Saturday, 16 July 2022

The Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina Marks 32 Years of Its Existence

ZAGREB, 16 July 2022 - The Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina, the oldest political party representing ethnic Croats in Serbia, marked its 32nd anniversary at a ceremony in Subotica on Friday.

Addressing the event, the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina president Tomislav Žigmanov spoke about the importance of being included in dialogue and talks on the formation of Serbia's new government.

"We want to be actors in policies that will steer Serbia into European integrations," said he.

Žigmanov, who won a seat in the Serbian parliament in the last elections in April, said that this would open new prospects for the Croat community in Serbia.

The Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina is the only parliamentary party representing the interests of ethnic Croats. o

The party has over a score of branches, most of them being in larger towns of Vojvodina.

Since its establishment the party has had three presidents: Bela Tonković and Petar Kuntić as Žigmanov's predecessors.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Koprivnica in Final Running for Prestigious European Capital of Inclusion Title

April 9, 2022 – Numerous social and demographic measures and activities carried out in the city’s institutions have been recognized at the European level. Koprivnica Mayor Mišel Jakšić announces the European Capital of Inclusion and Diversity Award. 

Last week, as writes, Koprivnica received great news from the European Union capital, Brussels: confirmation of entry among the 23 finalist cities in the run for the European Capital of Inclusion and Diversity Award. As many as seven Spanish cities entered the final for this important award, including Barcelona and Bilbao; four cities from Germany (Cologne, Mannheim), three from Italy (Bologna), two from Romania, Belgium, and Sweden, and one each from France, Croatia, and Luxembourg.

Koprivnica was among the cities that have shown a high level of responsibility in promoting and supporting inclusion and diversity in their local communities. The city government believes that learning about diversity from an early age ensures a lasting attitude, a life without prejudice, and coexistence in which diversity is a normal part of everyday life. Koprivnica is known as a friendly and smart city.

Ten percent of its population have disabilities, and the city received the Employer of the Year for People with Disabilities Award in 2008. The city administration's strategy for a unified policy for people with disabilities creates preconditions for equalizing opportunities for people with disabilities and preventing social exclusion, they explain.

The Council of National Minorities also protects the rights of minorities such as Roma who receive a different kind of support, including kindergarten. Data on assistance, programs, and activities implemented by the city administration are monitored and collected as part of quality assurance.

“Koprivnica is the only Croatian city that entered the finals of the European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity. This is the result of numerous social and demographic measures, activities, programs, and projects that we implement in our institutions, and which are recognized at the European level. Koprivnica has been nominated in two categories, which makes us extremely happy”, emphasized the Mayor of Koprivnica, Mišel Jakšić.

For a long time, the city has been working to include members of the Roma national minority in all spheres of life, providing them with affordable kindergartens and including them in preschool education. For example, children who are still learning Croatian are provided with Roma translators. These and other measures, such as financial support, have resulted in more Roma children in pre-school, primary, and secondary education.

In cooperation with the Roma association Kali Sara, the city administration has built a children's park and a sports playground in the Reka suburb, home to many Roma. At the Pučko Otvoreno Učilište Koprivnica, founded by the City, the emphasis is on teaching children and youth that diversity is a normal part of everyday life. Their efforts include re-education and vocational education programs. The ceremony to announce the winners will take place in Brussels on April 28 this year.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview: Serbs, Roma People, and LGBTQ Hate Speech Targets

April 16, 2021-  The Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview report by Human rights house Zagreb shows hate speech and poor living conditions of Serb returnees and Roma people still being problematic. The judicial system and the lack of a legal frame for civil society development remain problematic too.

In a battle against the Coronavirus, many agree and fear that human rights were put in second place, triggering the debate of security vs. liberty and justification of limiting movement, work, etc.

But human rights and their respect in Croatia was an issue, long before Covid-19. As Jutarnji List warns, the situation is not good. 

Croatia doesn't have a defined politics of making a supportive environment for the civic society development. Citizen participation in decision making is still relatively weak and the judicial system is a special problem," says Jutarnji List referring to the new report by Human Rights House in Zagreb titled „Human Rights in Croatia: 2020 Overview“.

Regarding the judicial issue, a specific example can be found in the ever-controversial  "Za Dom Spremni!"(For the Homeland Ready) salute which is recognised as a fascist salute and punishable by law but it's tolerated as part of the song „Čavoglave“ by Marko Perković Thompson and can frequently be heard during his concerts both by the singer and the audience.

„Circumstance that the salute is part of the song doesn't change the fact that it's an ustasha (Croatian fascist) salute that symbolizes criminal Naci-fascist ideology and is the violation of article 39 of Croatian constitution that prohibits any call or encouragement on national, racial or religious hatred or any form of intolerance“, continues Jutarnji List.

Still present in public space, hate speech in Croatia is also very alive on the Internet, with the Serb LGBTQ community and Roma people being the prime targets. As Jutarnji reports, last year's research show this as well as the lack of appropriate response. 

„Children and adolescences do not learn enough about human rights, equality, and solidarity, given that civil education is conducted as one of six intercourse themes in elementary and high-schools. Such approach to civil education does not secure enough time in the curriculum for quality development of civil competence of pupils“, concluded for Jutarnji List Human Rights House in Zagreb.

Educational segregation for Roma people, isolated Serb returnees migrant treatment controversies, C+ grade for LGBTQ travelers

The article also adds that Roma people in Croatia are still facing many obstacles in achieving their rights, which include employment, access to services, and adequate living standards, and there is still segregation in the education system too.

Furthermore, many Serb returnees live in undeveloped rural areas, which are isolated and offer poor living conditions. Additionally, they still struggle to achieve their asset rights, and their possession is still tangible to devastation.



When it comes to LGBTQ rights, as TCN previously reported, Croatia „has an index of 188 points and a grade C+ from most safe to highest dangerous places (A to F), placing it among the first third of the best countries in the world in terms of LGBTQ+ safety“. There are controversies regarding the migrants' treatment on which we recently reported on too.

Learn more about Croatia's global rankings and many more fun facts about the country on our TC page.

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

Thursday, 8 April 2021

HRK 20 Million For Areas Populated By National Minorities

ZAGREB, 8 April, 2021 - The government on Thursday made decisions on the implementation of programmes for financing local infrastructure and rural development projects in areas populated by national minorities, for which HRK 20 million was earmarked in this year's budget.

The programmes pertain to areas that are markedly below the national development average in which national minorities make up at least 5% of the population according to the 2011 census.

Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak said the programmes would ensure the minimum standards of municipal and social infrastructure as well as financial instruments for family farms.

The government also adopted a regulation on the financing of national minorities' public needs to enhance their rights and protect as well as promote their cultural, national, linguistic and religious identity.

Waters Act amendments

Also today, the government sent to parliament amendments aligning the Waters Act with EU legislation.

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

Friday, 11 September 2020

Milanovic's Policy of Reconciliation Praised by German President

ZAGREB, Sept 11, 2020 - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier supports the policy of reconciliation in Croatia pursued by Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, it was said after their meeting in Berlin on Friday. 

In his first months as head of state, President Milanovic took important steps in the process of reconciliation with the Serbs and the Serb minority in Croatia, and we are grateful to him for that, Steinmeier said.

The German president said he supported his Croatian counterpart on this brave path. This path launched by Croatia will hopefully be an inspiration for others to build bridges, he added.

The Croatian president began his two-day official visit on Thursday by meeting with representatives of Croatian associations in Germany.

Milanovic thanked his host for inviting him and for supporting him on the path of reconciliation in the region. 

I have been pursuing the policy of reconciliation for twenty years and I believe for the first time that we have interlocutors for such policy in Croatia, Milanovic said, adding that he would continue this policy in the future.

Successful Croatian presidency of the EU

The two presidents also discussed the strengthening and functioning of the European Union in the present circumstances of the coronavirus crisis.

With the aid package adopted in June, the EU demonstrated solidarity that is not even remotely possible elsewhere in the world, Steinmeier said.

He praised Croatia for a job well done during its presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of the year.

Strengthening the EU is the most important task and Croatia managed to do that with its presidency under very difficult circumstances. Now it is up to us to continue this work until the end of this year, the German president said.

One of the topics discussed was the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and the Croatian president expressed hope that the epidemiological situation in Croatia after the summer tourist season would calm down.

I hope the Croatian counties included on the German red list will disappear from that list, Milanovic said.

Excellent bilateral relations

Both presidents said that relations between Germany and Croatia were excellent.

Germany's policy towards Croatia has always been predictable in a positive sense, meaning reliable, Milanovic said.

The two presidents also highlighted efforts in providing humanitarian aid to migrants who have been left without a roof over their heads following a fire in the Moria refugee camp in Greece.

I have heard that the Croatian government has decided to take in a certain number of displaced persons, which I consider a nice and humane gesture and I support it, Milanovic said.

Steinmeier denied claims that the EU's common policy on migrants had collapsed.

During its EU presidency, Germany will work with the European Commission on promoting the common refugee policy, he said.

Milanovic was the first statesman to be received with military honors after a months-long pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

During the day, the Croatian president is scheduled to meet with Wolfgang Schauble, Speaker of the Bundestag. He will end his two-day visit by meeting with Mario Ohoven, head of the German association of small and medium-sized enterprises (BVMW).

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