Monday, 31 May 2021

President Talks Election Results, Statehood Day

ZAGREB, 31 May 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Monday, commenting on the results of yesterday's local elections, that the biggest change had occurred in Zagreb.

"There is a change in Split, too, but a little different. The biggest change is in Zagreb. 65% of people voted for one group which is very liberal (...). Some of their ideas are experimental even for Copenhagen. That's a whole spectrum of green-left ideas which have found an audience and communicators in someone else, and once that was solely the SDP," he told the press.

Asked about the Zagreb mayoral campaign of the Homeland Movement, the president commented on the party's name and its president Miroslav Škoro.

"There is no homeland movement. A homeland movement can't be led by someone who fled from Osijek to America, drifting among various ex-pat clubs, but not Croatian ones (...) That's not a homeland movement, I don't recognize that. It's usurpation. That (term) should be protected, like the Croatian name."

Enforcing public holidays isn't good

Milanović also commented on the marking of Statehood Day on 30 May, saying that such "enforcing of public holidays" and of collective consciousness and emotions was not good.

He said that the date was imposed in 1991 as a holiday of the HDZ party and was later changed by politician Vlado Gotovac.

"Then comes Plenković, who has the need to prove that he has always been in the HDZ, despite hitching a ride at the last minute, and enforces, with a simple majority, a public holiday which is really a party holiday."

Milanović said he could accept 30 May as Croatian Parliament memorial day, which it had been for 20 years, but not as Statehood Day. In Croatia, one can only talk about Independence Day, which all European states have, he added.

"What kind of statehood are we talking about if it was created one Sunday in 1990 because one party won, by one election law, the majority in the parliament of a socialist republic within one multinational federation?"

Milanović said young people should be told the truth which, he added, was not bad for Croatia at all.

"Our path was just, fair, and eventually successful. As long as Croatian boys, based on decisions of Croatian bodies in Croatian people's defense secretariats, were conscripted by the JNA (Yugoslav People's Army) for their military service, it's pointless to talk about independence or statehood as the HDZ sees it."

Only when that stopped, which it did after the lining up of the Croatian National Guard (in Zagreb in 1990), not one more young Croatian boy served in the JNA, Milanović said. "That's the divide."

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

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Cardinal Bozanić Underlines Importance of Truth About Croatian People's Past

ZAGREB, 30 May, 2021 - The Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, on Sunday celebrated Homeland Mass on the occasion of Statehood Day, underlining the importance of examining the truth about the Croatian people's past and its path to freedom.

Speaking of the Croatian people's past 30 years, Bozanić said that "so many times we close our eyes and hearts, letting that past be distorted."

Congratulating the Croatian people and believers on Statehood Day, he said every people was called upon to read its history in relation to God's plan and His acts. "In the past of the Croatian people, there are many reasons that lead to admiration. In all of its history, including the past three decades, there is a history of unity with God."

Bozanić said the truth about the past should be the foundation of the Croatian present as well as all future efforts.

"There is no political freedom without the freedom of the spirit," he said, calling for opposing enticing offers of well-being which spread selfishness and lef to slavery and the destruction of the spirit.

The service was attended by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, ministers Tomo Medved, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Tomislav Ćorić, Radovan Fuchs and Gordan Grlić Radman, the apostolic nuncio, Monsignor Giorgio Lingua, army and policy members, and other believers.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Congratulates Croatia on Statehood Day

ZAGREB, 30 May, 2021 - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday congratulated Croatia on Statehood Day, saying the relationship between the two countries was defined by shared values and thanking it for the close military cooperation.

"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of Croatia as you celebrate your Statehood Day," Blinken said in a statement on the Department of State website.

"The United States and Croatia are steadfast Allies and partners, and our relationship is defined by shared values that help us progress on critical fronts, including strengthening trade and investment ties, enhancing energy security, and confronting the climate crisis," he said.

"This year, we also commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces, and the United States offers its thanks for the decades of close military cooperation our two countries have enjoyed," Blinken said

"Our thriving defense partnership is evidenced by our continued participation in joint and NATO training exercises (...)  A valued NATO Ally, Croatia is an important contributor to both Transatlantic security and European prosperity."

Croatia was also congratulated by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, who said in a video message on the U.S. Embassy Zagreb Twitter account that "our people-to people links are stronger than ever."

"We value the contributions that Croatian Americans have made to our ties through the years. And every year more and more American tourists discover the beauty of your Adriatic coastline and other sites. We hope that those numbers will increase," he said, adding that "the best days of our bilateral relationship lie ahead of us."

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Jandroković Extends Statehood Day Greetings, Calls for New Unity

ZAGREB, 30 May, 2021 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Sunday extended greetings on Statehood Day, calling for new unity and realising the vision of a Croatia with quality living for all Croatian people as an obligation to all who contributed to the creation of the Croatian state and freedom.

Faced with the challenges of the present and the biggest crisis since the Homeland War, caused by the pandemic and devastating earthquakes, we are called upon to achieve new unity, just as during the establishment and building of the state, Jandroković sad.

Together, we wish to realise the vision of a Croatia whereby we will enable quality living for all Croatian people, protect their health and rebuild homes, ensure that they stay and make the economy competitive and crisis-resilient. We also need to be connected with and care for Croats abroad, he said.

By celebrating Statehood Day, we observe the inauguration of the first democratically elected multi-party parliament on 30 May 1990, which was a key step in the realisation of the Croatian people's centuries-long striving for its own free and independent state, said Jandroković.

Many contributed to the realisation of that goal, but defenders, the families of killed and missing defenders and the first president, Franjo Tuđman, deserve special gratitude, he said, adding that today one should also remember all those who participated in the creation, defence and affirmation of Croatia in various ways.

Today, when we live in a modern and democratic state, a member of the European Union and NATO, we have the obligation to teach new generations that the Croatian state and freedom were not granted but won in war, struggle and sacrifice, Jandroković said.

But, he added, it is because of young people that we must turn to the future and ensure for all our citizens the best life possible.

The development and progress of modern technologies, the issue of demographic revitalisation, environmental protection and the ecology, youth mobility, security and stability are our challenges as well as opportunities, Jandroković said.

An opportunity for Croatia to be a successful country of satisfied people by strengthening solidarity in society and responsibly governing the state, focused on problem solving. In doing so, we must not forget to cultivate the rich cultural heritage and protect our Christian values. That's our obligation to all the killed and missing defenders and civilians as well as members of their families, thanks to whom today we can proudly celebrate Statehood Day, he added.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

PM Issues Statehood Day Message

ZAGREB, 30 May, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday issued his Statehood Day message in which he underscored the importance of the first multiparty parliament, established on 30 May 1990, for the following period of Croatia and he pointed out the importance of the post-pandemic and post-quake recovery.

Croatia is observing Statehood Day on Sunday in memory of 30 May 1990 when, after decades of communist rule, the foundations of the modern Croatian parliament, the Sabor, were created and its historic role in the preservation of Croatian statehood was confirmed.

"Statehood Day has great importance for all of us, because the foundation of the first democratically elected multiparty Sabor on this day in 1990, meant the birth of a Croatian democracy," Prime Minister Plenković said in his message, extending his best wishes to Croatia's citizens in the country and abroad on the occasion of this public holiday.

On this day 31 years ago, Croatia restored its sovereignty after centuries-long strugle for its own state and since then the Croatian people has been managing its state in a democratic way, he added.

Plenković recalled all the challenges Croatia has weathered to date, including the 1991-1995 Homeland War, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 devastating earthquakes, and underscored that "Croatia can be proud of its achievements in last three decades of its independence."

"We established the institutions of a democracy, gained international recognition, set up a respectable army, defended and liberated our homeland, reconstructed the war-ravaged areas and built a modern state that is now a member of NATO and of the European Union which we already chaired. We have restored the economy and enabled investments in the upgrade of the infrastructure."

The priorities in the coming period are the recovery of the economy at a faster rate and the post-quake reconstruction.

"We are committed to the implementation of a set of necessary reforms and investments that will improve the living standards of our citizens and further modernise our economy and make it more competitive and resilient to future crises."

For that purpose we will make use in the best possible way of 24 billion euros of EU funds put at Croatia's disposal, the premier promised.

We will continue developing our democracy, solidarity, tolerance in the society as well as social responsibility, he added.

Croatia is on the right track to join the passport-free Schengen area and the euro area in the next years, which will make Croatia's European Union integration deeper and also strengthen the security along the Croatian borderlines, as well as bolster the national economy, he says in his Statehood Day message.

Plenković thanked Croatian war veterans for their sacrifice during the Homeland War in which Croatia defended itself against the Great Serbia aggression. 

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Croatia Celebrating Statehood Day

ZAGREB, 30 May, 2021 - Croatia is observing Statehood Day on Sunday in memory of 30 May 1990 when, after decades of communist rule, the foundations of the modern Croatian parliament , the Sabor, were created and its historic role in the preservation of Croatian statehood was confirmed.

This year Statehood Day is being observed on the 31st anniversary of the inauguration of Croatia's first democratic and multi-party parliament at which Žarko Domljan was elected speaker.

The inauguration of the new Sabor of the then still Socialist Republic of Croatia was performed "in an exceptionally festive atmosphere," historian Ivo Perić says in a book on the Croatian parliament.

Stjepan Mesić was elected chairman of the Sabor's Executive Committee and Franjo Tuđman chairman of the Socialist Republic of Croatia Presidency.

Addressing the MPs on that occasion, Tuđman said that throughout history "the Croatian state parliament was the guardian of the sovereignty (except from 1918 to 1941) of the Croatian people in relation to other national and state communities."

The first Sabor had 351 members and three councils - the Municipalities Council, the Associated Labour Council and the Social-Political Council.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) had 207 seats, the League of Communists of Croatia - Party of Democratic Changes 107, the Coalition of People's Accord 21, and the Serb Democratic Party five, while 13 were independent and ethnic minority MPs.

The 1990 parliament was in office a little over two years. Elections for its House of Representatives were held in August 1992 and the new Sabor was unicameral and had 138 MPs.

Independently of that and the fact that it served part of its term in wartime, the first parliament adopted historic decisions on Croatia's sovereignty and independence, on severing state and legal ties with the Yugoslav federation, as well as the 1990 Christmas Constitution.

This year is the second in a row in which Croatia is observing Statehood Day on 30 May. Two years ago that was Croatian Parliament Day, a memorial and working day, while Statehood Day was observed on 25 June, a public holiday and non-working day.

In 2019, the HDZ majority in parliament reinstated 30 May as Statehood Day as it was in the 1990s.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Niagara Falls Lit Up in Croatian Colors To Celebrate Statehood Day (VIDEO)

May 30th, 2021 - To mark Croatian Statehood Day, the American Niagara Falls lit up in Croatian colors for the first time in history, twice during the evening of May 29th.

Dalmatinski Portal reports, the beautiful night illumination in red, white, and blue lasted from 9 pm to 9:15 pm and from 10 pm to 10:15 pm East Coast time, which in Croatian time falls on the Statehood Day itself, on May 30 in the early morning hours.

Niagara Falls was illuminated by several hundred LED lights, which light up at dusk, every night of the year. Throughout the year, the waterfalls are specially illuminated to mark significant occasions and holidays and as a sign of support to numerous organizations and associations.

This attractive event, which will further draw attention to Croatia as a desirable tourist destination preferred by Americans, was done at the initiative of the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in New York with the support and engagement of the Croatian Tourist Board.

'With this initiative, we wanted to symbolically mark the connection and strategic partnership between the Republic of Croatia and the United States, from culture, sports, and science to foreign policy, defense, and economy. Croatian emigrants are especially deserving of promoting ties and cooperation between their homeland and the country in which they found their new home', said the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in New York, Nikica Kopačević.

The ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States Pjer Šimunović, the Mayor of Niagara Falls Robert Restaino, the Military Envoy of the Republic of Croatia to the United States Brigadier General Tomislav Galić, the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in Los Angeles Renee Pea, the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in Chicago Sanja Laković, pastor of the Croatian Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Bistrica, Lackawan, New York Rev. Christopher Ćorić and other members of the Croatian community from the state of New York.

‘This special event is important in promoting our country as an attractive tourist destination in the US market. The interest of Americans in our destinations is growing from year to year, which is confirmed by the two newly introduced direct airlines that connect Dubrovnik and New York this season, which makes us better connected with the United States than ever before. We have achieved more than 80,000 overnight stays from this market so far this year, and numerous announcements from our partners suggest that good trends from the US market will continue in the future,' concluded CNTB Director Kristjan Staničić.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

SDP Chief Says Gov't Only Reform Is Reform Of Holiday Calendar

ZAGREB, May 30, 2020 - Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardic said on Saturday, on the occasion of Statehood Day, that the only reform implemented by the government led by Andrej Plenkovic was the reform of the holiday calendar.

Offering his congratulations to Croatians for Statehood Day, Bernardic noted that Statehood Day was again observed on May 30 by a decision of the incumbent government.

"Holiday dates change, corruption stays, corruption was and remains the trademark of this government, led by the HDZ," said Bernardic, adding that he could not help but think that the latest arrests in a case involving the construction of a wind park were politically motivated and served to divert public attention from the "latest scandals involving (ministers) Bosnjakovic, Coric and INA" and create the impression ahead of elections that state institutions were doing something about corruption.

"Everyone knows that this is the most corrupt government in Croatia's history and that 11 of its ministers had to go because of suspicion of corruption," Bernardic said at the Mirogoj cemetery, where together with other leaders of the RESTART coalition he laid wreaths.

"That topic is irrelevant," he said when asked by reporters if his coalition would, when it came to power, change the holiday calendar.

"The most important topic at the moment is how to save jobs, increase wages and bring back to the country more than 150,000 people who have emigrated," he said.

Croatia will have to wait for money from the EU

Bernardic believes that Croatia will have to fight hard for the 10 billion euros to be allocated by the EU for the country to salvage its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"That money has to pass certain bodies, it is just a proposal by the European Commission and we will have to wait for it, Croatia has unfortunately overslept its EU presidency and fortunately Germany is taking over on July 1," said Bernardic, describing Croatia's EU presidency as inactive.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Milanovic: I'm Not Boycotting Statehood Day Commemoration, It's Election Rally

ZAGREB, May 30, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic said on Saturday, after a wreath-laying ceremony at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery on the occasion of Statehood Day, that he was not boycotting the commemoration of that day, but that it was an election rally and a promise by a political administration that was now being fulfilled.

"This is an election rally. I am not boycotting anything. This is a promise by a political administration that is now fulfilling it. I consider that legislative decision a boycott of common sense and of the will of the majority of people in this country," the president said.

He added that on 30 May 1990 a multi-party parliament was elected in democratic elections in which the absolute majority was held by a political party that had been supported by a relative minority of Croatian voters.

"That cannot be everyone's holiday. There were other parties as well. To single it out as a holiday of Croatian statehood is very pretentious. To start with, you should find something that does not bother anyone. And by that I mean a vast majority," Milanovic said, adding that Victory Day (August 5) was much more important than May 30 as well as that in the independence referendum of May 19, 1991, practically all Croatians had voted.

Asked why he was then commemorating May 30, he said that he was doing it out of respect for the dead.

"That is the minimum of conciliatoriness and respect I will always show because after all, this decision was adopted by the parliament, however, as we know, the parliament can pass any decision with a majority based on defectors. That is what I said half a year ago, that is my position and I am now showing it this way," he said.

Milanovic did not join today PM Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic in laying a wreath at the grave of first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman at Mirogoj.

He also confirmed that he would not attend any of the commemorative events to be held later in the day.

Milanovic on impeachment: Go ahead and do it

Asked about senior HDZ official Vladimir Seks' statement that a procedure should be launched to remove Milanovic from office over his position on Statehood Day, Milanovic said "He should go ahead and do it."

"Nobody has ever voted for Mr Seks, code name "Sova" (Owl). He has been one of the very negative figures in Croatia in the last 30 years, leaving behind a negative institutional trace that is difficult to remove. Let him do it. Who knows, maybe someone will launch an investigation into responsibility for war crimes committed in Osijek," said Milanovic.

He also said that the current parliament had made the decision on Statehood Day solely for the purpose of elections.

"You do it because you can. You have bought defectors' votes. Someone else will come and I hope they will be sensible enough not to insist on imposing their own will and choosing something that bothers half the Croatian people. That's not the way to do it," said Milanovic.

Asked about Friday's arrests, including those of state-owned Hrvatske Sume forest management company CEO Krunoslav Jakupcic and Public Administration State Secretary Josipa Rimac, and if he believed they, too, were part of the election campaign, Milanovic said that many people were arrested.

"They are all actually members of the ruling party. This is now assuming the proportions of an epidemic. What I have seen is not entirely clear to me because it seems an investigation was compromised. I would like to believe that the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) has arguments (to support the case) because if it does not, it will be ridiculed," he said.

Milanovic recalled that during his term as Prime Minister, one government member had been dismissed but that there had been no such cases as the current ones, and that DORH officials had not been appointed on the last day of the parliament's term but well into it.

"I want that difference to be noted," he said.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

After Almost Two Decades Croatia Again Celebrates Statehood Day on 30 May

ZAGREB, May 30, 2020 - In 2020, after almost two decades, Croatia again celebrates Statehood Day on May 30, as it had done in the first decade of its existence.

This year Statehood Day is celebrated on the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the first multi-party parliament on 30 May 1990, when the foundations of the modern Croatian Parliament were laid and its historic role in preserving Croatian statehood was confirmed after decades of the Communist rule.

Until last year, May 30 was observed as the Day of the Croatian Parliament, a memorial day and a working day, while Statehood Day was celebrated on June 25 as a public holiday and nonworking day.

Since 2001, when the SDP-led coalition government changed the public holiday calendar, all governments endeavored to appropriately observe the new dates, however, ordinary citizens never embraced the new holidays in the same way Statehood Day was celebrated on May 30 during the 1990s.

That was one of the arguments for the HDZ majority to reinstate May 30 as Statehood Day when it arranged the new public holiday calendar last year.

The controversy regarding the 'real' date for celebrating Statehood Day will certainly last, however, it is indisputable that a large number of citizens remember 30 May 1990 very fondly, describing it with words such as 'special', 'festive', and 'exciting'.

The assembly hall was too small for all the members of parliament and guests on 30 May thirty years ago. In the first part of the session the Election and Appointment Commission was elected, led by Ivan Milas, at whose proposal the leadership of the first multi-party parliament was elected. Zarko Domjan was elected the first parliament speaker.

Stipe Mesic was elected the head of the Executive Committee of the Croatian Parliament, and Franjo Tudjman was elected Chairman of the Socialist Republic of Croatia's Presidency. On that occasion, he gave a speech, emphasising that throughout its long history, "the Croatian state parliament was the guardian of the sovereignty (with the exception of the period from 1918 to 1941) of the Croatian people in relation to other national and state unions."

Tudjman said that he had had no doubt that the Croatian people would show their maturity at the first democratic election, "in which the parliament originated", expressing his conviction that "under the guidance of their true leadership, the people will know and be able to build a life worthy of free people in their only, long-suffering and holy homeland".

The first Croatian parliament assembly had 351 members of parliament and was tricameral. The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) had the majority of seats, 207, the League of the Communists of Croatia - the Party for Democratic Changes had 107, the Coalition of People's Accord had 21, and the Serb Democratic Party had five, while 13 seats were won by independent members and members representing ethnic minorities.

The 1990's tricameral parliament operated for around two years, and in August 1992, a parliamentary election was held for the new unicameral Croatian Parliament with a significantly smaller number of members - 138.

Regardless of the shortness of its term, and considering the fact that it served a part of it in circumstances of war, the first Croatian Parliament adopted historic decisions on Croatia's sovereignty and independence, the decision on severing state and legal ties with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), and it also passed the "Christmas Constitution".

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