Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Days of Croatian Tourism 2019 Programme: Will Hedonists #HeadOnEast to Slavonia?

September 11, 2019 - Days of Croatian Tourism 2019 will take place in Slavonia next month - the full programme has just been published by the Ministry of Tourism.

I am not sure how to describe the Days of Croatian Tourism annual event, which takes place in October each year. It is certainly full of pomp, with the awards ceremony broadcast on live television. The event is like a who's who of the movers and shakers in Croatian tourism, and it is usually held in one of Croatia's top destinations. Apart from being a pretty backdrop to the occasion, it is also a chance for tourism officials to decamp to a top destination on the coast away from Zagreb for a few days of relaxation and 'work'. Last year's event in Hvar Town was VERY well attended. 

I am curious to see how many of those same official workers come for the entire event at Days of Croatian Tourism 2019. After pressure from several quarters, the government seems to be taking more of an interest in Slavonia, and this year's event will take place in Slavonia. A gorgeous region with so much potential, but without the 4 and 5-star relaxation of more developed coastal destinations. 

And the programme looks great (at least for those who can read Croatian - would it be too much trouble to provide an English version for those interested? If nothing else, it sets a good example for Croatian tourism in general). I really like the slogan - HeadOnEast for Hedonist - and there is plenty to see in the three-day event. Virovirica, Slavonski Brod and Vukovar on Day 1, Slavonski Brod, Pozega, Kutjevo, Papuk Nature Park and Jankovac Park, Osijek and Vinkovci on Day 2, and a full day in Osijek on Day 3. Full programme in Croatian below.

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Vukovar Cross Border Project Presented

ZAGREB, August 1, 2019 - A Croatia-Serbia Interreg 2014-2020 cross border project, the Panona Net Destination Management Model was presented in Vukovar on Thursday, and the project includes Vukovar and Velika, Croatia and Subotica, Serbia.

"This project will enable the Velika Municipality to develop its ecological tourism, Subotica its rural tourism and Vukovar its urban tourism... I consider this to be a good way for Vukovar to be heard far away and for tourists to choose Vukovar to visit along the EuroVelo 6 route," the director of the Vukovar Development Agency, Vedrana Zilić, said.

Mayor Ivan Penava is convinced that the project will attract an additional 850,000 kuna to continue working on the project that was launched 4 years ago.

"Vukovar is developing urban tourism and highlighting the tourism product segment, which is relatively new but is significantly and continually growing. With this project we will additionally promote urban tourism in line with increased cyclo-tourism and arrivals of tourists who visit our city on the EuroVela 6 route," said Penava.

The project is being financed with EU funds from the IPA Interreg Croatia - Serbia 2014-2020 cross border programme with a total value of more than 4.7 million kuna, 837,000 kuna of which is earmarked for Vukovar.

More Vukovar news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Bernardić Says Bilingual Signs Must Be Put Up in Vukovar

ZAGREB, July 24, 2019 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Davor Bernardić said on Tuesday it was necessary to put up bilingual signs in Vukovar as constitutional issues regulating the protection of ethnic minorities must be neither contentious nor questionable for the SDP.

The constitution must be honoured, he said on RTL television when asked how to resolve the situation in the eastern town after the Constitutional Court ruled that the rights of Serbs in Vukovar must be enhanced and the parliamentary committee on ethnic minorities called on the government to put up bilingual signs on state institution buildings there.

Asked if he expected an extraordinary parliamentary sitting on the MOST party's motion for a no-confidence vote in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, Bernardić said holding the sitting and discussing the motion was a constitutional obligation. He added that the SDP MPs on the parliamentary committee on the constitution had asked the Constitutional Court's opinion on the matter.

If the court does not take a position, we will have to ask the president to convene the sitting, Bernardić said.

Asked if the fact that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković had replaced some ministers whose dismissal the SDP had demanded was the start of a big coalition between the SDP and the ruling HDZ party, he dismissed the possibility.

"There's no coalition with the HDZ, the most corrupt party in Croatia right now. Plenković's government was forced to make the reshuffle. The public sees why the ministers had to go. Only DORH (State Prosecutor's Office), which is doing nothing about it, doesn't see."

Asked whether it would good if the Croatian People's Party, the HDZ's coalition partner, supported the SDP's presidential candidate Zoran Milanović, Bernardić said no one could be stopped from backing Milanović. "But my position is known. There's no cooperation with the party which betrayed its voters... by running into this coalition which exists on political corruption."

He said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović had not fulfilled her campaign promises.

He also commented on former football mogul Zdravko Mamić's accusations of corruption against Supreme Court president Đuro Sessa, saying they were serious accusations which hit at the foundation of the democratic and judicial order. He called on the authorities to investigate the accusations.

More SDP news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

11 Million Kuna Invested into Vukovar Micro-Brewery So Far

With the very handsome investment from the ''K Pivovari'' company, an additional 850,000 kuna has increased the capacity of micro-brewery in Vukovar from 5000 to 6500 hectolitres per year.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of July, 2019, the K Pivovari (brewery) company, owned by the Zagreb brewery (pivovara), has invested am massive 850,000 kuna in new equipment for the Vukovar brewery production plant located in Vukovar's economic zone, which will further increase the production capacities of these micro-plants.

As they explained, there are four additional fermenters, three of which have a volume of 33 hectolitres and one of 20 hectolitres, and a cylinder tank with a 33 hectolitre capacity. In addition, the K Pivovari company has invested in new labels and more. The production capacity of this micro-brewery amounted to 5000 hectolitres per year, and with this new investment, it has been increased to 6500 hectolitres per year.

As explained by Mario Duvnjak, K-Pivovari's managing director, the production facility of Vukovar's brewery was opened in August last year in the BIC-Vukovar business-innovation centre's area.

"Zagreb Brewery invested 11 million kuna through it's daughter company K Pivovari, prompting further investments in Vukovar and in Vukovar-Srijem County. After the opening of the production plant, our investments haven't stopped. We've been thinking about the further modernisation of production, especially in the direction of increasing production capacities and we're extremely happy that we finally realised it. With this investment, we want to give this beer the place on the market that it deserves,'' Duvnjak said.

"We've recognised the potential of this beer and we want to give it the place on the market it deserves. This beer is produced according to the original recipe, which is a light, unpasteurised and filtered beer that was among the first in Croatia to be presented as a small-production beer when sold in smaller bars and shops, for the time being, it's intended solely for the Croatian market, from Vukovar, Zagreb, and even to Dubrovnik, but with the potential to expand beyond the borders of Croatia,'' Duvnjak pointed out.

He added that the national presence on the market was made possible thanks to the Vukovar beer's special sterile filtration, whereby the Vukovar beer bottle's life span has now been extended to 120 days, unlike the current 90 days. They are currently producing only a light version of the beer, but in the future it is certainly planning to experiment with the new flavours. From Vukovar's micro-brrewry, they say that, in addition to the better positioning of this beer on the market, they're also oriented towards participation in the development of the local community with which they have very positive and completely open cooperation.

''Vukovar's beer was declared the best Croatian beer in 2010. It has 4.5 percent alcohol,'' concluded Mario Duvnjak from K Pivovari.

Follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Administration Minister: Minorities, Majority Population in Vukovar Should Agree

ZAGREB, July 23, 2019 - Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday the issue of bilingual signs on state institution buildings in Vukovar and the eastern town's government's dissatisfaction about them could be resolved through dialogue and agreement between representatives of ethnic minorities and the majority population.

He was asked by reporters if any legal solution was being considered to punish the local government should it fail to comply with a recent Constitutional Court decision under which the rights of the Serb ethnic minority in Vukovar must be enhanced.

"All bills should be considered... in agreement and dialogue between representatives of ethnic minorities and the majority Croatian population. I hope the Vukovar Town Council will adopt a conclusion on that in October so there will be no need to dissolve the council."

Malenica said they planned to draw up such a bill and table it so that the Constitutional Court decision was complied with.

"It's up to the government and the Public Administration Ministry to honour Constitutional Court decisions, as it is up to Vukovar," he said, adding "there should be a dialogue between representatives of ethnic minorities and the Croatian population on legal norms and acts that will regulate minority rights."

Malenica said a legal norm made sense only if it envisaged certain sanctions.

More news about national minorities can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Vukovar Mayor Now Says He Will Respect Court Decision

ZAGREB, July 20, 2019 - Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava said on Friday that the town authorities had never entertained the idea of disobeying the Constitutional Court decision to enhance the rights of the local Serb minority, added that no law was an end in itself but should be at the service of the people.

"As long as it is so, there will be no problem. However, when someone is trying for reasons best known to themselves to subject the people and citizens to some legal provisions only for the sake of their own interests, then I find that disputable," Penava said.

He added that "the Town Council will in October consider what the statute prescribes and respond accordingly".

Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović has recently said the court recommended that the Vukovar Town Council adopt changes to the statute whereby Serb councillors will be able to receive official documents and papers in their mother tongue and Cyrillic script upon oral request. Currently, such requests have to be submitted in writing only.

The Council was given until October to make the changes and adopt other necessary decisions to enhance the Serb minority's right to use their language and script.

Penava today urged media outlets and journalists "to have the courage and humanity" and understand that "our Constitution and the values and laws of God have some fundamental values" and that the fundamental values under the Constitution are human lives, freedoms and equality, and that it is against the law to take another person's life.

He again underscored that the rights of victims of the 1991-1995 war "have been ignored for 28 years".

He accused segments of the Croatian society of ignoring the Homeland War and war victims.

More Vukovar news can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Pupovac: President Has Come into Conflict with Constitutional Court

ZAGREB, July 19, 2019 - The leader of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), Milorad Pupovac, said on Friday that by supporting Mayor Ivan Penava with regard to the Constitutional Court decision on bilingualism in Vukovar, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović had come into conflict with the Constitutional Court.

"Coming into conflict with the Constitutional Court, without any adequate explanation or invoking the legality or the provisions of the Constitution, is a serious problem for the functioning of key institutions in Croatia, that means the Office of the President and the supreme judicial institution in Croatia," Pupovac told reporters in parliament.

Reporters asked him to comment on Grabar-Kitarović's statement on Thursday that she supported Mayor Penava and the citizens of Vukovar who, as she said, "have for more than a quarter of a century suffered injustice resulting from the inexplicably sluggish and ineffective institutions." They were also interested in his view on the fact that, in addition to the president, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović also sided with the mayor on the use of Cyrillic script in the eastern town.

"It is obvious that at the moment we have different opinions," Pupovac said and added that "even when there are different opinions, and the responsibility is shared, they need to be discussed."

Pupovac said that the Constitutional Court decision that the rights of the Serb national minority in Vukovar have to be improved with regard to bilingualism is very clear, "whether someone is happy with it or not."

"It is very clear regarding what needs to be implemented in that regard and that needs to be discussed. Any further watering down of that decision is watering down the role of the Constitutional Court and order in Croatia," Pupovac said.

He denied that this would influence the SDSS MPs and their vote of confidence in the ministerial nominees in parliament and underscored that the government reshuffle was debated as a special topic. He said that the coalition partners would discuss the Constitutional Court decision after the confirmation of the new ministers.

Pupovac said that some of the Constitutional Court decisions were obligatory, for example with regard to seals or issuing documents in Cyrillic upon an oral request.

"Those decisions are obligatory and there can be no debate about the Constitutional Court's findings. Other sections of the law on the official use of language and the provisions of the Constitutional Court on the rights of national minorities and the provisions of the Constitution can be debated without causing conflict or tension," he said.

Pupovac said that the people who have started commenting on the provisions of the Constitutional Court were threatening "conflicts in which they participated in a few years ago."

Asked whether he would react similarly as he did with the Ustasha salute in Jasenovac and now pass over this implementation of the Constitutional Court decision, Pupovac said that this is not the only case that needs to be put to the test whether something can be passed over.

"This is something that has not existed since yesterday. This matter is closely and seriously connected with the very beginnings of this country and is still taken to be the foundations of this country. You are not questioning those beginnings," concluded Pupovac.

More news about the status of Serbs in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 19 July 2019

President Meets with Vukovar Mayor

ZAGREB, July 19, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović considers it extremely important to support Mayor Penava and the residents of Vukovar, "who have for more than a quarter of a century suffered injustice resulting from the inexplicably sluggish and ineffective institutions" the president's office reported on its web site after she met with Vukovar's mayor in regard to a recent Constitutional Court decision stating that the rights of the ethnic Serb minority in Vukovar should be improved.

"Being aware of the sensitive nature of the political situation in Vukovar, President Grabar-Kitarović considers it extremely important to support Mayor Penava and the residents of Vukovar, who have for more than a quarter of a century suffered injustice resulting from the inexplicably sluggish and ineffective institutions," the press release said. "This has resulted in the feeling of injustice, especially among the residents of Vukovar and Croatian defenders who have been on the front lines defending the Homeland and who bore the greatest sacrifice in the Homeland War, but also among the members of the Serb community who are unjustly stigmatised."

"The President of the Republic of Croatia cannot comment on the decision of the Constitutional Court, but draws attention to Article 8 of the Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities, which states that these rights must be interpreted and applied with the aim of respecting the minorities and the Croatian people, while developing understanding, solidarity, tolerance and dialogue among them," the press release added.

"The President maintains that under those circumstances in which the fundamental human rights are being neglected, the conditions needed for expanding the special rights that must become the democratic standard in Croatia," the press release said.

She agrees that it was "that it is not good for them to be postponed. However, the President calls for using equal criteria that would ultimately result in a statement by the competent authorities saying that the proceedings against war crimes suspects also cannot be infinitely put off."

The president underscored that Croatia "must take special care of Vukovar and it is also the duty and obligation of the state leadership to demand an end to the injustice felt by the residents of Vukovar. It is inconceivable that to this day nobody has yet been brought to justice for the massacre at Borovo Selo; nobody has resolved the issue of 30,000 detainees; missing people..."

"How can we justify this from the constitutional, but also from the moral perspective?" the president asks and added that for that reason Mayor Ivan Penava’s position cannot be assessed "as being in contempt of the decision of the Constitutional Court, but rather as a call, which I personally support, to finally close the issues from the past and thus give the future a genuine chance."

She added that she does not want any separation or conflicts between the Croats and Serbs, but called "for patience and consideration, which implies accepting the fact that Vukovar is healing its wounds."

Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović "shows understanding for not respecting the Croatian constitution" in the wake of her support to Vukovar mayor Ivan Penava regarding a decision whereby the Constitutional Court found that the rights of the Serb ethnic minority in the eastern town must be enhanced.

In a post on Facebook, Milanovic also said that Grabar-Kitarović "not so long ago showed understanding for (Hungarian PM Viktor) Orban's attacks on important Croatian interests and (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vučić's outbursts and lies."

He said the president showed "understanding for injustice, intolerance and inhumanity" and recalled that the HDZ government had adopted the Vukovar town statute which includes minority rights at a time "when they counted on minorities not being able to exercise those rights because they are not sufficiently represented in Vukovar's population."

"After the population census showed that conditions were met for the exercise of minority rights... the hypocritical contesting and denying of those rights began by citing the rights and endangerment of the majority," Milanović said.

He said the constitution and the law must be respected while in force, whether someone liked it or not, adding that, "In the modern, open and freedom-loving Croatia I fight for, all the rights and liberties of all of its citizens will be respected."

More Vukovar news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

President to Discuss Constitutional Court Decision on Serb Rights with Vukovar Mayor

ZAGREB, July 17, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović will receive Vukovar mayor Ivan Penava on Thursday for talks on the enforcement of a Constitutional Court decision under which the rights of the Serb ethnic minority in the eastern town must be enhanced, her office said on Wednesday.

Penava said on Sunday the dialogue and cooperation between Vukovar's Croatian and Serb residents was satisfactory, and that any expansion of Serb minority rights would hurt ethnic relations. He added that it was first necessary to resolve outstanding issues dating back to 1991.

Penava also said he had talked with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković about the Constitutional Court decision, and that Plenković told him it was necessary to keep the peace and stability and to resolve the issue of the use of ethnic minority languages and scripts through dialogue.

Constitutional Court president Miroslav Šeparović said on Sunday he expected the Vukovar authorities to carry out the court's decision on the use of ethnic minority languages and scripts, and that he would not argue with the mayor.

Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković told reporters today that "everyone must enforce Constitutional Court decisions."

More Vukovar news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

“No One Can Be Above Constitutional Court Rulings”

ZAGREB, July 16, 2019 - The Vukovar branch of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) said on Monday that no one can be above decisions of the Constitutional Court and also criticise Mayor Ivan Penva for "collectivising the guilt of all Serbs in Vukovar" which they cannot accept.

Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava said on Sunday that dialogue and cooperation among local residents and ethnic Serbs in that eastern Croatian town was at a satisfactory level and any increase in the volume of rights of that ethnic minority would deteriorate the relations among local communities. Penava underscores that the first priority is to solve the problems caused in that town in 1991 when the area fell into the hands of Serb rebels supported by the then Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). "We cannot forget and ignore the huge injustice inflicted to us in 1991."

Penava's statement ensued after Constitutional Court President Miroslav Šeparović told a news conference this past Friday that the court recommended that the city council in Vukovar adopt changes to their statute whereby Serb councillors can ask now also orally for the delivery of documents and papers in their mother tongue and in the Cyrillic script. Currently, the request has be submitted in a written form.

The Council is given a deadline until October to make those changes and adopt other necessary decisions that will enhance the Serb minority's right to use its language and script.

Penava insists that the current state of affairs in Vukovar "has not ripened" for steps forward in any direction

The SDSS says in its latest press release that local Serbs cannot renounce their rights which they exercise in compliance with the Constitution.

We expect the implementation of our rights in accordance with laws, the local SDSS says in its press release.

On the other hand, the Croatian Conservative Party (HKS) said that any enhancement of the rights of the local Serb community in the town of Vukovar "opens a Pandoara's box".

More Vukovar news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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