasam has been appointed the new World Bank Country Manager for Croatia and Slovenia, the World Bank Office in Croatia announced in a statement on Wednesday.

In this position, he will lead the World Bank Office in Zagreb and oversee the World Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational and knowledge program in both countries.

Mr. Arulpragasam is an economist with 35 years of experience working in international development in over 40 countries world-wide. His work has focused on inclusive growth and human development, covering a range of issues from macro-economic and fiscal policy to structural sector reform and social policy.

The World Bank's current program in Croatia focuses on mitigating the economic and social impact of COVID-19, post-earthquake reconstruction, transport, justice, innovation, business environment, land administration, science and technology, and economic development of the Pannonian region.

The World Bank has been a partner to Croatia for over 27 years. During this period, the Bank has supported more than 50 projects, worth almost US$5 billion, produced numerous studies, and provided technical assistance to help strengthen institutions and support the design of policies and strategies, the statement said.

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

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Europe Direct Rijeka Information Centre Opens

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - The Europe Direct Rijeka information centre which will provide information about opportunities and advantages available to citizens in European Union member states, was officially opened on Tuesday in the premises of the Porin - Rijeka Development Agency (RRA).

Europe Direct Rijeka will be a direct link between citizens and EU institutions, or rather, an extended arm of the European Commission (EC) and it will provide support through a direct flow of information regarding opportunities and advantages that are available to EU citizens, and that means local residents in Rijeka and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

The centre aims at bringing Europe closer to the people in the field through various activities and to motivate the people to get involved in the debate on the future of the EU. The activities will include visits to schools, presentations, panel discussions about the EU and publishing various official publications.

 The centre also plans a partnership with local media outlets, cooperation with other EU networks, raising awareness about sensitive issues for the EU, and the like.

The project was approved by the European Commission - Europe Direct for the period 2021 - 2025.

The centre began operating on 1 May as part of the Europe Direct network in Croatia and the New Generation Europe Direct information centres in the EU, and are managed by the EC.

All of the centre's services will be free of charge for all citizens but it is not intended to interpret or provide legal advice on EU legislation.

The head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Ognian Zlatev, said that the Rijeka centre has increased the European network of centres which comprise more than 420 such centres and it will bring EU citizens closer, inform them and enable them to make their own assessments.

He underscored that the network is important so that citizens throughout the EU can experience the EU in their own cities and counties. We want to hear citizens' opinions about the EU. How they see the future and to be better informed of its policies and initiatives, said Zlatev.

Croatia has shown that it can be a leader in certain segments, he said and concluded that the objective is a common one - a clean and more beautiful Croatia and Europe for future generations.

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

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

President Zoran Milanović Says Outvoting Croats in BiH Will "Come to an End"

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday said that outvoting Croats in elections for the collective presidency and parliament in Bosnia and Herzegovina will come to an end and that Bosniak politicians are to blame for the "misfortune in BiH".

The Bosniak member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, said on Monday that Croatian pesident  was behaving like "a rude guest in someone else's house." Milanović is on a working visit to BiH and stopped in Vitez and Mostar, but not the capital of Sarajevo. Džaferović insisted that Milanović only came to BiH to cause problems and incidents.

"No, no. They are the cause of political instability, nervousness and misfortune in BiH. They are doing exactly what Haris Silajdžić warned about, 15 years ago when he said 'if you continue like that, you will make the Croats abhor this country that is their homeland'," Milanović told reporters in Livno.

Commenting on Džaferović's statement that he needn't come if he was going to behave like that, Milanović said that he was a guest in BiH to those people who welcomed him." "My hosts are the democratic authorities and the Franciscans," said Milanović.

During the three-day working visit to BiH, Milanović visited the towns mainly populated by Croats:  Vitez, Mostar, Ljubuški, Tomislavgrad and Livno. He visited the local Franciscan monasteries and said that the biggest gratitude for preserving the Croatian heritage went to the local friars.

Milanović said that the biggest problem is the outvoting of Croats and imposing Željko Komšić as the Croat member of the tripartite presidency who was voted in with Bosniak votes as well as attempts to achieve the same thing in the upper house - the House of People's in the country's parliament.

"The seats designated for Croats in the House of Peoples are being taken by people who aren't Croats or are lying that they are and they are elected by another ethnic group. That is the same template as in the presidency. The same story. And that has to come to an end," he underscored.

Asked why then he attended an SDP BiH election rally in 2010 and supported Komšić, Milanović said he was "tricked." That isn't a change in policy but rather a policy of maturing and realising someone's false nature. I haven't changed, but they are despicable," said Milanović.

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

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Total Croatia in Ukrainian: Word of Support by Former Ukrainian Diplomat and Writer Jurij Lisenko

July 12, 2021 - As the Total Croatia site offers translations on all things Croatian in various languages, former diplomat and a famous Ukrainian writer Jurij Lisenko gave his opinion on the Ukrainian translations of the articles. Check out the video, acquired by Ivor Kruljac and edited by Jose Alfonso Cussianovich.

The tourist season is underway, and the goal is to get tourists from all over the world while providing safety in challenging times of corona – both for locals and visitors. As TCN reported, despite the tourist season in 2021 already being 58% better than that of 2020, it also seems that even with predicted Croatian tourism growth for this year, 2019 levels are very far.

With these predictions, Croatian tourists boards should do as much as possible in informing and promoting Croatia to have the best possible outcome. But given that doesn't always work out for the best, TCN is here to help.

Total Croatia: TCN's Multilingual brother

Well, more precisely, not TCN but rather TC or Total Croatia, if you will, the sister site that explains Croatia in detail. TC offers you in-depth articles to explain Croatia from head to toe: What you need to know about Croatia, how to come and travel around the country, detailed views on Croatian destinations, and info on everything you can see and do during your stay.

In addition, articles are translated to various European and world languages!

Word of support from an established Ukrainian writer

One of these languages is Ukrainian and in an effort to see how we did, we reached out to a Ukrainian writer Jurij Lisenko.

„Regarding the text itself, it is really well written. It contains very significant specific business information on various aspects, such as finding apartments or finding jobs for foreigners. At the same time, it is written lively, objective, bit ironic, but with great love for Croatia“, said Lisenko commenting on the Ukrainian translation for the article „Living In Croatia“.  

Check out the video to see his verdict for yourselves. 

Jurij Lisenko sends a special greeting to Total Croatia News and Total Croatia from Ukraine.

Famous Ukrainian writer helping Croatian writers

In a pool of quality Ukrainian writers, Jurij Lisenko is particularly interesting, not just for his excellent writing, but also as he was a former diplomatic advisor at Ukrainian Embassy in Zagreb.

As Akademija Art wrote, Jurij Lisenko was born on May 9, 1958 in Kyiv. Educated in Slavic languages, he lectured the Ukrainian language as well Serbian-Croatian in the Journalist faculty in Kyiv from 1980 to 1997. He also published over 20 scientific papers on philology and is a known poet publishing under the name of Jurko Pozajak. In 1998 he moved to diplomacy and worked for the Ukrainian Embassy in two terms (1998-2002 and 2013-2017), and also in Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, from 2004 to 2008. He was also a speechwriter for Ukrainian president Viktor Juščenko and continued to work for Ukrainian's Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2017.  

Lisenko captured the attention of the Croatian public when along with his daughter Daria, he made new Croatian words, and the two co-authored a book of poetry for kids „Ide Svašta!“ (Everything coming).

As Večernji List reported back in 2016, their book was published back in 2002, and an expanded edition was printed in 2014.

Jurij_Lisenko_at_exhibition_opening.jpg

Jurij Lisenko reading his poetry at the exhibition opening of Ukrainian folklore "Petrikivski Rospis" in Samobor screenshot / Gradska knjižnica Samobor 

Apart from that, the Lisenko family was very active and beloved on the Croatian poetry scene, and apart from presenting Ukrainian culture in Croatia, Jurij also introduced Croatian writers to Ukrainians.  

The best instance of that is the Ukrainian translation of Croatian slam poet and writer Žarko Jovanovski and his short story collection „Tales of Lenin and Stalin“.

In addition, the good cooperation of the Ukrainian and Croatian writers is evident in an international literary magazine, Alternator, published by Sisak's Association For Alternative Culture, where Lisenko is a member of the editorial staff.

And the relevance of Lisenko as a partner for promoting Croatian writers in Ukraine was perhaps best described by the head of Edicije Božičević publishing house, Josip Ivanović.

„For a number of years, I knew a poet, diplomat, and genius Jurij Lisenko who I deeply respect. He is known in Ukraine more or less as an Avant Gard poet. And he published his book a long time ago. We walked around Lviv, and when there is a Lviv Book Fair, there are quite a lot of people and the atmosphere is as on a festival. Students approached him asking him to sign a book that he, as a poet, published 20 or 30 years ago. I never saw anything like that in Zagreb“, recalled Ivanović for Podcast Sekstant.

This shows not only that Ukrainians in general respect literature more than Croatians, but it is evident Lisenko is quite the rock star on the scene.

„I was very happy to see on Total Croatia a text on possibilities of foreigners in Croatia and that it was translated to 16 or 15 languages, including Ukrainian. I was very pleased with that. This means that connections between Ukraine and Croatia are significantly stronger. Indeed, in the last 10-15 years, Croatia became a favorite holiday spot for Ukrainians“, commented Lisenko.

Ukraine and Croatia – similar and friendly

With some differences between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavian communist practices, both Croatia and Ukraine share the same history of denied independence under a multi-national regime.

Đuro vidmarović, Croatian writer and former diplomat, told Laudato TV how the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman appointed him as a Croatian Ambassador to Ukraine and how he was afraid as he wasn't sure what will await him there. But in the end, Ukraine for Vidmarović became a great topic and a happy period of his life. đuro_vidmarović.jpg

Former Croatian ambassador in Ukraine and writer Đuro Vidmarović, screenshot / LaudatoTV

„After I very quickly learned Ukrainian, a big area of Ukrainian culture and heritage opened up to me“, said Vidmarović adding that he met a lot of good colleagues there, particularly writers. As it was his mission to present Croatia, he also learned a lot and remained fascinated with the country of his mission.

„Ukraine is big, huge, contradictory, magical, unique, with a culture that makes it impossible for someone to stay indifferent. You come to Kyiv, and you see the Saint Sophia Cathedral from the 12th century with beautiful frescoes and architecture. My god, someone had to build it, had a sense for it. It was a civilization stronger from the majority of European countries at the time“, said Vidmarović for Laudato TV mesmerized with Ukraine he researches even to this day.  

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Breath-taking view of Kyiv © Pixabay

As Lisenko acknowledged, Croatia is also very famous in Ukraine too.

„Ukrainians discovered Croatia for themselves. Croatia is a beautiful country. You know that for yourselves. But, for Ukrainians, it is particularly pleasant in Croatia that they don't feel like strangers. But, for Ukrainians is a particular joy that languages are similar and Ukrainians, after several days, start to orient themselves in the language, to understand a bit, and can communicate with Croatians in cafes, restaurants, shops, streets, anywhere“, explained Lisenko for TCN.

He added that a lot of Ukrainians also come to Croatia searching for a job. While this may not be the best thing from the perspective of the Ukrainian economy (same as Croatians leaving Croatia isn't great for Croatian economic interests), Lisenko recognizes that the trend „also brings our two nations close“.

 Discover Croatia in your native language

Apart from the article Lisenko commented on, Життя в Хорватії 2021: Витрати, дозволи, стиль життя та зустрічі з людьми, Ukrainians can also follow latest reports on COVID-19 in Croatia as well as 10 речей, які роблять Хорватію найкращою країною (or for English audience, 10 Things Croatia Does Better than Anywhere Else).

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View of Total Croatia site and languages

So far, only these three articles are available in Ukrainian, but no doubt the future will bring more to make Croatia more accessible to beloved Ukrainian visitors.

Currently, TC counts 15 languages with the most translated content from English: Croatian, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Chinese (both traditional „zh-Hant“ and simplified "zh-Hans"), Slovenian, Czech, Romanian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Norwegian (Bokmål), and Russian.

If you want to learn more about diplomatic relations of Croatia, and everything regarding diplomacy and Croatia, check out TCN's series "Friends of Croatia" by Ivor Kruljac.

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

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