Monday, 27 June 2022

Milanović Expected to Meet Finnish Counterpart, Swedish PM During NATO Summit

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović will attend the NATO summit in Madrid from 28 to 30 June and is expected to meet bilaterally with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, his office said on Monday.

The summit is being held in the midst of a major security crisis in the Euro-Atlantic area caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and therefore a discussion on strengthening aid to Ukraine is also expected.

A topic of the NATO summit will also be Finland's and Sweden's accession to the military alliance.

Earlier, the Croatian president said that the entry of the Nordic countries into NATO should be made conditional on amendments to the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin paid an official visit to Croatia last week, and Milanović told her that in principle he was not opposed to Finland's accession to NATO, but at the same time, he underscored the difficult position of Croats in BiH and the security problems facing Croatia due to the unstable situation in that country.

Also, in a recent telephone conversation with his Finnish counterpart, Milanović said that he was not opposed to Finland's entry into NATO, but that he expected to understand from that country for the protection of the rights of BiH Croats.

Invited non-member heads of state and government - Australia, Georgia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Finland, and Sweden - and European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will also attend the summit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the summit via a video call.

On the first day of the NATO summit on Tuesday, Milanović and his wife Sanja Musić Milanović will attend a gala dinner along with other heads of state, hosted by King Philip VI of Spain and Queen Letizia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Milanović Seeks EU Membership Candidate Status For Bosnia And Herzegovina

ZAGREB, 23 June 2022- Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Thursday again urged the European Union to grant membership candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day summit to decide on the membership candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, for which there is widespread support.

Milanović on Thursday requested the same status for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has Slovenian President Borut Pahor's strong support for this, and Austria has also joined the initiative.

"We have heard from all member states that Ukraine will get the candidate status, which is fine, but Ukraine, just like Moldova, has some huge problems," Milanović said.

"This is an opportunity to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina the candidate status, as an act of confidence and hope," the Croatian president said, adding that he could not see how anyone could be against it.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

81st Anniversary of Foundation of 1st Partisan Unit Marked in Brezovica Forest

ZAGREB, 22 June - Wreath-laying ceremonies were held at the Brezovica Memorial Centre on Wednesday on the occasion of Croatia's Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, observed on 22 June in memory of 22 June 1941 when the first Partisan detachment and the first anti-Fascist unit in this part of Europe were founded near Sisak.

President Zoran Milanović, who laid down carnations in front of the "Debeli Brijest" monument, said in his speech that anti-Fascism had deep roots in Croatia.

"It is a feeling, emotion, it is an integral part of Croatia's journey and one of the segments that make up our roots," said the president who underscored "No to fascism, freedom to the people!", alluding to the "Death to fascism, freedom to the people!" salute used by Tito-led Communist Partisan units in the Second World War.

Milanović said that Croatia's path in WW2 and after that was "just and successful".

Justice Minister Ivan Malenica, who laid a wreath on behalf of the government, said that anti-Fascism is part of the identity and past of the Croatian people, it is deeply intertwined in Croatia's statehood, and accepting both one's own good and bad things in the past is a sign of the maturity of a nation, the minister added.

It is a historical fact that Croatia's nation was among the victors at the end of the Second World War, the Croatian people were among the members of the anti-Fascist coalition, he said.

Sisak Count Prefect Ivan Celjak said that soldiers in the Homeland War made it possible for Croatia to see its dream of independence come true, and the borders of the country were defined by anti-Fascists and the anti-Fascist Struggle in the Second World War 

The head of the Alliance of Anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia (SABA RH), Franjo Habulin, said being anti-Fascist is not a political orientation but a human one.

"Anti-Fascism is alive and never surrenders," he said.

In attendance at the ceremonies were also two former presidents, Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović, Deputy Sabor Speaker Davorko Vidović, Labour Minister Marin Piletić, Supreme Court President Radovan Dobronić, Sisak Mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček, and Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Bakšić Mitić Communicator of the Year, Milanović-Plenković Anti-Communicators

ZAGREB, 9 June 2022 - The Croatian Public Relations Association (HUOJ) has named Glina Deputy Mayor Branka Bakšić Mitić as the communicator of the year, while the public discourse of the country's leaders, President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, has earned them the title of anti-communicators of the year.

Bakšić Mitić warned of the too slow process of post-earthquake reconstruction in the region of Banovina, expressing her gratitude for the award and saying she was happy that HUOJ had recognized her simple communication strategy - to tell the truth always and without fear.

"It is a great responsibility to be the voice of all my fellow citizens who are struggling on a daily basis with the consequences of the earthquake. Many good people are helping us to not give up," said Bakšić Mitić and expressed hope that in the future there would be more talk about new houses, jobs, happy families, and less about metal housing containers, non-existing reconstruction, and inactivity of the state.

This year's runner-ups were the Dean of the Electrical Engineering and Computing Faculty (FER), Gordan Gledec, and Rijeka Archbishop Coadjutor Mato Uzinić.

As a direct opposite, the "hard cohabitation" of the country's most senior officials, President Milanović and Prime Minister Plenković, was named anti-communication of the year.

HUOJ labeled it as unacceptable and irresponsible, involving the highest state institutions to the detriment of all citizens and the culture of public dialogue.

The runner-up was President Milanović himself, whose non-constructive style of communication, HUOJ says, undermines the culture of political and public dialogue.

Also rated poorly was communication by the competent institutions regarding the process of post-earthquake reconstruction in Banovina, and communication by the national COVID-19 response team.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

PM Says President Milanović is Acting to Advantage of Russia

ZAGREB, 31 May 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković rejected in Brussels on Tuesday President Zoran Milanović claim's that sanctions against Russia were ineffective and only did harm to European citizens, accusing him of acting to the advantage of the Russian aggressor.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Croatian president said that the European sanctions against Russia were not working since Moscow could sell oil to others. He made the statement after the EU decided to impose a partial embargo on the import of oil from Russia.

"It is incorrect that the sanctions are not helping, thanks to its energy sources, Russia is financing war operations in which a large number of soldiers and civilians die every day," Plenković said after a EU summit in Brussels, at which the sixth package of sanctions against Russia was hammered out.

Plenković added that sanctions were a moral matter and that one should be on the right side of history and law.

"The government is, I am, and the Croatian public should ask themselves whether mister Milanović is," Plenković said.

"We are pursuing a policy in the interest of Croatia and in the interest of the EU, in the interest of justice and solidarity, and if he's pursuing a policy... to the advantage of the Russian aggressor, he should explain that to citizens, because we aren't. Unfortunately, that has been happening for months and is no longer a coincidence, it's a great pity and shame for Croatia," he added.

Plenković also rejected Milanović's claims that Croatia was no energy hub.

Denying Croatia's strategic role in our neighborhood, all the activities we do, the fact that the LNG terminal was realized during our term of office, and the fact that investments in critical infrastructure would give Croatia a completely different position can be called either ignorance or jealousy. All of that is human and I'm sorry he gives such statements, said Plenković.

During its summit meeting in Brussels on Monday, the European Union agreed on a new set of sanctions whereby seaborne oil imports from Russia would be immediately banned. Two-thirds of the Russian oil imported by the EU comes via tanker and one-third by the Druzhba pipeline. The embargo on seaborne oil imports would therefore apply to two-thirds of all oil imported from Russia. Since Germany and Poland announced that they would completely give up Russian oil by year's end, the import of Russian oil will drop by 90%.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Croatian President Does Not Believe that EU Sanctions Have Any Effect

ZAGREB, 31 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that the European sanctions against Russia "are not working" since Moscow could sell oil to others.

During its summit meeting in Brussels on Monday, the European Union agreed on a new set of sanctions whereby seaborne oil imports from Russia would be immediately banned. Two-thirds of the Russian oil imported by the EU comes via tanker and one-third by the Druzhba pipeline. The embargo on seaborne oil imports would therefore apply to two-thirds of all oil imported from Russia.

Milanović said in his ironical comment that Russian President Vladimir Putin could now have a self-complacent smile on his face, and gas and oil supplies could be redirected from Russia to other destinations "where there is a high demand for them".

Milanović went on to say that European citizens will pay a high price for the sanctions that are not working.

"Perhaps one day, they will start producing some effect. Currently, neither has the rouble depreciated nor is Russia feeling the financial effects (of the sanctions). Once it starts feeling them, the war will be already over."

Milanović, therefore, thinks that Europe should introduce "an all-out energy embargo" against Russia. He wonders why no embargo has been put on the gas imports from Russia.

As part of the agreement to ban the import of Russian oil delivered by ships, Hungary will be able to procure oil via Croatia in case of problems with the Druzhba pipeline.

Milanović finds this to be good for Hungary, while Croatia is "irrelevant" in this case and it can only earn a pittance in this arrangement.

"I would like to see Croatia playing a crucial role. However, Croatia is not a key player. Croatia is no player, at all," said Milanović, calling for being engaged in a tug of war in trade.

He again claimed that Croatia "is not fighting for its interests".

Even if it recognizes its interests, Croatia fails to advertise them. We are afraid of demanding anything. We are ashamed of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while we have understanding for the Turks," said Milanović in reference to his view on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the problems surrounding the current electoral law in that country.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Milanović Tells Serbia Indictment Against Croatian Pilots Will Cost It

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that indicting four high-ranking Croatian Army officers for alleged war crimes will cost Serbia, calling out politicians in that country for "unintelligent behaviour" with which Serbia will never succeed in joining the European Union.

Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor's Office indicted four high-ranking Croatian Army officers for alleged war crimes. They are accused of shelling a refugee column during the military Operation Storm on 7 and 8 August 1995.

"These indictments have occurred despite our years-long attempts to convince them not to play with fire and that it will cost them. I cannot be more polite, I hope they are listening to me. Leave that alone. Otherwise, they should not be surprised by reactions by right-wing lawmakers in the Sabor. The problem is that the majority of people in Croatia think like that," Milanović told reporters.

Asked by N1 television if he was afraid of being indicted for his speech in Glina in 1995 as a possible response to Serbia indicting four Croatian generals, Serbia's President Aleksandar vučić said "the Serbs didn't kill Croatians, it was the Croatians who killed Serbs."

Milanović called on Vučić "not to do that." "I can keep things rhetorically under control to a certain measure. But then this comes from Belgrade and how then can I explain that we pursue a well-intentioned policy?"

Milanović said that these moves by Serbia were "unintelligent behaviour" by a state that is "impoverished and degraded," and that does not have its status resolved anywhere.

"They don't want to join NATO, OK. They will never join the European Union this way. Who needs this? Who is pursuing this policy? Which citizens there is the prosecutor's office addressing?" Milanović said.

He went on to say that he is convinced that 75% of citizens would support his and the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's common stance about Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that just as many people in Croatia believe that "Croatian prosecutorial authorities should indict Vučić."

Milanović however said that that should not be done because Vučić is "being tactical." "And then we hear that nobody killed anyone, but instead the Croatians killed Serbs," he added.

"I am sorry for every Serb who was killed. They need not have been. But a huge majority of Serbs fled straight away. That is a fact. Even the tribunal in The Hague confirmed that," said Milanović.

"Serb brethren, come to your senses," Milanović said, adding that he would probably now be proclaimed an "Ustasha." "Last week I was a Serb."

"We have to be clear and just in our relations with Serbia, articulate what we expect of them," he added

Last week the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts called on Serbia to stop inciting animosity against Croatia and prosecuting Croatian citizens, to renounce Greater Serbia propaganda and respect its obligations in line with agreements, such as protecting the reciprocal rights of the Croat minority and ensuring for Croats free political and cultural organising, as Croatia ensures for the Serb minority.

TFor more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Croatian President Rules Out Possibility of Armed Conflicts in BiH

ZAGREB, 24 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday there was a risk of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina deteriorating and that his intention is to prevent that and help find "a framework for coexistence of the three constituent peoples in BiH", however, he ruled out the possibility of an armed conflict.

"Anyone starting talk of a war erupting in BiH should get their mouth taped," said Milanović adding that speculations like that amount to war-mongering propaganda.

"Who will attack whom in BiH? Perhaps, Serbs with their three armored vehicles?," Milanović wondered in an ironic comment, insisting that not enough weapons existed for anyone to spark an armed conflict.

He announced a phone call to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for Tuesday afternoon so as to inform him of what is going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Last week, the Croatian president sent a letter about this issue to Stoltenberg.

Milanović said that "when it comes to knowing about the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, international leaders are not updated," accusing Croatia's diplomats of that.

Milanović accused Prime Minister Andrej Plenković of boycotting his proposal to hold a session of the National Security Council to discuss the state of affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He also criticized Plenković over a lack of a joint position on the issue, and again ruled out that "there was anything personal in that conflict."

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

President: It's Time to Draw Up Final Balance on Benefits from EU Membership

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović, who on Friday attended ceremonies celebrating the Day of the City of Zabok, said Croatia should now draw up a final balance on its 10-year-long EU membership and see what benefits it has had.

"Now is the right time after our first ten years of the EU membership, marked by our hopes, expectations, anticipations, premonitions, joys, and frustrations, to draw up a final balance sheet and see what has been good and what is not good for us."

As for the absorption of EU funds, Milanović said that Croatia was still at the bottom.

The president called for permanent attentiveness in defining and identifying Croatia's interests.

I say this in order to introduce "creative restlessness" necessary for progress, said Milanović.

"This is not the time for revolutions and big decisions. This is the time for us to exercise permanent attentiveness in defining and identifying our interests," said Milanović.

In the coming period and in the years to come, Croatian politicians should observe what is going on around us, what our interests are and how much progress we make, and whether we are coming closer to the most prosperous countries in the European Union, said Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Milanović: Special Forces Are the Elite and Must Have a Spotless Reputation

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - President and Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović said on Friday on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the Special Forces that members of these units are the elite and their reputation has to be spotless.

"We need to remember that of the 75 of your friends, combatants, Croatian knights, who were killed, thirty of them were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and half of the remaining 45 probably had their roots in BiH," Milanović said.

"That was a time when Croatia was defended by sons from small communities and towns and the least of them came from downtown Zagreb and other large cities," he claimed. "We must not forget them. We must not forget their children and descendants. They are a part of us in another country and we must not betray them." 

We are not in alliances for them but for us

Milanović said that excellent skills can best be gained in cooperation and interaction with others. "Small nations and small armies cannot advance if they aren't in constant contact with what is on the outside, with what is different and open. That is the fate and imperative of small nations because a small nation that is closed within itself degenerates," he added.

"We aren't in all those alliances for their sake but our own," the president stressed.

National policy and security are an important priority and they are defined by the democratically elected government, concluded Milanović.

The president laid a wreath and lit a candle at a cross in front of a memorial room in the barracks in Delnice in honour of the members of the Special Forces who were killed. Tribute to the fallen soldiers was also paid by Brigadier General Perica Turalija on behalf of the Defence Ministry and Hungary's military attache to Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Page 1 of 19

Search