Monday, 4 April 2022

Plenković: Žigmanov's Being Elected to Parliament Important for Croats in Serbia

4 April 2022 - Tomislav Žigmanov's being elected to the Serbian parliament is extremely important for Croat representation, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday.

He wrote on Twitter that he congratulated Žigmanov this morning.

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman also congratulated Žigmanov on Twitter, but also warned that despite the seat won, Sunday's election was yet another one in which Serbia failed to comply with the 2005 bilateral agreement on the protection of national minorities.

He said the Croatian government would continue to insist on reciprocity at all government levels.

According to the first unofficial results of the election, Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV) president Žigmanov, the first on the coalition slate "Together for Vojvodina - Vojvodians", will be a member of the Serbian parliament.

In his first reaction, he said the coalition's pre-election activities had yielded the desired result and that the DSHV was politically relevant once again. He added that he was extremely satisfied with the results given that the election process had many deficiencies.

The coalition's slate had 26 candidates for the Serbian parliament who were supported by the League of Vojvodina Social Democrats and a number of prominent individuals and Croat associations in Vojvodina.

In order to secure a seat, they had to pass the so-called natural threshold or at least 10,000 votes. Ahead of the polls, the slate was supported by the Croatian government via the Foreign Ministry, several Croatian county heads and Croatian MPs.

Žigmanov thanked them for that and said the Croatian government would continue to have a reliable partner in him and the DSHV.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Jelena Milić Appointed New Serbian Ambassador to Croatia

ZAGREB, 17 March 2022 - Serbia's new;y appointed ambassador to Croatia is Jelena Milić, a long-standing civil society activist and former director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies, it was said in Belgrade on Wednesday.

Milić, born in 1965, was appointed by a decree of President Aleksandar Vučić which goes into force on Thursday.

From April 1997 until February 1999, Milić worked on a Serbian Helsinki Committee on Human Rights project for the return of Serb refugees to Croatia. 

In the late 1990s, she actively supported the non-violent Resistance movement, which contributed to the fall of Slobodan Milošević.

Milić established the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies in 2007 and was its executive director until its closure last year. The centr advocated Serbia's EU and NATO membership.

She is considered well-versed in Serbia's relations with the EU and NATO as well as in Russia's influence in the Western Balkans and the status of Kosovo.

Milić's appointment as Serbia's ambassador in Zagreb in the middle of campaigning for parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia has been condemned by the conservative right opposition.

The NADA coalition said that "because of decades of representing positions contrary to Serbia's interests, one can conclude that Croatia and NATO got an ambassador, not Serbia."

The Patriotic Bloc called Milić a "long-standing NATO lobbyist" and that her appointment was "a huge insult to the 250,000 expelled Krajina Serbs."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Intellias Moves Proposed Serbian Centre to Zagreb, Cites Pro-Russian Serbian Govt Views

March the 8th, 2022 - Intellias has posted on social media that it will now move its proposed Serbian development centre, which would have been located in the city of Novi Sad, to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, citing the Serbian Government's pro-Russian position as the reason for the decision.

The company took to Facebook to post the following:

''Dear colleages, partners, and followers,

As you probably know, we've been planning to launch a new development centre in Novi Sad, Serbia recently. However, taking into consideration the pro-Russian position of the Serbian government, we made a decision to move our delivery centre to Zagreb, Croatia.

The reaction of the international communities and governments to the recent events in Ukraine is extremely important to us. Especially when it comes to the countries where our offices are located.

On top of that, Croatia is home to a strong IT community and well-developed infrastructure More than 60,000 IT specialists work in the country. So, it's our strong belief that together we will be able to provide our clients with quality technology solutions and services. 

#StandWithUkraine''

 

For more, make sure to check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Zagreb IT Company Q Opening Office in Serbian Capital City

February the 22nd, 2022 - The very well known Zagreb IT company Q is vusy expanding its business by opening an office in the Serbian capital city of Belgrade.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this year, the Zagreb IT company Q has ambitious plans to employ 40-50 people who will work on global projects from neighbouring Serbia. After London and Zagreb, Belgrade is the third European city in which Q will expand its already impressive team of experts.

Their new Belgrade office will build on the one already open here in Zagreb, and the two facilities will work together on projects. Just like here in Croatia, in Serbia, Q will offer work in a fast-growing company with employees being put first with international projects and transparent communication.

"Here at Q, we've been cooperating with numerous IT experts from Croatia's immediate region for years now, and we've recognised Serbia as a market with quality staff to offer. We're sure that the opening of the headquarters in Belgrade will enable us to strengthen our presence and attract more top quality people. We're looking forward to gaining some new colleagues,'' pointed out the CEO of Q, Filip Ljubic.

They're now focused on Western Europe and the American market

The successful Zagreb IT company Q is already cooperating with a dozen experts from Serbia, as in these new collaborations it will be crucial for people to fit into the culture of Q. New employees will have a number of benefits at their disposal, including annual education budgets, special fees for working from home, choosing their own type of equipment, as well as private health insurance and a Fitpass.

In addition to all of the above, Q has announced that they will keenly listen to the needs of the market and their employees and, according to the feedback they receive, they'll continuously model the benefits to best suit them.

Experts from Serbia will join their colleagues on client projects such as Novartis, The Times, Manpower Group, Smart, Vaillant, BBC, Hilti and many others. This year, Q remains focused on the DACH region, the United Kingdom, the US and Canada, with continuous business expansion and progress.

It's worth mentioning that this Croatian company recently won its second consecutive award for the best employer in the category of medium-sized companies according to a survey conducted by MojPosao (MyJob), and at the Best Employer Brand Awards Adria competition, they stood out as the leading company in the field of employee satisfaction with as many as six awards.

For more, check out our business section.

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.

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