Tuesday, 6 November 2018

War of Words Between Foreign Minister and President Continues

ZAGREB, November 6, 2018 - Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Tuesday that she still could not see what President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović found disputable in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and expressed regret at the nervous reactions from the Office of the Croatian President to this document.

Minister Pejčinović Burić, who was attending an international conference on building democratic security at the Mediterranean in Dubrovnik, responded to the criticism which President Grabar-Kitarović voiced against the foreign ministry accusing it of failing to do its part of the job concerning the Marrakesh document. "The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry has done its part of the job well. I, as the person at the helm of the ministry and somebody who has an insight in it, can say that the job in the negotiations has been well done," the minister said today.

The Global Compact is actually not a treaty and is not meant to be signed, it is not a legally binding document and enables each country to regulate the issue of regular migrants the way it sees fit, removing all insinuations that something could be imposed on Croatia, the minister reiterated.

"This is the first document since the establishment of the United Nations that is intended to regulate the important matter of migrations and regular migrations. It offers a catalogue of measures and best practices that can be applied and facilitates the efforts of countries to handle regular migrations," the minister said.

The point is that the document can enhance the communication and cooperation among countries so as to lessen migratory pressures. After the finalisation of the Global Compact document, Croatia can choose what corresponds to its national interests, the minister added.

She said that Croatia had been already implementing some of the measures from that catalogue and that it would like also to contribute to the establishment a better system to address the issue at the global level. "We are persistent in our position when it comes to this issue," the minister underscored, adding that countries that have scrapped the document, have done that for their specific reasons.

On Monday, the President said the foreign ministry that coordinated the negotiations, failed to do its job. "Instead of releasing my correspondence to the media, they had an obligation to inform the public what this is about. They did not do their job," Grabar-Kitarović said.

Although at first she, in her own words, had "enthusiastically" accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary General to take part in a Marrakesh conference on the adoption of the Global Compact in December, her position now is ambivalent. Grabar Kitarović said: "I neither support nor don't support the document."

During the Dubrovnik conference, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković also commented on this topic saying that the disputes in the Croatian politics regarding this topic were not the first conflict of this kind. He said that he wondered who was generating those disputes. "First we had conflicts over the Istanbul Convention, that over the Vukovar rally, and now Marrakesh document, and all those matters are not meant to cause disputes," he said, warning that the topics on which social consensus should be made, seem to trigger off discussions from the ideological points of view.

Somebody is intentionally sparking off such conflicts and is trying to provoke disputes between the president and the government, said Jandroković.

Grabar-Kitarović's participation in the Marrakesh conference has caused a new disagreement between her office and the government after a controversial TV host published on his Facebook wall an alleged reply from the Office of the President saying that she would not sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakesh and that her office was not involved in talks on the document.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said this past Friday that the Global Compact regulated only legal migration and that he had been informed that President Grabar-Kitarović would go to Morocco in December for the ratification. He would not comment on media reports that the president would not go to Morocco, saying that, as far as he knew, she planned to attend the Global Compact ratification conference in Marrakesh because she was invited by the UN secretary-general.

Foreign Minister Pejčinović Burić told a news conference last Friday that she was surprised by announcements that Grabar-Kitarović would not attend the conference, and on that occasion cited Grabar-Kitarović's speech in the UN in which she expressed clear support for the Global Compact.

That prompted the Office of the President to say the president supported the completion of talks on the Marrakesh agreement but that she would not attend the ratification conference and that she had informed the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry of her decision.

To read more about the controversy, click here.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Minister Surprised with President’s Decision to Skip Migration Conference

ZAGREB, November 2, 2018 - The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will advance cooperation between states in regular migration and not increase the migrant flow, as suggested by Croatia's far right, Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Friday, adding that she was surprised by announcements that President Grabar-Kitarović would not attend a conference in Marrakesh where that document should be adopted.

The Global Compact is a catalogue of measures and not an agreement, it is not legally binding for UN member states and every state has the sovereign right to choose from it the set of measures suiting its situation, the minister said at a press conference called in the wake of media reports that Croatia's far right sees the document as contentious as the Istanbul Convention which Croatia ratified this year.

"The Global Compact represents a catalogue of measures defined in line with the goals of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which are aimed at advancing cooperation between states in dealing with regular migration," Pejčinović Burić said, adding that no state could resolve the migration issue alone.

She said the Global Compact was the result of the international community's attempts to formulate a document which would encompass the best practices and measures for managing regular migration, helping to reduce migration pressures. Since it is not legally binding, "there is absolutely no obligation to accept migrants," the minister said, adding that any insinuations that the document would lead to uncontrolled migration were absolutely unfounded.

The minister recalled that the drafting of the Global Compact began with the adoption of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was endorsed by 193 UN member states, including Croatia, which was represented by President Grabar-Kitarović at the forum in question.

The president underlined the importance of that document at this year's UN General Assembly meeting, the minister said, citing the president's speech. The president said on that occasion that the successful completion of negotiations on the Global Compact for the Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was an "important step in the right direction to effectively deal with this challenge."

"We believe that this catalogue of targeted measures and best practices can guide us in searching for the best solutions in a more coordinated manner and with a better outcome. I look forward to our meeting in Marrakech in December and commend all the efforts of the UN Special Representative Louise Arbour," the president said then.

"According to official information, the president confirmed to the UN secretary-general that she would attend already in August, so we are surprised by the announcement that she will not attend the Marrakesh conference," said Pejčinović Burić.

Inter-departmental consultations are under way in Croatia on a draft conclusion on this document and the final conference in Marrakesh, at the level of heads of state and government, is aimed at politically confirming the common will to improve cooperation in line with the understanding reached in the Global Compact, she added.

If you are interested in how the migration crisis is affecting Croatia, read here.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Croatian Foreign Minister Visits India

ZAGREB, October 23, 2018 - Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić was on an official visit to India on Monday, confirming good bilateral relations between the two countries and underscoring the potential for their further development, the ministry said in a press release.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Minister Promises No Lenience towards Serbia on EU Accession

ZAGREB, October 13, 2018 - Serbia has to meet all criteria for accession to the EU and there will be no concessions in that regard, and the MOST party is making up an affair, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić told a press conference on Friday after the MOST party accused the government of betraying national interests regarding Serbia's EU negotiations.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Croatia Wants Trade Dialogue Between EU and US

ZAGREB, October 5, 2018 - Croatia supports the efforts by the European Commission to maintain constructive dialogue between the European Union and the United States, Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Marija Pejčinović Burić, said on Friday.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

President, Foreign Ministers Attend UN General Assembly

ZAGREB, September 26, 2018 - Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić attended the official beginning of the 73rd session of the United Nations' General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, and this year the session was dedicated to the UN role and its responsibility for peace, equal and sustainable societies, the Croatian ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Croatia Attends Women Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Montreal

ZAGREB, September 23, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinovic Burić attended a two-day Women Foreign Ministers' Meeting (WFMM) in Montreal which was dedicated to gender equality and empowerment of women as a key factor in efforts to build peace, eradicate poverty and ensure economic growth, the Croatian Foreign Ministry stated in a press release on Sunday.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Croatia Against New EU Funds Allocation Rules

ZAGREB, September 18, 2018 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić reiterated on Tuesday that increasing the national contribution in co-financing programmes was unacceptable and that it won't help a better absorption of European funds.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Foreign Minister Meets with US Secretary of State Pompeo

ZAGREB, September 13, 2018 - Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović-Burić met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Wednesday, saying that the two countries had good and friendly relations which should be bolstered by more frequent contacts.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Foreign Ministers Visiting USA

ZAGREB, September 12, 2018 - Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić began an official visit to Washington on Tuesday, the first official visit of a Croatian foreign minister to the United States for several years.

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