Monday, 22 November 2021

Grlić Radman Meets with Croatian Community in Canada

ZAGREB, 22 Nov 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, met with members of the Croatian community in Canada in the Croatian Martyrs Parish in Mississauga on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a press release.

In his speech, Grlić Radman highlighted the role of Croatian parishes in fostering Croatian national identity, notably language, culture, and tradition. He described the parish in Mississauga as one of the best examples of dedication to promoting national consciousnesses and connections with Croatia.

The minister said that the Croatian government would continue to support the Croatian community in Canada by financing projects, Croatian language learning and scholarship programs, and supporting publishing activities.

"We will continue to support projects to preserve and promote cultural, scientific, economic, sports and other cooperation between Croatia and Canada," Grlić Radman said.

Grlić Radman thanked the Croatian community in Canada for their continued support to Croatia, including at the time of the Homeland War and last year's earthquake in Petrinja. He also emphasized their important role in strengthening the very good relationship between Croatia and Canada, the press release said.

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Monday, 15 November 2021

Croatian Minister Warns of Unitarism, Separatism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Croatia's Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman warned on Monday that unitarism and separatism in Bosnia and Herzegovina were causing instability and that it was crucial to abide by the principle of equality of the constituent peoples.

"Unitarism and separatism have been growing stronger in Bosnia and Herzegovina, causing instability to increase. The solution is respect for the principle of equality of the constituent peoples. The reform of electoral legislation is a key strategic issue and we need urgent progress on that," the minister said ahead of a meeting of EU ministers of foreign affairs, with Western Balkans being one of the topics on the agenda.

Grlić Radman said that the situation in the Western Balkans was worsening and that divisions were deepening.

"Enlargement policy is the solution, we need a strong political approach, that is the only way to move forward," he added.

He expressed concern about developments in Western Balkan countries, underlining the importance of preserving their territorial integrity and democracy.

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Saturday, 6 November 2021

FM: Croatia's Admission to Council of Europe Was Great Achievement

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - Croatia joined the Council of Europe 25 years ago and that was "a great achievement", the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, said at an event marking this anniversary in Zagreb on Saturday.

On 6 November 1996, Croatia became a member of the oldest pan-European organization whose role was to strengthen European unity and prosperity by promoting common values, fundamental human rights and freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law, Grlić Radman said.

"Twenty-five years ago it was a great achievement for Croatia to be admitted to the Council of Europe. Our membership means that we have adopted all its standards and that we respect fundamental human rights and all freedoms," the minister told the press.

Today, Croatia is an active member of the Council of Europe, and the Croatian representatives and experts within this organization and as part of intergovernmental and interparliamentary cooperation participate in the adoption of all policies and documents of the Council of Europe, he said.

Grlić Radman said that the greatest recognition of Croatia's efforts within the Council of Europe was the appointment of former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe on 26 June 2019.

This is the highest office a Croatian official has held in an international organization to date, he noted, adding that Croatia further confirmed its commitment to the European values through the presidency of the most important executive body of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers, in the second half of 2018.

As part of events marking the 25th anniversary of Croatia's admission to the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs set up an info stall in Cvjetni Trg square in Zagreb on Saturday to raise public awareness of the importance of the Council of Europe and Croatia's membership of this organization.

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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.

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Saturday, 23 October 2021

EU Should Use Crisis as Opportunity for Change, Says Grlić Radman

ZAGREB, 23 Oct 2021 - In the time ahead the European Union needs to strengthen its unity and joint action in all areas and use the crisis as an opportunity to make changes with the aim of creating a better future, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in Zagreb on Friday.  

Grlić Radman was attending the international conference "European Union in the World: The Past, the Present and the Future", organized by the Croatian Paneuropean Union on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

The event was part of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is aimed at enabling citizens across Europe to contribute to shaping the common future with their ideas.

Grlić Radman said that over the past 30 years Croatia had achieved political affirmation on the international scene and was today an engaged and reliable partner in many global and regional organizations.

He recalled that this year the country marks 25 years of its membership of the Council of Europe and in 2022 the 30th anniversary of its international recognition.

Croatia was once part of a totalitarian, communist system but it won for itself freedom and parliamentary democracy and eight years ago became a member of the European Union, said the minister.

He expressed confidence that on 1 January 2023 Croatia would be ready to join the euro area. Speaking of admission to the Schengen area, he said that all technical requirements had been met and that in 2022 Croatia could hope for a positive political decision of the member countries and accession.

Recalling Croatia's presidency of the EU in 2020 in the conditions of a pandemic, which underlined the importance of unity, he said that joint action and unity should be additionally strengthened in the times ahead.

"The ability to predict crises, the readiness to respond to them as well as the EU's overall resilience and strategic autonomy are areas that deserve our special attention and long-term commitment," he said.

Speaking of climate change, which is high on the agenda of European and global policies, Grlić Radman said that it offered an opportunity to develop new technologies and that Croatia had the potential to offer something in that regard.

Croatia is particularly interested in the continuation of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans because we want a stable neighborhood, he said, calling again for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law to ensure the legitimate representation of the three constituent peoples and other citizens.

The conference was addressed via video link by European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica, who called on citizens to join in the work of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the biggest project of participatory democracy ever.

The event was also addressed by the president of the International Paneuropean Union, Alain Terrenoire, Croatian members of the European Parliament Željana Zovko and Karlo Ressler, and Croatian MP Davor Ivo Stier.

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Friday, 24 September 2021

Grlić Radman Meets Croatian Fraternal Union Reps in Pittsburgh

ZAGREB, 24 Sept 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman met with representatives of the Croatian Fraternal Union in Pittsburgh on Thursday, thanking them for the assistance in the creation of the Croatian state, during the Homeland War, and after last year's earthquakes.

"The Croatian Fraternal Union is the oldest Croatian diaspora organisation which today, as it has done during the 127 years of its existence, is working on the promotion of Croatian identity and Croatia, caring for and connecting the community of Croats whom life has taken to faraway parts of the world," the minister said.

The Croatian government will continue to support and strengthen the cooperation with the Union, he added, as reported by the ministry.

"Your role was irreplaceable during the Homeland War and during the struggle for Croatia's international recognition. That was confirmed again after the devastating earthquakes which struck Zagreb and Sisak-Moslavina counties," the minister said.

Croatian unity and solidarity were proven a number of times when it was hardest, he added.

The minister also visited the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Hillman Cancer Center.

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Monday, 20 September 2021

Minister Says Croat Expatriates in USA Croatia's Unofficial Promoters

ZAGREB, 20 Sept 2021 - Croats in the United States contributed to Croatia's international recognition and are today its unofficial promoters, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in New York on Sunday, after meeting with members of the Croat expatriate community.

"The Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius here is headed by the Franciscans from Herzegovina, and the Croatian school here brings together already the third generation of U.S. Croats," Grlić Radman said, noting that this bore witness to a wish to preserve one's national, cultural and linguistic identity.

Croats "have given a major contribution to the prosperity of the U.S. society, without forgetting their own roots," he said, adding that Croat expatriates were unofficial promoters of their country, having advocated Croatia's recognition and "spreading the truth about Croatia's struggle for freedom against the Great Serbian aggressor."

The minister said that Croat expatriates in the USA had helped Croatia politically as well as by sending humanitarian assistance.

He recalled that in 2020 the Croatian government initiated an amendment of the citizenship law to make it easier for "all descendants of the Croat people" to obtain Croatian citizenship.

Asked about former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's having joined President Zoran Milanović's delegation on a visit to the United States for the ongoing 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Grlić Radman said that he supported "everything that is aimed at promoting Croatia's national interests."

Grlić Radman is visiting the USA from 19 to 25 September.

For more about the Croatian Diaspora, visit our dedicated page here.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Croatian FM Meets Belarusian Dissident Tsikhanouskaya in Bled

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, met with Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on Thursday.

Tsikhanouskaya was the main opposition candidate in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which was declared rigged by Western countries. The election was followed by mass protests, and President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, used force to suppress the opposition.

"We, the European Union, strongly condemned the prosecution, detention, and harassment of protesters and appealed for respect for human rights, media freedom and all the freedoms on which the EU based," Grlić Radman said.

"Today we discussed how we can make Belarus and its people who aspire to freedom more visible at the European and global level," he added.

Later on Thursday, Grlić Radman travels to Brdo pri Kranju for a two-day informal meeting of EU ministers. The meeting will focus on Afghanistan, which he described as "a challenge and the conscience of humanity, a test of the viability of the international order."

"If we don't show initiative here, if we don't show the strength of unity and ensure peace and stability, hardly will we be able to tackle new challenges," he said.

Grlić Radman said that the ministers would discuss ways of preventing a new migrant wave by using instruments available to the EU and the evacuation of the remaining Afghans who had worked for Western institutions.

"We learned a lesson in 2015, "he said, referring to the year when more than a million refugees had arrived in Europe. "We were not ready then, and the migrant wave nearly disrupted the stability and survival of the EU," Grlić Radman said, stressing that the situation now was different.

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Monday, 30 August 2021

Minister: Croatia to Discuss with Its Partners whether to Take in More Afghans

ZAGREB, 30 Aug 2021 - Croatia will decide, in talks with its partners, whether to take in more Afghan nationals fleeing the Taliban rule, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Sunday after the arrival of 19 Afghans who will seek and be granted asylum in Croatia. 

"We will see with our partners whether to take in more Afghan nationals," Grlić Radman told the public HTV broadcaster, adding that Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović would travel to Brussels next week to discuss migrations and refugees with other EU ministers.

Nineteen Afghan nationals - three families with children - arrived at Zagreb Airport on Saturday. The immigrants had worked as support staff for the Croatian mission in Afghanistan and had been vetted prior to their employment. The Ministry of the Interior has said that their identity will not be made known for the sake of their security.

"They have already been provided with accommodation... those three families include ten children, they are the most vulnerable group," said the minister.

"We have responded right away, in line with our possibilities and logistic conditions," Grlić Radman said.

He stressed that Afghanistan was faced with a major humanitarian crisis and that the situation in the country was changing the paradigm of global security.

"This will be a very sensitive security issue that will require multilateral action because we all want peace and stability in that part of the world," he said, adding that one could also hear that the Taliban were not what they had been 20 years ago.

On French president's visit

Commenting on a report about a plan for French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Croatia, Grlić Radman said that preparations for the visit had been going on for some time and that the French president was expected to pay a working visit in October or November, as well as that the date would be determined by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Grlić Radman underlined the importance of France in the EU and the global order, pointing to a joint proposal by Paris and London for Kabul Airport to be declared a safe zone.

"France constitutes the backbone of the EU," said the minister.

The talks with Macron will focus on the promotion of bilateral relations, economic cooperation, and the future of the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe, Grlić Radman said, recalling that the new EU admission methodology had complicated EU entry talks for North Macedonia and Albania.

"Croatia will try to appeal for stronger involvement by France" when it comes to security and stability in the Western Balkans, primarily Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the minister.

He noted that Croatia considered Bosnia and Herzegovina as a country with an EU membership prospect and wanted to discuss the importance of changes to its election law.

"That is the only way to make BiH functional and stable, with legitimate representatives of all peoples at all levels of government. The election law should guarantee the equality of all three constituent peoples," said Grlić Radman.

On ambassadorial appointments

Considering that by the end of the year 28 ambassadors and consuls should be appointed, and asked about disagreements between President Zoran Milanović and PM Plenković in that regard, Grlić Radman said that the impasse in talks on the matter had been resolved.

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Friday, 6 August 2021

Croatian Minister Condemns Threats against Montenegrin Croat Minority Official

ZAGREB, 6 Aug 2021 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman has condemned threats against the leader of the Croat Civic Initiative in Montenegro, Adrian Vuksanović. 

The threats against the leader of the Croat minority party were made in comments on the In4s portal, with some of the readers saying that Croats should have been killed or expelled from the former Yugoslavia and that Vuksanović would be "among the first to pay for it."

Grlić Radman condemned the threats in a conversation with Vuksanović and the leader of the Croat National Council, Zvonimir Deković, noting in a Twitter post that he had discussed the matter with his Montenegrin counterpart Đorđe Radulović and that minority protection was the focus of bilateral relations.

The threatening messages against Vuksanović were posted under a text in which he responded to Montenegrin Parliament Speaker Aleksa Bečić's comment on the 1995 Operation Storm, with which Croatia put an end to a four-year Serb armed insurgency, in which Bečić said "May Storm never happen again."

"You can rest assured that the military and police, liberating Operation Storm will never happen again because nobody will ever dare again to conquer Croatian territory, expel its residents and heartlessly shell towns across Croatia, including its capital, for four years," Vuksanović said in response to Bečić's comment as carried by In4s.

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