Thursday, 28 July 2022

Diplomat: Croatia Has Nothing Against Vučić's Visit To Jasenovac

ZAGREB, 28 July 2022 - Croatia's Ambassador to Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević, has said that the recent plans for Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić's visit to Jasenovac, the site of a WW2 concentration camp, disrespected diplomatic procedure but that the visit was not banned, contrary to the prevailing perception in Serbia.

"Concerning the reportedly planned private visit of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to Jasenovac, it is important to understand that standard diplomatic procedure were not respected," Biščević explained in an interview with the Belgrade-based NIN weekly newspaper.

"Croatia has nothing against (Vučić's) visit to Jasenovac. Croatia defined its attitude towards Jasenovac a long time ago and reiterated it many times by paying tribute to the victims and condemning the atrocities committed there," Biščević said, adding that the visit would be possible when the conditions were met so that it did not cause new polarisation but rather contributed to strengthening mutual understanding while taking into account reciprocity.

The ambassador warned that former Croatian inmates of prison camps in Vojvodina, where they had been taken by Serb forces from Croatia during the Homeland War in the early 1990s, had been denied the opportunity to visit the sites of those camps for years.

Biščević noted that Croatia and Serbia live and will probably continue to live in parallel histories for a long time to come, stressing at the same time that the politicisation of victims perpetuates the vicious circle of bilateral relations and that both countries should make an effort to end it, recalling the way France and Germany did it.

For more, check out our politics section.

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, 18 February 2021

Building Bridges Between Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia

February 18, 2021 – Appropriate government bodies of the three neighbours have come together and agreed to work together to improve bridges between Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia

We say building bridges between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. It's actually more a case of renovating and maintaining bridges between Croatia and the two neighbours to the east.

Despite what journalist Zdenko Jurilj describes as “constant political skirmishes” between the neighbours, in Vecernji List's coverage of this news, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers and the governments of Croatia and Serbia have reached an agreement to work together in the rebuilding, maintenance and review of bridges which connect them. According to the signed agreement, each party will share 50% of the costs without, as it says, "claiming compensation from the other party, unless otherwise agreed between them."

In other words, the cost of renovating bridges between Croatia and Bosnia will be half paid by Bosnia, half paid by Croatia, the cost of renovating bridges between Bosnia and Serbia will be half paid by Serbia, half paid by Bosnia.

According to the agreement between the three governments, equipment needed for the reconstruction and maintenance of the bridges will be exempt from customs duties. Bridge managers shall make a detailed inspection of each of the bridges at least once every five years and independent experts appointed by the bridges' trustees will inspect them each year.

There are 10 bridges between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina which will be jointly maintained. Most of them stretch between the countries across the Sava river, although a few cross over the Una, Maljevac and Korana rivers. A further 11 bridges between Serbia and Bosnia are within the agreement, making a total of 21 bridges to exist within the deal.

Although there are bridges between Croatia and Serbia (including at Ilok and Erdut in Slavonia), within the article published by Vecernji List there is no mention of an agreement to improve bridges between Croatia and Serbia. Following the optimistic and uplifting promise of the headline at the start of this news item, this fact is a rather more unfortunate metaphor on which to end it.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.