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. 

verdis_flag.jpg

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.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Vojvodina PM Says Another Crossing to be Opened on Serbia-Croatia Border

ZAGREB, 16 Aug 2021 - The prime minister of Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina, Igor Mirović, has said that conditions have been created to open a new border crossing between Serbia and Croatia to relieve some of the traffic pressure on the Zagreb-Belgrade highway.

"We have finished construction work on a new road, running from Jamena in Šid to the village of Račinovci in Croatia's territory. We have created conditions for another border crossing to be opened, which will be particularly important for citizens who want to avoid queuing at the Batrovci border crossing," Mirović said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

The Bajakovo-Batrovci border crossing is the busiest crossing on the border between Serbia and Croatia, particularly during the summer, when hundreds of thousands of people travel along the Zagreb-Belgrade highway on their way from Central and Western Europe to Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania.

Apart from that border crossing, there are seven other crossings on the Croatian-Serbian border - Bezdan-Batina, Bogojevo-Erdut, Bačka Palanka-Ilok, Neštin-Ilok, Šid-Tovarnik, Sot-Principovac 1 and Ljuba-Principovac 2.

For more, follow our travel section.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Anušić Promises Continued Financial and Political Support to Serbia Croats

ZAGREB, 17 June 2021 - Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić promised the continuation of Croatia's financial and political support to compatriots in Serbia, during his visit to the village of Bački Monoštor in northern Serbia on Wednesday.

The leaders of ethnic Croats, who received Anušić, said Croatia's help was key for the Croatian minority, the Vojvodina newspaper "Hrvatska Riječ" said on Wednesday.

Anušić and his associates visited the Monoštor parish house which will become with support from Croatia a place for gathering and promoting the culture and tradition of local Šokci gathered around the association Bodrog.

The county prefect said it was their duty to help their countrymen in Serbia, which Osijek-Baranja County has been doing for years.

"We are always ready to do that. Not only help financially but also stand behind you politically. Specifically, when we are talking about the Monoštor parish house, we will allocate additional funds for that project. You can count on us," Anušić said during a meeting with representatives of the Croatian community.

He said that ethnic communities in Croatia were getting support, so Serbia should also do that for their minorities and get more involved in the projects of Croats.

"Until that happens, we will, not only Osijek-Baranja County but also other counties in Croatia, help the projects of the Croatian National Council (HNV)," said Anušić, as carried by Hrvatska Riječ.

He said a meeting would be organized in Osijek to determine cross-border cooperation projects financed by the European Union, which are of interest to both Osijek-Baranja County and Croats in Serbia.

The support from Osijek-Baranja County is equivalent to the funds the HNV received from Serbia's budget, said HNV president Jasna Vojnić.

"Over the past four years, Osijek-Baranja County has provided €100,000, which is a fifth of the HNV's total budget and which how much the Republic of Serbia gives us," she said.

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Croatian President Zoran Milanović: "Serbia's Attempt to Equate Draža Mihailović With Tito Pathetic"

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that attempts to equate Serbian Chetnik leader Draža Mihailović with the anti-Fascist leader Josip Broz Tito  were pathetic.

During World War II Draza Mihailovic led the Chetnik movement whose members were Nazi collaborators and were held responsible for mass-scale war atrocities against non-Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and some other parts of the then Yugoslavia.

On Victory Day observed on 9 May, during a ceremony held in the National Theatre in Belgrade, two big pictures of Mihailović and Tito were displayed one by another on a video-wall, according to local media outlets. In attendance at that ceremony were Serbia's top officials including President Aleksandar Vučić.

This prompted the Croatian president to say today that Mihailović and Josip Broz Tito, who led the Partisan forces in that war, could not be equated.

"Mihailović was a mere fool. He was not the same as Ante Pavelić (the Fascist leader in Croatia during the Second World War), he was an opportunist and eventually war criminal," Milanović told the press in Zagreb.

As for Mihailović being posthumously decorated by U.S. President Harry Truman, Milanović said that the decoration had been awarded for the operation of rescuing 300 downed Allied airmen. "This is as if you were robbing a bank and then buying to someone a meat pie, pretending to have a big heart," said Milanović.

He went on to say that Chetniks were known for, atrocities, opportunism and cowardice and that they had faced the strongest resistance from Serbs, Montenegrins and Dalmatian Croatians.

He also accused Serbia's authorities of indoctrinating children and young people.

"Unfortunately, everything is delusion there in our neighbours," said Milanović, elaborating that a majority of the Croatians stayed at home during World War Two. "Being Home Guardsman (Domobran) is not at all a crime. It is o.k.," he said adding that a lot of fighters from the Croatian nation joined the Partisan troops, and only a small portion fought for the Axis powers and the (Pavelić-led) Ustasha movement.

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić Says Croatia Trying To Humiliate Serbia With Participation in Kosovo Force

ZAGREB, 7 May, 2021- Serbia wants to have good and fair relations with all neighbouring countries but Croatia's actions and statements by its officials are not expressions of respect for Serbia but an attempt to humiliate it, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Friday.

In a comment on the statement by Croatia's foreign minister that Croatia would increase the number of its troops in the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) because that was important for maintaining peace in the region and on disputes triggered by Serbian Minister of the Interior Aleksandar Vulin's statements, Vučić said that Croatia could have refused to serve in KFOR but opted to do the contrary "in order to additionally humiliate Serbia."

Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry stated earlier in the day that Serbia's strong reaction to the planned deployment of a greater number of Croatian troops in Kosovo was "a hysterical speculation" intended to divert attention from the introduction of the Bunjevci dialect as an official language in the northern Serbian town of Subotica, which it considers an attempt to fragment the Croat community in Serbia.

The Serbian president today wondered "why anyone would need to participate in the KFOR mission or brag about it", alluding to Croatia's involvement in the international peace mission.

"They could have refused to take part in KFOR, but they intentionally made that decision to additionally humiliate Serbia. We get the message," Vučić told Serbian reporters during a visit to Obrenovac.

In a message to Serbs in Kosovo, he said that they "should not worry" and that he would soon talk with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, stressing Serbia's commitment to avoid conflicts and maintain peace.

"My message to all those who think that there will be new Storms, new pogroms and expulsions - I guarantee that that will not happen," Vučić said in reference to the 1995 Croatian military and police operation that liberated areas previously held by local Serbs who rebelled against the Croatian authorities.

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

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Says Ambassador Hidajet Biščević Enjoys Government's Support

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Tuesday that Croatian Ambassador Hidajet Biščević enjoyed the support from the Croatian government, in his comment to the ethnic Croat leader's accusations against the diplomat.

Addressing a news conference in Petrinja, Minister Grlić Radman said that the experienced Croatian diplomat Biščević enjoyed the support of the government in Zagreb.

He says that exclusively Croatian institutions are in charge of assessing the performance of Croatian diplomats.

The minister said that the status of the Croatian community in Serbia is one of Biščević's priorities.

"Media speculations and such statements in media about Croatia's diplomats are not the best way of communication. Croatia's diplomacy does not deserve that and furthermore this could also be an indirect attempt from outside to impact the political relations in Croatia," said the minister who will travel to Subotica on Wednesday.

He also said that it was also inappropriate to disseminate reports against Biščević after the recent incident in which the Croatian flag was removed from the residence of the Croatian ambassador in Belgrade.

Following media reports about the criticism targeted against Biščević, President Zoran Milanović said that he would recall the ambassador for consultations to establish the truth.

Minister Grlić Radman also rejected Milanović's claims that it was him who appointed Grlić Radman to an ambassadorial post.

Grlić Radman said that he had been employed for diplomatic tasks for the first time in 1991 by the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman and since then he has been an official in the foreign ministry.

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

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

President Zoran Milanović to Recall Ambassador to Serbia Over His Alleged Disregard For Ethnic Croats

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - Croatia's President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that he would recall Croatian Ambassador to Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević, after the ethnic Croat leader Tomislav Žigmanov criticised the diplomat for working against the Croats in Serbia.

In the meantime media outlets have reported that Ambassador Biščević did not react to the developments in which ethnic Croats received death threats, and that he also failed to even telephone those members who received threats to express sympathy with them.

Žigmanov, who is the leader of the Democratic party of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), recently claimed that the Croatian ambassador had made a "tepid reaction" to attempts by Serbian authorities in Subotica to introduce the Bunjevci vernacular as an official language in that northern city and that the ambassador communicated with people whom Žigmanov described as persons "who are actively working on the destabilisation and dissolution of the (ethnic Croat) community."

All that prompted President Milanović to say today that he did not know whose policy Biščević "is pursuing there."

I cannot know whether all those headlines are true and I will summon him back to Zagreb for consultations, Milanović said in his address to the press at the Gašinci military range in eastern Croatia.

The Večernji List daily has reported that on 30 March, Žigmanov sent a letter to Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman to inform him that Biščević was working against the interests of the ethnic Croat community in Serbia.

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

Friday, 23 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Slams Removal of Croatian Flag From Ambassador's Residence in Belgrade

ZAGREB, 23 April, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday condemned the removal of the Croatian flag from the ambassador's official residence in Belgrade, saying that such incidents fomented an atmosphere of hate, hostility and intolerance.

"Such incidents are certainly not conducive to understanding (...) We hope and wish for the relations between Croatia and Serbia to be good because it makes sense that we should have stable relations," he told the press.

Croatian Ambassador Hido Biščević told N1 television on Thursday it was no accident that the Croatian flag was taken down from his residence and that the incident reflected "part of the atmosphere" in Serbian society, which he said continued to feed on hate speech.

Unknown persons removed the flag from the building which has video surveillance but no guards most likely on Wednesday morning, he said.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry said this was an "injudicious and isolated act," hoping that it "won't cast a shadow on efforts to set Serbia-Croatia relations on new foundations so that in future they can develop in the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation."

Grlić Radman said that because of such incidents "we can't say the relations have good prospects, we can't talk about a good future, but we must believe in a good future."

He announced that he will go to Subotica on 28 April for the laying of the cornerstone of a new Croatia House. His talks with local officials will also address an initiative, opposed by Croatian linguists, to declare the Bunjevci dialect an official language in that town in northern Serbia.

The minister reiterated that the initiative was contrary to the Croatia-Serbia agreement on the protection of national minorities.

He said that on 27 April the prime minister of the Vojvodina province, Igor Mirović, would visit Petrinja, struck by a devastating earthquake last December.

Serbia's EU path "goes also across Croatia"

The minister went on to say that Serbia's EU path "goes also across Croatia." Before Serbia joins, it is necessary to resolve the issue of the war missing, universal jurisdiction, and reparations for POWs, he said.

Serb representatives have three guaranteed seats in the Croatian parliament and Croatia wants Croats in Serbia to be represented as well, he added.

Serbia "must actively and strongly deal" with reforms, the fight against corruption, and the rule of law, he said.

Serbia was granted EU candidate status in March 2012 and began accession negotiations in January 2014.

Ambassadorial appointments

Although Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović have not yet agreed on the appointment of new ambassadors and consuls, Grlić Radman said he did not think the process was blocked and that there was "only one Croatian diplomacy."

He dismissed the possibility of a quota or a 50:50 model (between the president's and government's proposals). He said "agreement must be reached" and that one could talk about the list of candidates the government had sent the president, but that the government was not in favour of quotas.

He said the candidates were "professional diplomats who have proved themselves on the job."

Milanović, on the other hand, wants it to be known who is behind which ambassador for responsibility's sake, saying that this has been the practice before.

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

Page 1 of 2

Search