Friday, 14 February 2020

Miletić: IDS Has Shown How to Promote European Values

ZAGREB, February 14, 2020 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) president Boris Miletić said on Friday, on the party's 30th anniversary, that it had shown how a region in Croatia could develop, how to contribute to society's democratisation and be on the side of civil rights, and how to promote European values.

Speaking in Pula, Miletić said "three decades of successful work are behind us. I'm glad that today Istria (County) is indeed an oasis of tolerance, an example and a beacon in our country, for which most of the credit goes to our citizens, but also to the IDS which throughout that time has given a vision of the development of our region."

He also commented on the case of Tar-Vabriga municipal head Nivio Stojić, who verbally attacked a journalist after she asked him about his declaration of assets. Miletić said Stojić did the only possible thing by leaving the IDS. "I'm sorry (the attack) happened. As a party, we have shown in this instance too how to protect the values we promote."

Miletić said IDS members' declarations "are available to anyone" and underlined the importance of transparency, adding that "if someone wants to do a public job, they must respect the law."

Speaking of cooperation with the Social Democratic Party, he said the IDS was open to cooperation with the left liberal bloc.

"We have a big chance to change this incompetent, corrupt government, and if that is the joint goal, it must be the highest goal of all the parties which want to participate," Miletić said, adding that "citizens are losing trust in politics" and that "all parties should work on trust in the public system and politics."

He said the "modality" of running in the next parliamentary election "should be subordinate to one goal - that the group of parties have a majority in parliament and form a new government which will finally steer this country in the right direction."

"That means that we want to make Croatia a normal European state, that we stop dealing with the past so much and start thinking about the living standards of all citizens."

The IDS will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Pazin tomorrow. Among those attending will be President-elect Zoran Milanović.

More IDS news can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 15 November 2019

IDS MEP Valter Flego Seeks Connection Between Istrian Y and Slovenia

An Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS) MEP has proposed better road connections between Istria and Croatia, primarily involving the Slovenian motorway and the Istrian Y.

When it comes to good neighbourly relations between Croatia and its neighbour to the north, Slovenia, things have been bad at worst and petty at best over the last few years. The border dispute has led both countries to quite childish jibes and Slovenia will likely continue to try to block Croatia's Schengen entry for as long as possible because of the country's refusal to recognise and therefore implement the arbitration court's decision on the border.

As Glas Istre/Dubravko Grakalic writes on the 15th of November, 2019, an IDS Member of the European Parliament, Walter Flego, emphasised in his brief debate in the European Parliament the need to create transport links between Croatia and Slovenia.

"I come from Istria and I recognise the importance of international and cross-border co-operation in an area. Clearly, I'm not just talking about projects and events, but also about infrastructure. We've got some excellent examples at the very top of the EU, such as the Interreg interregional cooperation program, which has funded more than sixty very valuable projects. When talking about Istria, we have a great example of connection and cooperation between two water supply lines - the Istrian water supply system from the Croatian part of Istria, and the Rižan water supply system from the Slovenian part of Istria,'' Flego cited.

"We need a connection between the Istrian Yp to the Slovenian motorway network in order to reduce congestion during the tourist season. That's why I ask that cohesion policy funds not be cut and that is why I'm asking for such an item to be placed in the 2021-2027 budget. This would enable our people in Istria to live and work more easily and simply. Our countries are not isolated islands, so let's invest in the coming years in projects that connect us, so that residents and tourists can live and work freely throughout the year, but also enjoy their well-deserved holidays,'' said IDS's Walter Flego in Brussels, Belgium.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

IDS to Back Zoran Milanović in Presidential Election

ZAGREB, September 28, 2019 - The Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) will support the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate and former prime minister Zoran Milanović in the forthcoming presidential election, the IDS Council decided by a majority of votes at a meeting on Friday evening.

IDS leader Boris Miletić said that Milanovic offered the strongest guarantees for the victory of the progressive Croatia in the presidential election.

"Voters will be choosing between a regressive and a progressive Croatia. With its support, the IDS wishes once again to make a strong contribution to Croatia truly becoming a normal, pro-European, open and modern country," Miletić said.

"Croatia's entry into the Schengen zone, which would eliminate the border within Istria, the removal of the barbed-wire fence on the border with Slovenia, and better road and rail connections with the whole of Europe are issues of vital importance to Istria, which the future President of the Republic can and should influence. Zoran Milanović has given convincing and credible guarantees that he will protect the interests of Istria and its civilisational, economic and cultural specificities," the IDS leader said.

He concluded by saying that the presidential election could mark "the beginning of the end of bigoted, retrograde nationalism and insane populism which has degraded the image of Croatia in the world and put our country at the bottom of Europe."

More news about presidential elections can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

IDS Leader Slams Italian Neo-Fascists' Provocation, D'Annunzio Statue

ZAGREB, September 14, 2019 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) president Boris Miletic on Saturday condemned "the sad and sorry provocation by a group of Italian neo-fascists, who recently hung the Kingdom of Italy flag on the Governor's Palace in Rijeka," saying "the world is and will be going forward, no matter how much someone tries to turn back time."

"Fascism is a reactionary and defeated ideology, and Istria, which unfortunately experienced the whole evil of fascism, is the last place in the world where the fascist idea could live again," he said in a press release.

Miletić said he was saddened that in Europe, which did not know borders for decades, there were still those who advocated changing state borders. "I believe this provocation best shows the caricature and irrelevance of such movements, whether they come from the Italian or the Croatian side."

As for the decision by the City of Trieste to unveil a monument to fascism originator Gabriele D'Annunzio on the centenary of his occupation of Rijeka, Miletić said it was absolutely incomprehensible.

"Any recognition of and attempt to downplay reactionary ideologies or state territorial claims certainly does not contribute to good neighbourly relations and is in complete opposition to Europe's values."

Miletić said the IDS had zero tolerance towards any form of fascism and that it would not keep quiet when someone "undermines the foundations of a modern, civic and open society."

He called on state authorities to condemn, clearly and in the strongest terms, yesterday's statements by the HVIDRA association of disabled war veterans, which condemned recent statements by Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Milorad Pupovac and called on the justice minister to say if those statements constituted a criminal offence and if by making them Pupovac had violated Croatian laws, noting that the SDSS was not desirable in Croatia and was not a relevant representative of the Serbs in the country.

More IDS news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

European Elections Show Istria is Open, Tolerant and Progressive

ZAGREB, May 30, 2019 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) leader Boris Miletić said in Pula on Thursday that the result of the May 26 election for the European Parliament had shown once again that Istria was open, tolerant and progressive, that radicalism did not enjoy support in Istria and that Istrians looked to the right only when crossing the street.

Addressing a news conference, Miletić thanked all citizens who went to the polls on Sunday, notably those who supported the Amsterdam Coalition and the IDS, as well as all partners.

He stressed that the Amsterdam Coalition slate had won close to 42% of the vote in Istria.

The IDS won five times more votes in Istria than Živi Zid and seven times more votes than the HDZ, while the lead candidate on Amsterdam Coalition slate, Valter Flego, won 19,038 preferential votes, 16 times more than the Social Democrat candidate from Istria, said Miletić.

"The right has grown stronger in Croatia and a new player with extremely radical views has joined the circle of populist politicians. But that is not so in Istria, we have shown that Istria is a world unto itself and different from the rest of Croatia... that it thinks in an open, tolerant and progressive way... thanks to our citizens we have shown that radicalism does not enjoy support in Istria and that Istrians look to the right only when crossing the street," Miletić said, adding that this was the first time the IDS had decided to run in elections at the national level and without a big partner, winning, as a coalition leader, one seat in the European Parliament.

The newly elected member of the European Parliament from the Amsterdam Coalition, Valter Flego, who returned on Wednesday from his first official visit to Brussels since he was elected a member of the European Parliament, said that the first item on his agenda as a MEP would be reaching an agreement on priorities in the EU in the next five years and deciding on partners for negotiations, stressing that extremists, radicals and populists were ruled out.

"In the next five years, ALDE will have 108 members, the highest number ever. We have grown considerably and we are the third force in the European Parliament, with excellent growth trends, unlike the first two groups, the European People's Party and the Socialists, which have lost a large number of deputies compared to the last term," Flego said, adding that his priorities and areas of interest would be regional development, environmental protection, agriculture, industry, research and innovation, and transport and tourism.

More news about elections can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 26 April 2019

IDS Officials Say No Government as Arrogant Towards Istria as Current One

ZAGREB, April 26, 2019 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) leader Boris Miletić and his deputy Valter Flego said on Friday they were deeply disappointed with the government's treatment of Istria County, stressing that all governments led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) had discriminated against that county but that no government had shown as much arrogance towards Istria as the incumbent government.

"It is sad that the Prime Minister will arrive today in big style with the transport minister to inspect work on the Istrian Y motorway and open a super luxury ACI marina in Rovinj, while 30 kilometres away, in a ghastly empty Uljanik shipyard, workers are waiting for someone to tell them what will happen with them," Flego told a news conference in Pula.

He accused the government of stalling and delaying a decision on the Pula dock until after the elections for the European Parliament, describing its conduct as inhumane, irresponsible and harmful.

"To visit the posh ACI marina and completely ignore Uljanik workers... is unbelievable," Flego said, adding that this was the first time the government officials were visiting Istria for a ceremonial event to which local political officials had not been invited.

"A year and a half has passed and we do not have a single answer as to what the state thinks about industrial production and shipbuilding, people have been left without any income. The government is not showing an iota of sympathy, moreover it is utterly arrogant and lacks manners," said Miletić, who described as positive reports that a Chinese delegation interested in Uljanik would soon visit Pula and Rijeka.

More IDS news can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 22 April 2019

IDS Reacts to Cardinal Bozanić's Easter Homily on Shipyards

ZAGREB, April 22, 2019 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) leader on Sunday reacted to the Easter homily delivered by the Archbishop of Zagreb, saying that Cardinal Josip Bozanić had used the Easter holiday to issue "biased political messages" and calling on him to "refrain from political cheering" and to intercede for the workers at the Uljanik and 3. Maj shipyards.

In a statement, IDS president Boris Miletić expressed regret that Cardinal Bozanić had used Easter to issue "biased political messages and a cynical criticism of Istria County and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, which he said represent 'the most developed parts of the country'."

"Instead of engaging in political campaigning, Cardinal Bozanić could have used his speech today to draw attention to the inhumane, callous and un-Christian policy of stalling which the government has persistently used against the Uljanik and 3. Maj workers," the IDS leader said in the statement.

He appealed to the Church authorities "to refrain from political cheering and discriminating against the two regions which they do not like for reasons best known to them, and to actively intercede for the shipyard workers and help end their months-long suffering."

In his homily, Cardinal Bozanić referred to the shipyard workers in Pula and Rijeka who "have been coming to work for months without being paid," noting that this was happening in a part of the country that was described as most developed.

"How is this possible? Politicians, both local and those at the highest level, are certainly aware of this. Problems that have been long kept under the carpet in the interest of power-wielders need to be dealt with, but it is the little man that gets hurt in such games and calculations," Bozanić said, urging those in charge not to lose sight of the unprotected little man in addressing difficult issues.

More news about Croatian shipyards can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

HDZ and IDS Trade Accusations about Uljanik

ZAGREB, March 30, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday that Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) leader Boris Miletić's statement by that pushing Uljanik into bankruptcy the ruling HDZ party was trying to economically destabilise Istria.

"If the IDS wants to play the game of shifting responsibility, it should ask itself what it has done for Uljanik over the past 30 years and not the last 17 months," Plenković said on the margins of a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's Standing Committee in Zagreb.

Last year the government made a change, "unlike the SDP-led governments, of which the IDS was a member and which issued guarantees for ships that were not built," said Plenković.

"We did the only right and possible thing, we gave rescue aid in line with guidelines from the European Commission and made it possible to start looking for a suitable restructuring partner," he said.

Asked about combat aircraft, Plenković said that Croatia was working on enhancing its air force's capabilities but he could not guarantee that new fighter jets would be bought by the end of his term in office.

Asked if the aircraft purchase would be agreed directly or a new tender would be advertised, he said that having more than one option would be responsible.

More news about the Uljanik crisis can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

IDS Official Defends Bleiburg Mass Ban

ZAGREB, March 10, 2019 - Istrian Democratic Party vice president Valter Flego said on Sunday that the decision of the Catholic Church in the Austrian federal state of Carinthia to ban the holding of Mass at Loibach, a field near Bleiburg, over political instrumentalisation, was in no way directed against the faith and believers.

"This is not a decision against religious freedoms, on the contrary. The Church in Asutria wants to protect the believers from the abuse by which the Church wants to spread nationalistic messages and promote Ustasha symbols," Flego said adding that everyone should be aware that by doing so our neighbours were trying to protect us from ourselves.

"Instead of drawing a lesson, we learnt nothing. Unfortunately, our state leadership is condemning the decision of Austria which only did what we should have done a long time ago, and that is to ban Ustashaism in our country," Flego said.

MP Emil Daus of the IDS said the Croatian Democratic Union-led government had lost a feeling for any political, moral or human responsibility, adding that the accident involving HDZ Minister Gabrijala Žalac was proof of that.

"A traffic accident can happen to anyone, in a hundred different circumstances and I am truly sorry that the minister had to go through that. However, the fact that the minister got behind the wheel without a valid driver's licence, aware that she is breaking the law, is a reason for immediate resignation," Daus said.

More news on the Bleiburg mass ban can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Grabar-Kitarović Accused of Degrading Office of President

ZAGREB, February 19, 2019 - MP Tulio Demetlika of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) on Tuesday accused President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of degrading the office of President of the Republic over her statement about the Ustasha salute "For the Homeland Ready".

Demetlika recalled that Grabar-Kitarović had said two years ago that "For the Homeland Ready" was an old Croatian greeting, that she had referred to members of the Nazi-allied Ustasha movement who had fled to Argentina after World War II as "patriots who have found freedom there", and that during her visits to Istria she spoke of her grandparents as Partisans who had participated in the WWII anti-fascist movement.

"The president adapts her statements and views depending on the occasion and the audience she is addressing," Demetlika said in parliament, adding that such behaviour lacked credibility.

He wondered "how a person who doesn't know basic historical facts or who deliberately distorts them depending on the occasion, can hold the office of President?"

"The President of Croatia represents the country at home and abroad. Unfortunately, we can say that the current President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is degrading the office of President at home and abroad," the IDS lawmaker said.

On Saturday, President Grabar-Kitarović admitted that she was wrong to say that the salute "For the Homeland Ready", used by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in Croatia during World War II, was a Croatian historical greeting, adding that her point was that the salute as such was "compromised and unacceptable".

Grabar-Kitarović made the statement while responding to questions from the press after recapitulating the four years of her term in office so far. She said she was wrong about the controversial salute because her advisers had told her that it was a historical greeting.

"I accept what historians have said, that it is not a historical Croatian greeting. But the point of my statement was not that part of the sentence, but that it is compromised and unacceptable," the president said.

More news on Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović can be found in the Politics section.

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