Friday, 21 January 2022

Serbia Keeps Insisting on Dual Heritage of Dubrovnik Literature

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - Serbian media outlets on Friday cited excerpts from a statement by Serbia's ministry of culture and information which insists on the dual heritage of Dubrovnik's literature, with Belgrade interpreting it as something that does not negate the fact that it also belongs to the Croatian heritage.

Serbia recently passed a law on cultural heritage which lays claim to the literature created in the 1358 -1808 Republic of Dubrovnik.

The adoption of the law was met with condemnation in Croatia. Today, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said that Serbia would suffer in its EU accession negotiations the consequences of appropriating the Croatian cultural heritage.

"Appropriating the Croatian cultural heritage is not in line with European values and the prospect Serbia has opted for, and there will certainly be consequences when certain chapters that are key to that, such as education, are opened," Grlić Radman told the press.

However, the Serbian Ministry of Culture issued a press release in which it insists on Dubrovnik's literature as an example of dual heritage and "the joint linguistic past and attitude towards the literary heritage," adding that such an example "recognizes the European values and prospects of good neighborly relations."

The adoption of the controversial law prompted the Croatian Embassy in Belgrade to send a protest note to the Serbian government due to its unacceptable attempt to usurp the Croatian cultural heritage and demanded a meeting with Serbian Minister Maja Gojković.

"We expect a response from the ministry and a meeting to be arranged," a source from the embassy told Hina.

Serbia's attempt to usurp Croatia's literary heritage is seen as mythomania and a perfidious act

Croatia's Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek has stated that the recent adoption of the Cultural Heritage Act by Serbia, which lays claim to old literature from Dubrovnik, was scandalous, calling on Belgrade to refrain from usurping Croatia's territory and cultural heritage.

"This is mythomania, this need to usurp Croatian cultural heritage, notably literature from Dubrovnik. That is unacceptable and professionally unfounded. They included in their law provisions according to which the Dubrovnik literature predating 1867 has some sort of dual affiliation, both Croatian and Serbian, which of course is complete nonsense," Obuljen Koržinek said last Sunday.

She said she expected Serbia to do away with such legal provisions and to "stop once and for all laying claim to our territory and our cultural heritage."

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler (HDZ/EPP) on Wednesday called for the European Commission to react to Serbia's Cultural Heritage Act.

Ressler said that was an obvious attempt to appropriate Croatia's cultural heritage and he has informed Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi and Culture Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. Ressler called for Croatia's heritage, as a member of the EU, to be protected and for a review of Serbia's compliance with obligations under Chapter 26 - Education and Culture - in its EU accession negotiations.

Serbia's authorities have been "perfidiously implementing a hybrid version of Serbia's policy towards its neighbors from the 1990s". If Serbia does not free itself and its people of "such poisonous reflexes," it will distance itself more and more from the European Union and European civilization," Ressler underscored in the press release.

The Croatian Language Institute condemned in the strongest terms the passing of Serbia's Cultural Heritage Act on 23 December, specifically the part on "old and rare library material" which consists of "Dubrovnik's literary editions which belong to both the Serbian and the Croatian culture up to the year 1867."

"Although the Serbian cultural and political public has often expressed the wish and need to lay claim to Croatian cultural assets," the institute said, making this stand official by law is "an additional aggressive step in laying claim to the Croatian cultural heritage."

It is a continuation of administrative, legal, and political procedures aimed at diminishing and laying claim to the Croatian linguistic and cultural heritage as part of common cultural assets, the institute said.

Other associations and cultural institutions, such as Croatia's PEN International Centre, also protested against the Serbian law.

"Croatia's International PEN Centre protests against Serbia's Cultural Heritage Act which lays claim to all of Dubrovnik's literature until 1867. The provisions under which literature from Dubrovnik belongs equally to both Serbian and Croatian culture are unfounded and unacceptable, as is the constant laying claim to Croatia's cultural heritage and space," the center said in a statement.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Pupovac: Peaceful Reintegration Helped Restore Inter-Ethnic Trust

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Thursday that the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region on 15 January 1998 marked "the peaceful end of the war in Croatia" and helped restore inter-ethnic trust.

The peaceful reintegration was based on two peace agreements - the Erdut Agreement, adopted as part of a wider package with the Dayton Agreement, and a document adopted on this date in which the UN Security Council approved the mandate of the UN transitional administration for the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia and defined the status and rights of Serbs in Croatia and their institutions, Pupovac said in Vukovar.

He said that the peaceful reintegration had not only brought peace but had also helped restore inter-ethnic trust.

"The restoration of trust between the majority Croats and the minority Serbs was a prerequisite, then as it is now, for the democratization of the country, emergence from the war and ethnic conflict, and the return of displaced Croats and Serb refugees," Pupovac said, noting that these achievements were sometimes valued too little.

He said that the peaceful reintegration, the Erdut Agreement, and the Letter of Intent had also laid the ground for mutual recognition of and cooperation between Croatia and Serbia. "That is very important for Croatia and the Serb community and for the relationship between Croatia and Serbia."

Those who have in the past years been hoping for "a peacetime Storm", trying to deprive the Serbs of their right to use Cyrillic alphabet and expel them based on criminal prosecution for war crimes, are actually working against the peaceful reintegration and the commitments arising from that process, Pupovac said.

He noted that Croatia, unlike some other countries of the former Yugoslavia, had emerged from the war as a reintegrated country thanks in part to people who led the peaceful reintegration process on behalf of the Serb community, such as the former Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Vojislav Stanimirović, for which he said he never received due recognition from some political circles, except President Tuđman.

Speaking of the anniversary of Croatia's international recognition, which is also marked on 15 January, Pupovac said that it was firmly connected with the issue of minority rights, especially the rights of the Serb minority.

He recalled that international recognition was preceded by the adoption of the constitutional act governing the rights of ethnic minorities, adding that all countries that had been advocating the international recognition of Croatia had demanded the adoption of an appropriate mechanism for the protection of minority rights.

The head of the Joint Council of Serb-majority municipalities (ZVO), Dejan Drakulić, said that the peaceful reintegration process was still ongoing because some issues of importance to the Serb community remained unresolved, citing autonomy in education and certain status issues. 

"Our task is to emphasize the importance of peaceful reintegration and the need to develop a more democratic and more tolerant society," Drakulić said.

The SNV and ZVO held a meeting in Vukovar to mark the anniversary of the peaceful reintegration of the Danube region and the international recognition of Croatia.

The peaceful reintegration process began on 15 January 1996 when the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1037, establishing a transitional administration for Eastern Slavonia. Retired US general Jacques Paul Klein was appointed transitional administrator. The process formally ended on 15 January 1998 with the UN handing over the administration of the region to Croatia.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Serbian Croat Minority Celebrates Its Holiday, SNV Supports It

ZAGREB, 18 Dec, 2021 - The Croat minority in Serbia faces many challenges but it has been making significant achievements and perseveres in protecting its unity, Croat National Council (HNV) head Jasna Vojnić said in Subotica, in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, on Friday. 

The HNV on Friday marked the day of the establishment of the first HNV, a holiday of the Croat minority in Serbia.

"The house where Count (Josip) Jelačić was born has been bought and is being renovated, offices have been secured to house the association of Croats in Belgrade, construction work on Croatian House has begun, the first crèche has been opened..." Vojnić said, speaking of the results of the current HNV.

Another, invisible achievement is the preserved unity among Croats in Serbia and their representatives becoming credible partners to the state institutions in Croatia, she added.

The event in Subotica was also attended by the deputy head of the Serb National Council (SNV), Croatian member of parliament Dragana Jeckov, who said that the Croat and Serb minorities shared many problems.

"When Croats in Serbia are attacked, Serbs in Croatia feel it very much and, I am sure, vice versa," she said.

"To all those who are not willing to give a helping hand to promote relations - stop and let us minorities live normally," she said.

The envoy of the Croatian prime minister, Milan Bošnjak, commended the ethnic Croat community's achievements and positive steps made by the Serbian authorities, but also warned of situations that make life for the Croat minority more difficult and harm bilateral relations.

In that context he mentioned the decision by the Subotica town government to declare the Bunjevci Ikavian dialect "an official non-Croatian language" and the fact that the issue of representation of Croats in the Serbian parliament had not been resolved yet.

"We look forward to the moment when a Croat will be elected to the Serbian parliament in a separate constituency," Bošnjak said.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Thousands of Serbian Citizens Applied for Croatian Passport

December 8, 2021 - In the last two years, 4,903 applications for the Croatian passport were received by the Ministry of the Interior. Of those, 2,982 were submitted by Serbian citizens.

Of the 4,903 applications received by the Interior Ministry this year and last year, Serbian citizens submitted 2,982 applications, followed by BiH citizens with 974 applications, and in the past 30 years 1.1 million foreign citizens have been granted Croatian citizenship by naturalization, Vecernji List reported on Wednesday.

Although it is due to expire in less than a month, on January 1 next year, the Parliament last Friday extended the deadline for submitting applications for Croatian citizenship by another year.

State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Žarko Katić also stated that 1,923 such requests for the Croatian passport were received in 2020, and 2,980 in the first 11 months of this year, adding that in some consular offices the deadline is several weeks and sometimes several months.

The electronic system of received applications for determining Croatian citizenship enables the provision of statistical data by the parameter of citizenship of the person submitting the application, and not by the place (consular office or diplomatic mission of the Republic of Croatia abroad) of submitting the application.

Who can apply for citizenship?

As a rule, the nationality of the person coincides with the state in which the application was made, with rare exceptions. For example, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Republic of Serbia can also apply in Germany if he is legally residing in that country for work, the Ministry of the Interior told Večernji list, followed by a numerical statement of data on requests received.

Out of the total number of applications for Croatian citizenship (4903) received at the Ministry of the Interior, after the Act on Amendments to the Act on Croatian Citizenship entered into force on 1 January 2020, the largest number of applications were submitted by citizens of Serbia ( 2982 requests), Bosnia and Herzegovina (974), Canada (212), the United States (135), Australia (98), the Federal Republic of Germany (87), Montenegro (77), the Republic of Slovenia (63), the Republic of Northern Macedonia (52), United Kingdom (42), France (18), Sweden (15).

Citizens of some other countries are represented with less than 10 applications for Croatian citizenship (Kosovo, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, etc.), according to a response from the Interior Ministry, Vecernji List reports.

Source: Index.hr

 For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Croatian PM Calls on Kosovo, Serbia to Hold Dialogue, Normalise Relations

ZAGREB, 15 Nov 2021 - Kosovo and Serbia should find a way to normalize relations and Croatia will support them in that, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Priština on Monday.

"Croatia's stand is that we support stability, that we are for de-escalating all the tensions we have seen in recent weeks, that it's first of all up to Serbia and Kosovo to find the optimal way to resume dialogue and respect either the existing agreements or reach new agreements which will make the relations better," Plenković said at a joint press conference with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

Croatia is interested in developing relations with Kosovo and normalizing the relations with Serbia as much as possible, Plenković said. "We will do our best to support normalization between Kosovo and Serbia."

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Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković with Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti. (Photo: @AndrejPlenkovic/Twitter)

Kurti invited Serbia to mutual recognition of the two countries, saying that they should talk about the disappeared.

"We want to join NATO and the EU. It's necessary to make progress in the Euro-Atlantic integration process," he added.

Plenković said Croatia supported EU enlargement and that the road to membership represented "a clear anchor and course of political, social, economic and sectoral development."

"Serbia's European perspective is equal to that of all Southeast European countries, he added.

Serbia is conducting EU accession negotiations, while Kosovo has not been recognized by five EU member states - Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain - so Serbia, Plenković said, "is several steps ahead of Kosovo."

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Photo: @AndrejPlenkovic/Twitter

He is confident the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue with the EU's mediation will bring them closer to membership and "eventually, I don't know when bringing to mutual recognition. But it's up to the states to agree on that."

A meeting was held between Plenković, Kurti, their delegations, and the two countries' business people, including representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Ericsson Nikola Tesla and KONČAR - Electrical Industry.

Before the pandemic, Croatia-Kosovo trade was €100 million annually. Croatia is Kosovo's seventh biggest foreign trade partner.

Plenković said the relations between the two countries were "friendly, full of understanding and the wish to intensify them."

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Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic with President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani. (Photo: @AndrejPlenkovic/Twitter)

He also met with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, who presented him with the Saint Theresa presidential medal.

The medal was also given to Josip Samardžić, director of the general hospital in Slavonski Brod which treated the passengers from a Kosovo bus that crashed near the Croatian city in July. Ten people were killed in the accident.

Plenković was also received by Kosovo Parliament Speaker Glauk Konjufca.

Later today he will visit the Croat community in Janjevo and the Croatian contingent within the NATO-led peacekeeping Kosovo Force.

This is the first official visit by a Croatian prime minister to Kosovo in ten years.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: Serbian Textbooks' Negation of Existence of Croatian Language Outrageous

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that Serbian textbooks' denial of the Croatian language was outrageous and unacceptable.

"The embassy, the foreign ministry and all the relevant institutions have a clear duty to send protest notes to Serbia," Plenković told the press after he met junior partners in the ruling coalition in Zagreb.

"We consider it a shameful policy," he added.

On Monday, the political leadership of Croats in Serbia condemned the denial of the Croatian language in grammar books for eighth-graders. According to the local Croat-language weekly "Hrvatska riječ", a grammar book for eighth-graders by a group of authors says that the Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian and Bulgarian languages are South Slavic languages while "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak or Montenegrin." The textbook was approved by the Serbian Institute for the Promotion of Education, the weekly said.

Plenković said today that Croatia expected Serbia to rectify such anomalies in its grammar books.

He added that he would also convey Croatia's position on the matter to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić who is expected to attend a two-day EU-Western Balkans summit, which begins on Tuesday afternoon in Slovenia.

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

Monday, 4 October 2021

Eighth-Graders in Serbia Taught That Croatian Language Does Not Exist

ZAGREB, 4 Oct 2021 - The political leadership of Croats in Serbia on Monday condemned the denial of the Croatian language in grammar books for eighth-graders, noting that examples like this one show why negative sentiments among young people in Serbia about Croats should not be surprising.

The Croatian language in Serbia does not exist, Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) head Tomislav Žigmanov said, adding that "this is just the tip of the iceberg of the social context affecting the status of Croats in Serbia."

According to the local Croat-language weekly "Hrvatska riječ", a grammar book for eighth- graders by a group of authors says that the Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian languages are South Slavic languages while "Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak or Montenegrin."

The textbook was approved by the Serbian Institute for the Promotion of Education, the weekly says, noting that it had contacted the competent institutions in that regard.

"As regards language as a linguistic and political category, our position is that it is up to the authors of the textbook to provide an explanation. The matter is covered sufficiently in textbooks and there are also experts on the Serbian language at the Institute who check textbooks," the Committee for the Standardisation of the Serbian Language said in its reply to the weekly, among other things.

"The Serbian education system denies our language. We should therefore not be surprised by the views of children who are taught from such books," the DSHV said in a Twitter post, with Žigmanov citing as an example of the negativity associated with Croats the declaration of the Bunjevci ikavian dialect as an official, non-Croatian language in Subotica in May this year.

The Subotica Town Council earlier this year amended the town statute to declare the Bunjevci dialect one of the four official languages in that town, along with Serbian, Croatian and Hungarian. The demand for declaring its speech an official language in Subotica was made by the Bunjevci community, which denies its belonging to the Croatian people.

"It is a paradox that Croatian, an official EU language, is being denied in Serbia and that the status of an official language is awarded to the so-called Bunjevci language, which is not recognized anywhere else in the world and cannot be recognized in the full sense of that word," Žigmanov said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 20 September 2021

Verdis Republic: New Self-Proclaimed Neighbour of Croatia

September 20, 2021 - Just like Liberland, another state entity saw an opportunity in unclaimed territories between the borders of Serbia and Croatia. Meet the Verdis Republic.

Despite defending its territory and sovereignty in an armed conflict back in the '90s, Croatia still has some unclear territorial issues. 

Back in 2015, a Czech citizen, Vit Jedlicka, used a piece of territory that was claimed neither by Croatia nor Serbia to good use and made himself a president of Liberland. 

„We now have 40 future embassies, a working government, a stable source of income through voluntary taxation, and a clear vision about the development of Liberland. I just finished interviews with Huffington Post and Prague Post, so there is a large ongoing interest from people, as well as from the media, in Liberland“, Jedlicka told TCN in 2015.

After only six months of existence justified by the Terra Nullius law (the first person to lay claim to unclaimed sovereign land has rights to it), Liberland allegedly had 300,000 citizenships applications, and Jedlicka granted 130 of them to people who actually managed to come to the territory of the land

„The reason why neither side had claimed the waterfront plot was simple. When discussing borders, Serbia declared it wanted everything to the east of the Danube and had no interest in anything to the west. Croatia, by contrast, wanted to stick to the land register borders of the 19th-century map when the Danube flowed differently. As there was more land on the Serbian side, they laid claim to that, meaning they did not take up any claim on what was soon to become Jedlicka's Liberland“, explained Paul Bradbury in 2019 when he wrote about four years of Liberland's existence.

But as the Liberland territory isn't the only no-man's land around the Danube region, a new state most recently wants to get the land for itself. 

„Verdis, officially the Free Republic of Verdis, is a sovereign-state claiming an uninhabited parcel of disputed land locally named as pocket 3 of the Croatia-Serbia border dispute on the western bank of the Danube, close to 'Liberland', between Croatia and Serbia. It plans to be a largely environmentally conscious and humanitarian state in Europe. The Free Republic of Verdis is currently aiming for international recognition and a permanent inhabitance on its land claim. With Verdis being the first entity to lay claim to its land-claim, it makes the land-claim legally belong to Verdis even after the Croatian-Serbian border dispute ends. This is due to international law“, says the website of the new neighbor to Croatia and Liberland.

Verdis currently only exists as a website (which tries to get as much attention as possible by contacting various news outlets such as Večernji List) but already has 1,040 citizens. Most of them are Croats and Serbs. So far, nobody lives in the territory, but there are already big plans and ideas of how the state will function. 

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Verdis Flag © Free Republic of Verdis
„The population of Verdis is to be divided into Representative groups, each of these groups will have 150 people in them, and there will be 100 groups in total. Every two years a representative elected by their group will sit at the House of Representatives. Here laws and regulations are voted upon. Laws that a majority of the House of Representatives agree to pass are sent to the President to sign. If the President signs the proposed law it will come into effect. If the president does not choose to sign the law, the House of Representatives might have to change parts of the law or persuade the President to pass it“, says the Verdis website.

With the plan so far, Verdis will have 13 ministries and the department of the president. As Večernji List learns, the current president is Daniel Jackson, who, despite the fact you can't vote until you are 18 neither in Croatia or Serbia, is currently 16.

„16-year Daniel Jackson that presented himself as a temporary president hopes that in five to ten years, Verdis will achieve international recognition and have enough money to settle on territory which he claims permanently“, says Večernji List. They add that in order to get citizenship, you need to pay 16 dollars. Jackson also told Večernji List that he has never been to the Verdis territory so far, only negotiated to sail through Dunav, but that the coronavirus pandemic slowed down the whole thing. He also pointed out that all his current endeavors are done with respect to international law. Verdis has also issued several passports.

 The aforementioned environmentally conscious republic has several ideas on how to make this new country eco-friendly right from the start.

„The Government of Verdis has shown increased interest in establishing hydroelectric whirlpools. Although these HW's are small, a single one can power up to 60 homes. They are small, cheap, easy to manage, and are harmless to the environment. This is the most positive plan for Verdisian electricity. As it will take time for Verdis to establish its self-sustained electricity, the government plans to rely on neighboring sovereign-states by paying for essentials until further established“, says the Verdis website.

They add that buildings themselves will be done in a modern and environmentally-conscious design. They will be built as high-rises to ensure more space on the ground.

„This will allow a large population in such a small area while also allowing a normal and decent life in such a small area similar to Monaco“, the new government promises as the president collects money to actually come and visit his country to be.

Friday, 17 September 2021

DANUP-2-Gas Project: Danube Countries United in Introducing Renewable Energy

September 17, 2021 - The DANUP-2-Gas Project, developing renewable energy opportunities for all Danube countries, is set to hold a stakeholder event on September 28 at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Engineering and Computing (FER).

The beautiful Danube region in Slavonia, apart from boasting natural beauty, also has a lot of historical and archaeological significance. This is evident with the European Commission having recognised the ''Iron Age Danube Route'' earlier this year.

That being said, the Danube river also boasts a political and economic factors, the one that unites all the countries through which the Danube flows. One form of such international cooperation is the DANUP-2-GAS project.

''The Danube region holds huge potential for sustainable generation and the storage of renewable energy. However, to date, this region has remained highly dependent on energy imports, while energy efficiency, diversity and renewables share are low. In line with the EU climate targets for 2030 and the EUSDR PA2 goals, DanuP-2-Gas will advance transnational energy planning by promoting generation and storage strategies for renewables in the Danube region by coupling electric power and the gas sector,'' says the official website of Interreg Danube which is handling the project.

In an effort to achieve their goals, the DANUP-2-Gas project aims to bring together energy agencies, business actors, public authorities, and research institutions to join the cause.

The project started on the July 1 2020, and it will last until the end of 2022. So far, 24 institutions from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and of course Croatian partners have begun cooperating for DANUP-2-Gas, united by the geographical fact that the Danube connects them all. The Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute (EIHP), the International Centre for the Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, and the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) are the project's Croatian representatives. Check out the full list of partners in the project here.

As (EIHP) reported on its website, September 28 will be an important date for the DANUP-2-Gas project as FER will hold a stakeholder event from 09:30 to 12:30, the lectures held in English will explain the potential of the project, as well as the uses and benefits of renewable energy in the hope of encouraging more support.

The event is imagined as a hybrid event, being held partly online and partly in person, but as EIHP warns, there is a risk of the event ending up being held entirely online, depending on the epidemiological situation.

''Based on the platform developed during the DTP project ENERGY BARGE, it will incorporate all pre-existing tools and an atlas, mapping previously unexamined available biomass and energy infrastructure. Further, a pre-feasibility study utilising an optimisation tool for efficient hub design will identify suitable locations for sectors coupling hubs and a combination of two idle resources in the Danube region.

The unused organic residue (e.g., straw) will be processed to biochar for easy transport along the Danube river and as the basis for synthesis gas generation. Adding hydrogen produced from surplus renewable energy allows for the upgrading of this syngas to a renewable natural gas. This will enable the storage of surplus energy in the existing gas distribution grid, increasing energy security and efficiency. All of the resources required for this process are available in the Danube region and the ten partner countries,'' the Interreg Danube website stated, elaborating the positive changes it is attempting to achieve.

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Branko Bačić: Vučić's Call is a Provocation, Illegal to Hang Out Another Country's Flag

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that the call by Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić to "Serbs in all Serb lands" to hang out their Serb flags on 15 September, wherever they may be, is inappropriate, unacceptable and a provocation.

"I consider that to be a provocation and inappropriate, all the more so, because it is in violation of the law," Bačić told reporters in the Croatian Parliament, citing the Public Law and Order Act which says that displaying other countries' flags is not allowed.

I expect the Serb community to respect the law

"I expect that our fellow citizens and members of the Serb community in Croatia will respect its laws," said Bačić, underscoring that it is inappropriate and unacceptable for the "president of Serbia to call on citizens of Croatia, notably members of the Serb community in Croatia, to hang out Serbian flags in Croatia on 15 September."

Asked if the police would monitor that, Bačić said that the Croatian police perform their duties according to the law and that he believes that this will be the case tomorrow too.

"It is not particularly hard to check if someone has displayed the flag of another country in their window," said Bačić.

He rejected claims from the opposition that the government should have reacted more sharply to Vučić's call and that it did not do so because of the cooperation with its coalition partner, the Independent Serb Democratic Party (SDSS).

He underlined that HDZ is cooperating properly with its coalition partners. "The ruling majority is stable but that does not mean that we will pass over this kind of call, merely because we are in a coalition with members of national minorities," he said.

Bačić would not comment on a statement by SDSS MP Milorad Pupovac that all Serb minority institutions should hang out the Serbian flag alongside the Croatian flag and that he saw Vučić's call as an encouragement and not as an imposition.

Ruling majority is stable

Ahead of the autumn sitting of the Sabor, Bačić said that the ruling majority is stable and that the government has full support in addressing numerous challenges, from economic recovery and the fight against the pandemic to the reconstruction of earthquake-struck areas.

He expects the government to adopt amendments to the Reconstruction Act by the end of the month to accelerate the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and the Banovina region.

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

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