ZAGREB, June 29, 2018 – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Thursday that building closer ties between the Croatian state and Croat expatriate communities and including those communities in affairs in the homeland was one of the main state tasks, noting that one of her priorities was development of stronger ties between Croatia and its expatriate community and advocacy of measures that facilitate it.
“That is a lasting task for the Croatian parliament and government, for political parties, the academic community, our towns and counties, religious communities, media and all other social stakeholders,” she said at a meeting with representatives of Croatian expatriate and minority communities held in her office.
Grabar-Kitarović noted that insisting on closer ties between Croatia and its expatriate community was all the more important in the present context of “a demographic crisis that is threatening all segments of our stability as a society and state.”
She recalled that in her proposals for demographic revival she had called for creating conditions to include members of the expatriate community in the economic, political, cultural and any other segment of life of the Croatian society and for creating conditions for immigration by improving cooperation between Croatian diplomatic and consular offices and expatriate communities, business associations and other organisations.
The president also recalled her measures designed to make it easier for expatriates to obtain Croatian citizenship, such as increasing university enrolment quotas and the number of scholarships for members of the expatriate community, developing exchange programmes for Croatian high school students from abroad, and introducing on-line Croatian language courses and work and travel visas for students during school holidays.
Grabar-Kitarović also called for coordinated action to help the Croat community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “The Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina is fighting for equality and needs help, both from Croatia and members of the Croatian expatriate community, many of whom come from Bosnia and Herzegovina. That assistance needs to be concrete and coordinated with the relevant authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the local Croat institutions,” the president said.